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Big play downs Vikes in home opener

By RICKEY CLARDY ~ sports@t-g.com
Posted 8/27/22

UNIONVILLE —The Lookout Valley Yellow Jackets tied the game with a touchdown in the waning seconds of the second quarter and the Community Vikings could not stop the Yellow Jacket momentum that …

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Big play downs Vikes in home opener

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UNIONVILLE —The Lookout Valley Yellow Jackets tied the game with a touchdown in the waning seconds of the second quarter and the Community Vikings could not stop the Yellow Jacket momentum that carried over to the second half as the Vikings fell 21-14 in a football contest Friday night.
Community (0-2) took the opening kickoff and started off strong with an 8-play, 51-yard drive that ended with a Viking touchdown. 
A 37-yard pass from Dallas Grooms to Maki Fleming was the big play, setting up a first-and-goal at the Yellow Jacket 9-yard line.
On fourth down, the Vikings found pay dirt as Grooms teamed with Fleming on a 9-yard TD pass. 
The run failed as Community led 6-0 with 9:24 left in the opening quarter.  
"That was our goal. We were going to come out here and exploit the coverage," Coach Chris Grooms of the Vikings said. "It worked for us for a little bit and we couldn't get our running game going."
The Yellow Jackets responded with a four-play drive that gave Lookout Valley the lead as Jaxon Qualis galloped 15 yards for the touchdown. 
The extra point by Blake Ferguson put the Yellow Jackets up 7-6 with 7:45 left.
The Vikings were ready to take the lead on their next drive that went 12 plays and gave Community a first-and-goal at the Yellow Jacket 2-yard line. 
But the offense could not find the end zone on the following four plays as Lookout Valley maintained its lead.
The Viking defense took charge as a three-and-out helped Community start its next possession at the Yellow Jacket 27 as the game went to the second quarter. 
An interception thwarted the Viking drive, but a Ramon Hernandez fumble recovery on the ensuing Lookout Valley possession set up the go-ahead Community score as Grooms scampered 11 yards for the touchdown. 
The run by Fleming was successful as the Vikings led 14-7 with 8:36 left in the first half.
The Vikings looked to take their lead into the intermission, but disaster struck in the final seconds. 
With six seconds left and 50 yards from the end zone, Ferguson connected with Jackson Marsh for a Yellow Jacket touchdown. 
The extra point tied the game at 14-14 heading into the break.     
Coupled with the momentum of the tying score, a strong running game helped propel the Yellow Jackets in the second half. 
A fumble recovery by Grooms stopped the Yellow Jackets temporarily, but Lookout Valley took the lead for good with a 4-play, 42-yard drive. 
All the plays were on the ground and culminated with a 23-yard touchdown run by Qualis that gave the Yellow Jackets a 21-14 advantage with 4:40 left in the third quarter.
After the Vikings turned the ball over on an interception, the Yellow Jackets controlled time of possession the remainder of the quarter before the Viking defense came up big to start the fourth quarter as Cole Crockett came up with the football after a Lookout Valley fumble.
The Vikings reached the Yellow Jacket 39 on their next possession before the drive stalled as the Community offense sputtered.  Lookout Valley drove to the Viking 33-yard line on its possession, but a fourth down conversion attempt was unsuccessful as Community took over at its own 33 with one final scoring chance and 1:45 remaining.
The Viking offense started strong as Community picked up a first down on a seven-yard run by Fleming. 
Another first down was nullified by a penalty and brought the steam out of the drive as the Vikings could not convert on fourth down with seven seconds left, leaving the Yellow Jackets to run out the clock for the win. 
The Viking defense came up with four fumble recoveries as the Yellow Jackets kept the ball on the ground for a majority of the second half.
"Defense did their job and did the best they could," Grooms said. "We gave up two big plays, but the rest of it, they were on it."
"We told them if they keep it close with us, they're going to start pounding that ball because they think they can win," Grooms added.
Community will have a bye week before resuming play with a September 9th game at Perry County. 
Game time is 7 p.m.           
             
Lookout Valley   7  7  7  0 — 21  
Community        6  8  0  0 — 14
              
First Quarter
C — Maki Fleming 9 pass from Dallas Grooms, (2pt. run failed), 9:24.
L — Jaxon Qualis 15 run, (Blake Ferguson kick), 7:45.
Second Quarter
C — Grooms 11 run, (Fleming 2pt. run), 8:36.
L — Jackson Marsh 50 pass from Ferguson, (Ferguson kick), 0:06.
Third Quarter
L – Qualis 23 run, (Ferguson kick), 4:40.

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