FLINTON — If a football team turns the ball over five times in a single game, chances are that team isn’t going to win. But the Glendale Vikings defied the odds Friday at Dr. Roy F. Baker Field, overcoming the turnovers while playing stout defense and picking up a 6-2 victory over the Everett Warriors.
Glendale held Everett’s offense to 61 total yards on the night and four first downs — three of which were on Everett’s second drive of the game.
“We played great defense,” Glendale head coach Dave Trexler said. “The coaches did a great job with the game planning this week and they were very prepared with everything. With the injuries that we’ve had — and when you lose one or two players — it put us in a little bit of a scramble on what we could do. So we sort of had to adjust as the game went by. But the kids hung in there and did what they needed to do.”
While the defense was stout throughout, Glendale had four fumbles and an interception that the Warriors forced. However, Everett couldn’t muster any points out of the opportunities.
“Winning football games is tough, regardless of where you’re at,” Trexler said. “You’ve got to play at that level all the time and that’s what we’re seeing. Everett’s a very good team and obviously it’s one or two plays every game that make the difference.”
The lone touchdown of the game was scored 3:34 into the contest. The Vikings took its first drive and methodically went down the field for 66 yards.
A big highlight of the drive was Baine Seilhamer hauling in a 34-yard reception in tight coverage in which he reached over the Everett defender to bring it in. Four plays after the reception, Tristin Rutter scored on a 6-yard run. The missed PAT gave the Vikings a 6-0 lead with 8:26 left in the first quarter.
Glendale’s next drive churned out yards on the ground with Rutter and Seth Dudurich, as well as through the air with quarterback Garret Misiura as Seilhamer brought in another long reception by the sidelines — this one for 28 yards. But Glendale’s first lost fumble gave the Warriors the ball back as the first quarter ended.
Everett then had a sustained drive to open up the second quarter, at which Warriors head coach Dave Lightner said he was pleased with.
“We got some positive yards this week,” Lightner said. “We got a bit of a run game going and we changed some things up over this past week. So we got that going and the kids kept fighting hard. We caused some turnovers on defense and we moved the ball sometimes on offense. But we’re just shooting ourselves in the foot with costly penalties and costly mistakes so we’ve got to clear those up.”
After that drive, the Warriors picked up a single first down for the rest of the night, with zero first downs in the second half. It wasn’t much better with the Vikings offense, as they were only held to one first down in the second half.
“It’s just consistency,” Trexler said. “We’ve done some good things here and there. We showed we can control the ball a little bit. But we still haven’t been able to put it altogether and it’s going to be a work in progress. We’re definitely making strides.”
“Our defensive line stepped up pretty well tonight,” Lightner said. “Luis Saldivar — he’s first team all conference ICC — and we can always rely on him week to week. Calvin Iseminger is one of our better linebackers. Our defense, like our offense, it’s patchwork right now. And the kids are stepping up, but sometimes it’s hard to make it work with all the injuries we’ve gotten.”
After Glendale was pinned back to its own 3-yard line, a bad snap caused Misiura to fall on the ball in the end zone for an Everett safety with 9:17 left in the ball game, setting the score at 6-2.
Both teams would then trade possessions and after yet another Vikings lost fumble, Everett still had a chance to win the game with under three minutes left and at midfield.
But on third-and-14, Everett quarterback Malex Akers was stripped by Glendale defender Gage Wright — who caused havoc in the Warriors backfield throughout the night — and the Vikings were able to fall on the ball.
“It’s his first start,” Trexler said of Wright. “He’s a sophomore and he had to step up this week. We knew he could do it and he showed it tonight. That was a big part of the game — getting the pressure on the quarterback.”
From there, the Vikings were able take time off the clock and Everett had one last ditch effort at its own 31-yard line. But with 8.3 seconds left, Vikings defender Ethan Cavalet picked off Akers and the 6-2 final was set.
With the win, Glendale goes to 2-1 on the year and travels to West Branch next week.
“They’re all tough kids,” Trexler said. “And tonight, they learned to connect their head to their hearts a little bit and they did not give up. It was their resilience and — it was an ugly game. It is what it is. We’ll get the mistakes corrected. But the heart is something you can’t coach and they have it. Coming in, I told them that I didn’t have any magic elixir. If they want it, they have it inside and they’re good athletes. They’ve been successful in other sports so now they’re doing it on the football field. I’m proud of them.”
Everett drops to 0-3 on the season and hosts Bellwood-Antis next week.
“The kids don’t quit and I just keep preaching to them that we’ve got to respond,” Lightner said. “If we lose another game, how are we going to respond? We’ve got to think we’re 0-0 and that we’ve got to be 1-0 next week.”