It wasn’t a story of cowboys and indians but the Vikings made Saturday night’s Montgomery County Rec Bowl a competitive matchup that all fans could enjoy.
Despite a two-touchdown, 83-yard rushing performance from senior fullback Keontae Moore, the Vikings could not outdo the Montgomery County Indians, falling 25-16.
Rowan County Head Coach Kyle Singleton said he saw promise in how his team played, particularly Moore, who claimed eligibility to suit up just a couple of weeks ago.
“I thought our effort tonight was very good, and even though we lost, this is something we can build on,” Singleton said. “Montgomery has a very good team, with a lot of big guys, and a lot of seniors. I thought our backfield play was strong tonight, and Keontae put together a good performance. He’s coming along, but it’s just going to take some time, as he is a few months behind the rest of the guys.”
Things started off with a bang for Rowan with Chris Baker bringing the appropriate response to an early Indians touchdown, returning the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a score to give Rowan County a 7-6 lead after the extra-point.
A defensive stalemate took place on both sides until Viking sophomore quarterback Justin Graham connected with Zach Taylor for a 25-yard pass to end the first quarter.
While Graham threw only 12 passes the entire game, connecting on four, he inflicted damage on the Indian defense with his legs, scrambling for big gains to run past a big defensive front.
Singleton said although Graham has some work to do, he is making big strides.
“Justin made some good decisions and good plays for us here tonight,” Singleton said. “There were things he missed, but he’s a kid with tremendous potential and he is only going to get better each time he is under center. When the game starts slowing down for him a little bit, he’s going to be hard to handle.”
A big sack by defensive back Terrence Danckert jumpstarted the third quarter for the Vikings, dropping Montgomery’s Matt Tuttle for an 11-yard loss.
Trailing 12-7, a nice drive by the Vikings was capped with another touchdown for Moore, this time from seven yards out. After a penalty pushed back the Vikings back five yards, Zack Kelsey took a reverse in for a seven-yard two-point conversion to give his team a 16-12 lead.
This would be the last time the Vikings would score as the Indians’ Matt Tuttle connected on another touchdown pass for the home team, before capping its scoring on the evening with a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The following kickoff saw Rowan’s boys lose senior Tyler Arthur to a broken arm. He is predicted to be out 4-6 weeks, with a two-week recovery possible.
To end the game, the Vikings showed heart by keeping the Indians out of the end zone one final time on a goal line stand to keep the score a respectable 25-16.
Following Saturday’s loss, Rowan County is scheduled to hit the road once again next week to take on Pulaski County in Somerset for the Ray Correll Bowl.
Singleton said his team will be ready come Friday.
“They’ve got some dangerous speed at the running back position and we will have to look out for that,” Singleton said. “They bring the house defensively and they aim to get you for a loss. We just have to play solid football on both sides, and that will be what decides the game.”
Grant Stevens can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 784-4116.