Viking Football earns first win in season finale

Jon Mays

The Lawrence football team came close to picking up victories all season long, and in their last chance of the year they were able to accomplish their goal.
Without much at stake, the Vikings (1-9) found motivation to play hard in their last game of the year, and picked up their first win of the year over University of Minnesota-Morris. The seniors set the tone for Lawrence on senior night, and that led to a fast start for the Vikings.
Star senior running back Craig Ebert ended his career on a high note, rushing for 123 yards on 22 carries, also catching four passes for 49 yards and a touchdown.
On Lawrence’s first drive of the game they put together an impressive 54-yard, seven-play drive that ended in an 18-yard touchdown to Ebert from freshman quarterback Max Granaroli. Ebert caught the ball in the flat, and with the help of some blocking and a few nice moves, he ran the remaining 18 yards to give the Vikings a 7-0 lead. The Vikings’ defense held on the Cougars’ next possession and got the ball back to the Lawrence offense.
Lawrence took the momentum generated by the defense and marched down the field for another touchdown. Quarterback Nick Maxam found Ebert for a 12-yard gain on third-and-11 to continue the drive. The Vikings came through with 41-yards on a reverse play for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
UM-Morris (3-6) cut into the lead on their next possession with a heavy dose of running back Ernest Tucker. Tucker carried the ball nine times on the drive, wearing down the Lawrence defense. Tucker ended the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. Morris missed the extra point to keep the score at 14-6.
Lawrence came back quickly after getting good field position late in the first half. The Vikings took over on the Cougar 25-yard line after a penalty, and it only took them one play to score. Maxam found wide receiver sophomore Jeremiah Johnson in the end zone for another Viking touchdown. Lawrence went into halftime with a 21-6 lead.
The scoring slowed down in the second half. Late in the third quarter, the Cougars put together a good drive and cut into the Lawrence lead. Morris drove 82 yards in 11 to make it a one-possession game. Morris’ Robert Koranda made some big plays on the drive, including a 14-yard run and a 21-yard reception. Garrett Mensing converted the final two plays of the drive, moving the ball to the 1-yard line with a 10-yard reception, and then converting on the ensuing touchdown run, making the score 21-13.
From then on, the Vikings’ defense would bend but not break. The Cougars entered Lawrence territory twice in the fourth quarter, but the Vikings were able to stop them both times. A key interception by senior safety Sam Laes sealed the victory for the Vikings.