The Vikings scored the game's last 26 points to prevail, 40-15,
at Valley Glen.
The Long Beach defense, led by linebacker Adam Nisson, held L.A. Valley to just 2 first downs, 9 yards passing and no points in the 2nd half. Nisson recorded 2 of the Vikings' 3 sacks, and fell on a blocked punt to score the first Long Beach touchdown of the evening. Craig Richardson ran 22 times for 113 yards and a touchdown, with most of that coming in the second half as Long Beach took control of the game.
The night began exactly as
L.A. Valley had hoped as the Monarchs, led by the passing of Zach
Wasserman, marched down the field and scored on an 11-yard pass from
Wasserman to Sanders Trent. The
Monarchs' formation of four wideouts in a box on the same side seemed
to catch the Viking defense off-guard.
But Long Beach soon adjusted.
The only other L.A. Valley score was on a 65-yard bomb from
Wasserman to James Norris. There
were no sustained Monarch drives after the first quarter.
Special teams provided Long
Beach with their first opening, when Antoine Casey blocked L.A.
Valley's first punt attempt. The
ball bounced into the end zone where Adam Nisson pounced on it for the
score. A bad snap resulted in a missed conversion, leaving the score
7-6 with Valley ahead.
Early in the 2nd
quarter Long Beach drove deep into Valley territory. Once inside the 10 yard line, the Vikings unveiled their
"Triple Fridge" goal line offense.
This featured backup QB Brandon Fasavalu and three players who
are normally lineman lining up in the backfield.
The strategy worked when regular DL Lateef Smith drove the ball
into the end zone from a yard out.
The 2-point conversion made it 14-7 Long Beach.
Valley answered back with the
long pass from Wasserman to Norris to close Long Beach's lead to a
single point. On the
conversion attempt, a bad snap forced holder Robert Mueller to scramble
and throw a desperate heave into the end zone.
John Kuhl was in the right spot and made the catch, giving Valley
a 15-14 lead.
Valley got the ball back one
last time with just over a minute left in the first half, but not only
failed to move the ball but allowed Long Beach one final chance to
score. The Vikings quickly
took advantage and Fasavalu's 1-yard run with 3 seconds left in the
half gave Long Beach the lead and all the momentum entering the second
half. And Valley did not
On the night, much-heralded
Valley QB Zach Wasserman finished 13 of 25 for 164 yards and 2 TDs, but
with just 9 yards in the
second half. Long Beach
starting QB Jason Baughman finished 10 of 22 for 97 yards.
Valley's Sanders Trent had a game-high 6 catches while
Valley's James Norris had game-high honors with 81 yards receiving.
Viking backup QB Brandon Fasavalu completed both his attempts for a total of 54 yards and ran for 2 TDs. Long Beach scored 5 rushing touchdowns including 4 runs of 1 yard each, with regular DLs Lateef Smith and DeShawn Gibbs each bowling into the end zone in addition to Fasavalu's 2 scores and Richardson's 16-yard 3rd-quarter run.
Rushing: LB: 21-C.Richardson 22-113, 3-K.Williams 8-19, 14-Baughman 5-10, 92-L.Smith 4-8, 1-Peoples 2-7, 9-Fasavalu 3-3, 93-Gibbs 2-2 VC: 20-Peeples 7-28, 38-Graham 3-19, 8-Watkins 9-15, 5-Norris 2-7, 1-Trent 1-6, 9-Wasserman 6-3, 23-Crawford 1-2, 11-Hurns 1-0
Passing: LB: 14-Baughman 10-22-0-97; 9-Fasavalu 2-2-0-54 VC: 9-Z.Wasserman 13-25-1-164, 2 TDs
Receiving: LB: 6-Bingham 4-43, 15-Mahone 2-23, 8-Ter.Marshall 2-14, 1-Peoples 1-40, 10-Saunders 1-23, 80-M.Smith 1-4, 20-Ross 1-4 VC: 1-Trent 6-35, 5-Norris 4-81, 3-Lopez 1-35, 18-Schneider 1-13, 88-Whitaker 1-0
Punters: LB: 47-Td.Marshall 6-31.2 avg VC: 7-Mueller 8-38.4 avg + 2 blocked
Kick Ret: LB: 3-K.Williams 1-18, 95-Newton 1-10 VC: 8-Watkins 2-41, 32-Richards 2-36, 54-Zapata 1-18, 1-Trent 1-14
Combined Kick Ret: VC: 51-Garcia to 5-Norris 1-5
Punt Ret: LB: 6-Bingham 7-96, 8-Ter.Marshall 1-19 VC: 5-Norris 1-3
Interceptions-Ret Yds: LB: 2-Brooks 1-0
Sacks: LB: 25-Nisson 2, 92-L.Smith ½, 97-Tamasoa ½ VC: 45-Depew, 90-Bass
Missed Field Goal: LB: 43-Whitt 42 yds (wide left)
Punt Blocks: LB: 19-Casey, 7-Tago
Notes: Season Opener for both teams. Preseason rankings: VC #14, LB #17 in South. LB defense held VC to 2 first downs (both rushing) in 2nd half. LB blocked VC's 1st 2 punt attempts. Casey blocked the first punt for the TD. Mueller picked up a bad snap and threw a desperation heave into the end zone, which was caught by Kuhl for VC's 2-point conversion. Norris had an 87-yd punt return for a TD called back on a penalty. Triple Fridge: LB used 3 linemen + backup QB in backfield for goal line offense. It worked – 4 TDs (Fasavalu 2, L.Smith, Gibbs).
Long Beach Too Much for LA Valley
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