UNIONVILLE — The Community Vikings were looking to punch a ticket to the state playoffs, but the Grundy County Yellow Jackets got in the way by controlling time of possession and keeping the Viking offense off the field as the Community season ended with a 14-0 loss in a Region 4-3A matchup Friday night.
A combination of Yellow Jacket running plays, coupled with Viking penalties and turnovers kept the Grundy County offense on the field for most of the game and limited Community to only five offensive possessions that totaled under 15 minutes, with one of the possessions covering just 12 seconds to end the first half.
After Community (2-7, 0-4) took the opening kickoff and ran four plays before failing to convert on fourth down, the Yellow Jackets possessed the ball for over 10 minutes on a 15-play drive.
Grundy County was successful on a fourth down conversion and used a Viking penalty on fourth down to keep its drive alive.
The Yellow Jackets drove to the 1-yard line and faced a fourth-and-goal as the first quarter ended.
But the fourth down fortunes for the Vikings changed to start the second quarter as the Community defense made the stop on a goal line stand to keep the Yellow Jackets off the scoreboard.
The Vikings drove the ball out of the shadow of their end zone with a 12-play drive that included four first downs before coming up short on a fourth down conversion attempt.
The Yellow Jackets broke the ice with an 11-play drive that covered over six minutes and used up most of the remaining time in the quarter.
A Viking penalty on fourth down kept the Grundy County drive alive and the Yellow Jackets responded with a 5-yard touchdown run by Landon Shadwick with 18 seconds left. The try was unsuccessful as the Yellow Jackets took a 6-0 lead into the intermission.
"We got the D-line working and stopped them, but we had a couple of fourth down mental collapses," Coach Chris Grooms of the Vikings said.
"When you're playing a tough team and everybody's fighting to get into the playoffs, you've got to be able to focus."
The Community defense forced a three-and-out on the opening Yellow Jacket possession of the second half, but the Grundy County punt on fourth down was judged to be touched by the Vikings and recovered by the Yellow Jackets.
Grundy County responded with a six-play drive, culminating with a 4-yard run by Shadwick for the score.
Shadwick's run for two gave the Yellow Jackets a 14-0 lead with 6:56 remaining in the third quarter.
The ensuing Viking possession looked promising as a 24-yard pass from Dallas Grooms to John Stanley gave Community a first-and-goal at the Grundy County 10-yard line.
A penalty negated a touchdown pass from Grooms to Maki Fleming and sent the Vikings into reverse.
Another penalty and a loss of yardage on second down moved Community into its own territory before the Vikings turned the ball over on downs.
The Viking defense came up big on the next Yellow Jacket possession as the game reached the fourth quarter. On fourth-and-goal from the Community 26, Fleming made the interception at the 2-yard line and returned the ball 64 yards into Yellow Jacket territory, giving the Vikings a final chance to cut into the Grundy County lead.
But Community could not capitalize as the Vikings failed to make a first down on their possession.
The Yellow Jackets took over with four minutes remaining and used three first downs to run out the clock.
"We focused on our defense so we could get a stop, but we weren't able to hit our big plays like we normally do," Grooms said. "We had a couple of shots, but things didn't go our way tonight."
The contest was the final game for 10 seniors on the Community roster.
"I love all my seniors. They give me everything they've got all the time," Grooms said. "That's all you can ask for."
Grundy Co. 0 6 8 0 —14
Community 0 0 0 0 — 0
GC – Landon Shadwick 5-yard run (pass failed) 0:18
GC – Shadwick 4-yard run (Shadwick run) 6:56
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