The Vikings started slow last Friday at Mason County, allowing the Royals to jump to an early 21-0 lead.
Fortunately for the Vikes, they had the offensive firepower to storm from behind and steal a 45-41 victory.
With Mason dominating the game in the second quarter, quarterback Adam Wing and receiver Phillip Hodge lit the fuse on a Rowan County offensive explosion by hooking up for an 18-yard touchdown strike.
The two were at it again four minutes later, when they hooked up on a 15-yard scoring toss. Mason County extended their lead to 27-14 and Rowan tacked on a last-second field goal as the half expired, making the score at the break 27-17.
Rowan County Head Coach Kyle Singleton said the early Mason County lead forced his team and coaching staff to think on the fly.
“We probably weren’t ready to play starting off,” Singleton said. “Mason County had a great game plan and they were able to score on our D. After that, our defensive staff was able to make some adjustments. Our offense made some adjustments during the game as well.”
After weathering the storm of the first half, it was time for the prolific Viking offense to go to work.
The adjustments made by the coaching staff put senior Stephen Williamson in position to rack up another outstanding rushing performance.
Williamson finished the game with 38 carries for 318 yards, finding the endzone three times in the second half.
Williamson has amassed an astonishing 798 yards in only three games this year, an average of 266 yards per game.
At his current rate, Williamson in on pace to rush for well over 2,500 yards before season’s end.
“We always knew Stephen had the potential to be a feature back, it’s just that until this season he had to split carries with Darrell Cross,” Singleton said. “We’re proud of Stephen, I’m not surprised at all. We all knew what he could do if he had the chance.”
The second-half offensive outburst was not all good for the Vikings, as they lost one of their most powerful weapons in the process. Phillip Hodge exited the game with a broken collarbone, an injury typically requiring several weeks to heal.
Singleton was careful when discussing Hodge, declining to give detail about the injury or its severity.
“He’s week-to-week,” Singleton said. “He’s going to be questionable for the next couple weeks.”
Hodge had been the primary target this season in the Viking passing game, catching 26 passes for 343 and six scores.
With Hodge out of the lineup, more pressure falls on Adam Wing and his other receivers.
“Phil Hodge is a big part of our offense and defense,” Wing said. “ It’s definitely going to hurt us, but Isaac Lee has had a good week of practice for us on both sides of the ball.”
The Vikes are on the road again tonight, when they travel to 1-2 Fleming County. The Panthers have had a rollercoaster season so far, experiencing both sides of blowout games, sandwiched around a one-point shootout loss.
“Fleming is improving. They have some really nice athletes, some kids that can really stretch the field,” Singleton said. “It’s a rivalry game, so you can throw records and previous scores out the window—hopefully our team will be ready.”
Cody Evans can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 784-4116.