GUERNSEY – Viking varsity football coach Curtis Cook made it simple before the homecoming game against NSI Academy as he said, “Win and we’re in.”
The team took it seriously and NSI took the brunt of that nature. At the end of the first half the Vikings had amassed 63 points, had a 57-point lead and were taking a knee with the clock running out with three minutes left in the second quarter.
“It’s always a great feeling to achieve a goal, we set out in July during summer camp with the goal of qualifying for the playoffs after missing out last year,” said Cook. “I’m so proud of this great group of young men for making that a reality.”
Not only did the team make it to the playoffs, but for two weeks they played without five starters and against NSI Academy they were still four starters down, getting back only Cooper Harriman to the field of battle.
The first quarter of the game would be forever remembered and retitled, “the never-ending story” and in that quarter the team scored 41 points and the quarter itself took 51 minutes to complete. It was 48-0 midway through the second quarter before NSI finally scored its first touchdown on a 13-yard pass play.
The Vikings had 63 points stored up before Cook and his staff were trying to figure out ways not to score. Guernsey most likely could have had at least three more touchdowns, but intentionally running the ball out of bounds, with a clean goal line 20-yards ahead of him, Brian McCoid looked at his coach and said, “I didn’t know what else to do.”
Cook of course just smiled and told him it was the right thing to do. From that point on. The Vikings did the right thing, taking a knee with a lot of time left in the second quarter and showed mercy to a group of kids from NSI who haven’t had a lot of mercy shown to them in their young and troubled adolescent lives.
The Guernsey football team didn’t just give a clinic on how to play football, but also gifted NSI with some very important life lessons. And those lessons were taught by a coaching staff that has instilled character into this team time and time again throughout a season when the odds were stacked against them week after week.
They could have taken all the frustrations of the Kaycee game or the bitterness of the sting from the Farson-Eden game and lowered the boom on NSI. It wasn’t this team’s style. They were better than that. They were better than their record showed all year and as they saw one starter after another dropping to quarantines and injuries, those who were left on the field stepped up, never hung their heads and made the little town of Guernsey believe in their football team.
And Guernsey was outscored in the second half of the NSI game, 6-0. They gave up the last word to a team that had a very long bus ride home. A ride where they perhaps grew tired and thought about how their lives could have been so much worse had it not been for the boys in black on a warm Friday night in October.
It kind of gives a fresh meaning to the term “homecoming.”
For the game, Guernsey recorded 344 yards of total offense with only 36 plays. 194 of those yards came once again from sophomore Brian McCoid who had to grow up quickly these past two years and was in fact “tried in the fire that first year,” according to his coaches. He went 6-13 with 2 touchdowns. The Vikings picked up 150 yards on the ground, 70 of which came from Justin Malcom, who led the team with 9.5 hardcore tackles which have earned him the nickname, bone crusher. Freshman Kaleb Foggie put upper class moves on NSI and had three carries for 68 yards and caught three passes for 108 yards. They didn’t have an answer for the young freshman who was one player that stepped up in a huge way as half of the team went down to illness and injury. Two other players of note were Cooper Harriman, released back to the team after injury and he had more than his share of smiles, filling holes and hitting people again.
Aidan Noggle, a kid that was not supposed to see much time this year has also come up big especially on defense gathering four open field solo tackles. On players twice and three times his size. People looking at him this week commented that “he plays bigger than he is.” A great compliment for a young player.
With the win, Guernsey moves it’s season record to 3-4.
The Vikings travel to Midwest Friday for a 2 p.m. kickoff time. The Oilers have yet to win a game and Guernsey is going to do its best to keep that Midwest no-win streak alive.