Vikings fire on all cylinders; win 45-18

Phil Roy

A week ago, when asked to comment on the Vikings’ recent performances, running back Aljay Wren asserted his confidence in the team’s capabilities and said that they hadn’t showed their full potential yet.
A few days later, the Vikings showed no mercy and much of their potential against a winless Grinnell team as they treated fans to a 35-point offensive explosion in the first quarter.
Wren led the attack, putting up Lawrence’s first points on the second play of the opening drive. The running back from Cottage Grove fought through the Grinnell D-line, shrugged off a couple of linebackers and sped past the secondary for a spectacular 56-yard touchdown run.
Eleven seconds of game time later, the Pioneers found themselves in a punting situation. “Dangerous Derek Micke,” as the announcer referred to him, brought the crowd back to their feet as he accelerated down the right sideline 70 yards all the way into the Grinnell end zone, taking the score to 14-0 with the game still under three minutes old.
Things would not get easier for the Pioneers. After moving the chains once, Grinnell’s quarterback saw his pass bobbled by a receiver and then grabbed out of the air by Viking rover-back Billy Bodle.
The “Wren-show” resumed with Aljay yet again punishing the Pioneer defense with a 49-yard run into the red zone that was capped off by a short touchdown run two plays later. The Viking defense forced another three and out, putting quarterback Nick Maxam’s offensive unit back on the field.
The former standout at Appleton East showed his arm off on the Vikings’ next drive, completing a 17-yard pass to Craig Ebert and later a 48-yard pass to senior receiver Jake Tewalt for another six. Micke, who was named the Midwest Conference’s special teams player of the week for his performance, had another huge return at the end of Grinnell’s next unsuccessful drive, carrying the ball 45 yards to the Grinnell 42.
Lawrence’s backfield brought out its next weapon in A.J. Walker, who moved the chains twice before Maxam connected with Ebert to put up the 35-0 score line at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter would be a far quieter affair for the Vikings, as they would only put up another three points on a Kenny Alvord field goal.
The Pioneers managed to get on the scoreboard before the intermission, beating the Vikings in the air a couple of times for the touchdown. The ailing Pioneers squabbled the extra point attempt however, leaving the score at 38-6 as the teams headed to the locker rooms.
Both quarterbacks threw interceptions on the first drives of the third quarter before Grinnell drove down the field on Lawrence’s reserve unit, making use off a long pass play and a defensive pass interference penalty to put up another 6 points.
A.J. Walker capped off Lawrence’s next drive with a short touchdown run to end the Vikings’ scoring for the day. Walker ended with 109 yards off of 14 carries. Pioneer quarterback Sean Pfalzer threw a perfect ball over Lawrence’s secondary for an 89-yard touchdown at the end of the third quarter.
The punters got a workout in the final quarter as the game ended with the 45-18 score line. The stats were as impressive as the score line. The Vikings put up 519 total offensive yards and scored 4 out of the 5 times they were in the red zone. Lawrence had a mammoth 370 rushing yards including Wren’s 126 on just six carries.
The running back saw little action after his explosive first quarter in order to rest a sore shoulder. Maxam went an efficient 7-10 for 129 yards and two touchdowns, and backup QB Ron Jacques looked impressive running the option.
The win takes the Vikings’ record to 2-2, a mark they have only managed to reach twice before in the past nine years. The team will, undoubtedly, be looking to run the table now, with the two toughest conference opponents out of the way. One of the bigger challenges they will face in the next few weeks will be their upcoming fixture at Illinois College.
The Blueboys fell to Ripon this last weekend but have two other conference wins to their name, including a three-point victory over Lake Forest, which will be the Vikings’ next home game. That game will be played under the lights at the Banta Bowl Oct. 7 at 6 p.m.