ALLPORT — The Glendale Vikings came into L.T. Drivas Memorial Field Friday night and took down the West Branch Warriors 44-20. The Vikings wound up with 257 yards rushing on the night. Seth Dudurich paced the way with 136 yards on 16 carries and two scores, while running back Cory Johnston got 85 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.
“I think at this point in the season, teams start to discover themselves a bit,” Glendale head coach Dave Trexler said. “And you try and close the gap on every mistakes. West Branch had some mistakes tonight and we have the first three games. But it comes down to the turnovers. (West Branch) is a really good team and that quarterback is very special and they’re well coached. But we did some good things tonight and we really came together.”
“The disgusting part is that we knew that’s what they were going to do,” West Branch head coach Kevin Hubler said of Glendale’s running attack. “There’s two teams we’ve played so far where we knew what was coming — Mo Valley was going to run it right down your throat, Glendale is going to try and run it down your throat. Stop them and you win. If you don’t stop them, this happens. But it goes back to what I’ve been saying all year. We’re making too many mistakes. We’re not tackling on defense. We’re not aggressive and we’re making mistakes after mistakes on offense.”
Glendale’s defense forced a three-and-out on West Branch’s first possession of the game and then proceeded to go 73 yards on 12 plays, as Johnston cashed in his first touchdown of the night with a 15 yard run up the middle with 4:32 left in the first quarter. Ethan Cavalet’s extra point gave the Vikings a 7-0 lead.
West Branch got the offense going through the air like it has all season on its next possession — picking up first downs with receptions by Travis Rothrock and Noah Hoffner from quarterback Ayden Gutierrez. But on fourth-and-1 at the Vikings 27-yard line, the Glendale defense came up big and stuffed Gutierrez on a QB keeper. to get the ball back.
Both teams traded possessions and the Warriors were then forced to punt early in the second quarter at their own 12-yard line.
That’s when an errant snap went over punter Eddie Dale’s head.
Dale was able to recover and get the punt off, but it was partially blocked and went right into the hands of Viking Garret Misiura in the end zone for an easy touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
Less than two minutes later, it was literally the same scenario for West Branch — another punt deep in its own territory and another bad snap. This time, however, the ball went out of the end zone for a safety and a 16-0 Glendale lead with 9:24 left in the second quarter.
The Vikings got the lead up to 23-0 in the second quarter whenever Baine Seilhamer picked off Gutierrez. Three plays after that, Dudurich punched it in from 15 yards with 5:26 left in the first half.
West Branch answered quickly whenever Gutierrez found Trent Bellomy over the middle in stride for a 45-yard TD. After a penalty after the score, West Branch’s two-point try was unsuccessful but the lead was cut to 23-6.
The Vikings then took momentum into the half and Seth Dudurich scored from seven yards out with 14 second left in the half, giving the visitors a 30-6 lead.
Glendale kept its foot on the accelerator with its first possession in the second half, going nine plays for 60 yards and capping it off with a Johnston 14-yard TD to put the Vikings up 37-6 with 7:58 left in the third quarter.
West Branch finally got the running game going in the second half, as Will Herring scored early in the fourth quarter to cut the Glendale lead to 37-13.
“If we can get Will (Herring) some creases, that’s what you’ll see,” Hubler said. “He’s quick and he runs hard. We’ve got to give him those creases but it’s a balance. We can’t rely on throwing the ball 70 times. That’s not going to work. We have to be able to mix it up. You can see when we are able to mix it up, we’re hard to defend. But it comes back to making mistakes and being behind the sticks. Any offense is tough when it’s third-and-20.”
Both teams each scored once more in the fourth quarter, as Misiura found Seilhamer over the middle for a 14-yard touchdown for the Vikings, to which Trexler was pleased.
“I think we have a little hidden gem in that we can throw the ball,” Trexler said. “We’re just blessed with some very big, physical running backs and some speed, so we sort of play into our strengths. We know if we want to get to where we want to be, we’re going to have to throw the ball and we can. I’m proud that we can when we need to.”
Herring then punched one in from one yard out with 5:35 left to play to set the final at 44-20.
“I’m just proud of the effort,” Trexler said. “They’re just committed to getting better and the effort is there. They’ve been down before and they’re resilient. We try not to pay attention to the score as much because it is what it is. But we want to win and we look for that effort. It’s there.”
With the win, Glendale moves to 3-1 on the year and hosts Claysburg-Kimmel next week.
“We’re going to enjoy it for what it is but we’re focused on getting better each week,” Trexler said. “It’s only week 4 and everybody is shooting to get better and everybody is shooting for what’s after the regular season. But we just want to focus in on next week.”
West Branch falls to 0-4 and host Mount Union next week.
“Mount Union, on paper, it looks like they have a really tough defense,” Hubler said. “We’re going to have our hands full and we’ve got to play better defense. We have to quit making mistakes on offense to let us score more points. If we do that, we’re going to be ok. But if we don’t, we’re going to continue to struggle.”