The Roger High School Vikings (10-1) tamed the Tiverton Tigers (3-7) on a very cold Thanksgiving morning. Rogers won their tenth straight game this season at Tiverton High School, with a final score of 34-8.
While many folks were putting their turkeys in the ovens, the Vikings were taking care of business on the football field.
The cold weather did not seem to affect the Vikings' play. They managed to dictate the pace of the game thanks to outstanding efforts of running backs Christian Cancel and Christian Savage, who together rushed over 100 yards.
Rogers successfully took the buzzing Tigers home crowd out of the game early after scoring twenty-one points in the first half, despite committing two turnovers.
"I believe that the sloppy play was mostly due to the fact that we had a long layoff," Rogers head coach Frank Newsome said. "However, a win is a win, and I am pleased that we were able to pull this one out."
Approximately four minutes into the first quarter, Vikings quarterback Cody Platt connected on a 32-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Cancel, who rolled out along the sidelines and into the end zone. Cancel was named the Vikings' MVP by Tiverton head coach Robert Murray for his fine efforts in the game.
"Christian [Cancel] is a throwback type player," Newsome said. "He works very hard to improve his game every day and he is also a great leader. Many of his teammates look up to him and we are so lucky to have him."
Late in the second quarter, Tiverton quarterback Trevor Pavao fumbled on the Tigers' 24-yard line, which enabled the Vikings to prepare for their next scoring drive.
Already leading 14-0, Rogers swapped in the more mobile Reeyon Watts at quarterback for Platt to keep the Tigers' defense off balance. The plan seemed to work, Watts successfully eluded several linebackers and rushed for 24 yards into the end zone.
After the extra point was converted, the Vikings took a 21-0 lead into the half. Despite the big lead, Coach Newsome was not completely satisfied with the performance of his team. He was looking to be more efficient on the offensive and defensive ends.
"Even though we have won 10 straight, I believe that we can perform much better," Newsome said. "Today, we are sloppy and if we plan on defeating Middletown, we need to improve on many areas."
In the beginning of the second half, Tiverton elected to change quarterbacks as well, opting to use John DeCosta.
DeCosta struggled at first. He promptly threw an interception to Vikings defensive end Marc Washington, who managed to return the pick into the end zone for another Rogers touchdown.
On the ensuing Tiverton drive, DeCosta was finally able to put the Tigers on the scoreboard and give the home fans something to cheer about. DeCosta connected on a 50-yard bomb to wide receiver Taylor Ekstrom.
Later in the drive, DeCosta scrambled for 35 yards into the end zone for a touchdown. Because of his great play, Coach Newsome awarded him with the Team MVP award for Tiverton.
With Rogers leading 27-8 early in the fourth quarter, Savage managed to help the Vikings begin another trip into the Tigers' red zone. He rushed for over 30 yards on their final scoring drive, which ended after Damion Rodrigo pounded the ball into the end zone from the 1-yard line.
After the extra point, the Vikings led 34-8, which turned out to be the final score in the contest.
Now that the regular season is officially wrapped up the Rogers Vikings are prepared to begin their playoff run. On Tuesday, the Vikings will battle the Middletown Islanders (6-3) in the semifinals round. The matchup will determine which team will advance to the Super Bowl.
"We will be ready to play Middletown," Newsome said. "Last time we played, they gave us a really tough challenge. Our offense is going to have to do a better job next time and find a way to put up more points. As always though, it is going to come down to defense."