Vikings run over Panthers
WILLIAMSTOWN – Williams Valley head coach Tim Savage knows how important vision is for a running back.
Vikings’ sophomore Alex Achenbach had his sights set one of the most memorable nights of his career Friday.
Achenbach carved his way through the Panther Valley defense on his way to 329 yards rushing in Williams Valley’s 44-14 victory.
“We zone-stretch block everything, it’s a flowing type of scheme. There is no correct hole,” said Savage. “It’s all tag blocks. We get second level and the linemen are always moving their feet and their double teaming to an up-block on a linebacker, so there’s cracks and crevices all over.
“The play changes. It’s a moving process, and he needs to get that vision.”
He had it early and often Friday, rushing for 232 yards on 14 carries in the first half with two long scores for the Vikings (5-1).
Achenbach opened the scoring with a 29-yard scamper, his first of four touchdowns, to make it 6-0 with 9:19 left in the first quarter.
The long score came after a holding penalty wiped out what would have been a 35-yard touchdown pass from Isaac Whiteash to Nathan Cole.
The Panthers (0-4) answered on the next drive as Mike Pascoe (17 carries, 105 yards) bolted 70 yards for a score, and hit the extra point to make it 7-6.
Williams Valley responded by marching 45 yards on its next drive, capped with a 16-yard TD pass from Whiteash to Brady Evans (five catches, 74 yards) to make it 13-7.
Achenbach hit the jets for his second score after the Vikings forced a punt, sprinting 50 yards to make it 20-7 with 0:29 to play in first quarter.
The Vikings scored on their first three possessions of the night, and racked up 18 first downs in the first half.
Whiteash hit Evans for a four-yard score with 6:26 left in the first half to push the advantage to 27-7.
The drive started after Williams Valley recovered a fumble at the Panthers’ 39-yard line.
Whiteash completed nine passes in the first half for 135 yards.
“Our No. 1 objective tonight, just like it is every week, was to come out and play hard,” said Panthers’ head coach Rick Jones. “We’re just struggling right now.”
After recovering a fumble by the Panthers’ on the opening kickoff of the second half, the Vikings went 42 yards in six plays, with Achenbach scoring his third TD from seven yards out and adding the two-point conversion to make it 35-7 with 8:56 left in the third quarter.
An interception set the Panthers up deep in their own territory, but Williams Valley scored on a safety after the ball was fumbled into the endzone to make it 37-7.
Following the ensuing kick, the Vikings needed just three plays, with Achenbach putting a stamp on the night by racing for a 43-yard score on his final carry that put him over 300 yards rushing.
Panther Valley found the end zone on the second play from scrimmage on its next drive, when Nasir Ervine hit David McAndrew for a 30-yard score with 0:26 left in the third quarter to bring the score to 44-14.
Ervine, a freshman, split reps at quarterback with Pascoe and gave the Panthers’ a nice 1-2 punch with the junior in the backfield.
“I’m really proud of the kids,” said Jones. “They gave us everything that they have and that’s all you can ask as a coach.”
DISRUPTIVE FORCE … Austin Hadley had three sacks in the first half for the Panthers and routinely made his way into the Williams Valley backfield. The sacks resulted in losses of eight, 13, and 11 yards.
A POSITIVE TONE … Despite several starters out and four freshmen in the starting lineup, Jones liked what he saw from a group that continues to gain experience each week. “We had opportunities to have four or five interceptions tonight and we had one,” said Jones. “But that’s something that we wouldn’t have done three weeks ago.”