A home victory was plucked from the Titans clutches in the final moments of their home contest with Symmes Valley on Friday as they fell by a final score of 15-14. In a game plagued by weather delays, the Vikings were able to escape Portsmouth with the narrow victory, which most likely signals a future of close games in SOC I competition in the final three weeks of the regular season.
Though there was an exciting close to the game, the beginning was a different story. The first weather delay hit the game before kickoff, but after the start, the action kept pace despite two more delays. The opening kickoff to Notre Dame was returned by Logan Emnett who then proceeded to fumble after he collided with a group of marauding Vikings. The Vikings then turned around and, through the use of their diverse running corps led by Keifer Wilson and Josh Ferguson, scored the first touchdown of the game with about 8 minutes left in the first quarter. They then quickly converted the two point conversion, putting Notre Dame down 8-0 in the early goings.
The next few possessions resulted in turnovers for both sides, but the two rain delays seemed to work in Notre Dame’s favor. They were able to gain momentum as late in the 2nd quarter, Emnett more than made up for his first quarter fumble by scoring Notre Dame’s first touchdown, bringing the Titans to within two points at 8-6.
At the start of the second half, Symmes Valley turned the ball over quickly and Notre Dame marched down the field but were stopped on the Symmes Valley 15 yard line. The Vikings proved that it was one thing to march down the field, but it would be another thing entirely to score, a message they would deliver again later in the contest. Notre Dame’s turnover on downs resulted in the Vikings ball, but despite some great plays, Symmes Valley was halted in their drive by ill-timed penalties. There was one touchdown and at least two first downs lost for the Vikings by penalties called on their players.
The fourth quarter saw Notre Dame score, thanks to the combined threats off Braidan Haney, Logan Emnett, and Jake McGuire, before the first three minutes of the quarter were up. Then, a combination of Keifer Wilson, Luke Leith, and Josh Ferguson took Symmes Valley down the field to score with 4:54 remaining in the fourth quarter.
At that point, Notre Dame got the ball for one final drive. They began their march down the field and Symmes Valley’s defense seemed unable to keep them to anything less than a five yard gain. As Notre Dame slowly made their way down the field, it became apparent that it would be entirely in the hands of the Vikings defense to decide the outcome of the game. By the 1:29 mark, Notre Dame had reached the Symmes Valley 7 yard line. A run up the middle got them to the 3 yard line on 2nd down. Notre Dame battered the Viking defense, but thanks to big stops by Josh Ferguson and T.J. Wong, they were beaten back at the line of scrimmage, allowing Symmes Valley to leave Spartan Stadium as the narrow victor by a final score of 15-14.
The Vikings improved to 3-3 on the year and will face the Manchester Greyhounds at home with kickoff slated for 7:00 p.m. Friday night.
The Titans fall to 1-6 and will face new competition next week where they will confront the Northwest Mohawks, a team still trying to find their first win on the season. Kickoff for that SOC I matchup is set for 7:00 p.m.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT