Colton football rallies in second half to topple Jefferson 31-27 in home league opener
Colton's football team came back from a 10-point deficit in its home league opener against Jefferson Friday night to start off 1-0 in PacWest play.
The Vikings' running game came alive as juniors Joseph Reed (two touchdowns for 5 yards and 8 yards) and Zemar Smith (one touchdown for 75 yards), took the bulk of the carries, with sophomore quarterback Wyatt Earls (one touchdown for 25 yards) showing his legs throughout the game as well.
The Vikings' first half showed some promise, particularly one drive in which the Viks marched 70 yards down the field, eating up five minutes off the clock and punching in a score on a 5-yard run from junior Joseph Reed.
"The line and everyone just basically started to wake up [on that drive]," Reed said after the game. "We started clicking, the line was getting their blocks, and the holes were just opening up."
The first half also showed some questionable decisions, including the choice to go for it on fourth and ten from their own 15 yard line with about two minutes left in the half. The Viks didn't get it and instead turned the ball over on downs, which then led to a Jefferson touchdown on the last play of the half to take a 20-14 lead.
Colton persisted, however, as junior James Parker returned the opening kickoff to the Jefferson 45 to give the Viks great field position. They would face a fourth and five situation from the 26, but Smith took matters into his own hands and shedded tacklers for a nin-yard gain to make it up to the 17 for a first down. The next play, Smith gets the ball again and this time gets 11 yards up to the six.
They were unable to get a touchdown on the board that drive, but they made a smart move and went for the 24-yard field goal attempt as Reed sent it soaring through the uprights to bring the Viks within three points with about 7:45 left in the third quarter.
Colton's defense also started to pick up in the second half, as perhaps the most notable performance came from freshman defensive lineman Carl Lundgren, who racked up four solo sacks on the night along with a couple of assisted sacks as a wall of Vikings continuously pressured Jefferson junior quarterback Luke McGivney, forcing him to scramble and make difficult decisions.
But it wasn't enough as Jefferson converted on several long third down situations to get up to the five for first and goal. Two plays later, Smith and Parker combine for a 7-yard sack to force Jefferson into a third and goal situation from the nine, but the Lions had a receiver wide open in the flats for a touchdown to go up 27-17 with 3:38 left in the third quarter.
Things didn't look so good for Colton on the next drive as they turned the ball over on a fumble on the first play, giving the Lions the ball back on the 27 yard line heading in.
But the Viks' defense wasn't going to give in that easily. On second down, the snap went over McGivney's head for an eight-yard loss to force a third and 19 situation. The next play, Lundgren again broke through the line and garnered another sack to end the third quarter and force a long fourth down situation.
Lundgren was out for blood as he again got the sack, assisted by Parker, on fourth and 20 as the Lions turned the ball over on downs, giving Colton the ball back at their own 30 heading out.
Smith lit up the field in the fourth quarter, starting off with a huge run combined with a Jefferson penalty to put the Viks up to the Lions' 30 yard line with a look at the endzone.
A few plays later, Earls found a hole on a quarterback keeper and walked into the endzone from 25 yards out, but it was called back for a holding penalty.
That was no matter, however, as Earls did the same thing the very next play from ten yards further, putting the Viks within three points with ten minutes left in the game.
Play of the Game:On their next possession, Jefferson tried to make the Viks fall for some trickery as they attempted to draw Colton offsides on a third and 20 situation that was forced after Lundgren's fourth sack of the game. The Viks didn't budge, however, and Jefferson was instead called for a delay of game. The next play, McGivney was hit by a wall of Vikings as the Lions faced fourth and 30 from the 44 with 7:31 left in the game.
With about 7:30 left in the game, Colton, down 27-24, took over at their own 25 after forcing a turnover on downs with a pair of sacks. Junior running back Zemar Smith took matters into his own hands and broke free around the outside for a 75-yard touchdown run along the sidelines, evading multiple tacklers along the way, to put the Vikings up 31-27 after the PAT conversion. It was the go-ahead score that would stay through the final buzzer and give Colton the win in their home league opener.
Colton took over at their own 25 heading out, and Smith again showed his size and speed as he turned the corner and raced down the sidelines for a 75-yard touchdown, evading several tacklers along the way with some incredible juke moves. The Viks would convert the point-after-touchdown to go up 31-27 for the final score.
"Coach always just tells us to work hard one play at a time, so my thoughts were to just run the ball, take the team home, get the job done," Smith said after the game.
"It's kind of a patient game, that long run I had, it was intense and I had a lot of emotion heading into it because earlier in the game, I was getting tackled and not making big yardage, but then I calmed myself down."
Up next for the Viks is a break from league play as they'll take on Central Linn (2-1) on Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. at home.
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