Even without their star running back, the Curtis Vikings showed they’re still a pretty tough team to beat.
Curtis got 146 rushing yards and five touchdowns from Mitchell Hersey, and the defense forced six turnovers as the Vikings put on a late rally to defeat Rogers, 41-33, on Friday night at Sparks Stadium.
The win wrapped up third place in the SPSL South for Curtis (7-1, 6-1 SPSL South), which lost to Graham-Kapowsin at home earlier this season.
Hersey and the rest of the offense picked up the slack for EJ Deveaux, who sat out with an injured ankle.
It looked as if Rogers would run away with the game early. LaGrant Pegram hauled in a short pass from quarterback Stefan Van Horn – who was facing an all-out blitz – and rumbled 79 yards to give Rogers an early 13-0 lead. The Rams added another score in the first quarter on Austin Hardin’s 49-yard touchdown reception from Grayson Madland, giving Rogers a 19-0 lead with 56 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Rams appeared to be in complete control. Not so.
Rogers (4-4, 4-3) turned the ball over on its next three possessions of the second quarter – one fumble and two interceptions – and the Vikings took advantage of each. Hersey scored three short rushing touchdowns – including two in the final two minutes of the half – to give the Vikings a 21-19 lead with 1:14 left.
But Rogers wasn’t done. Madland quickly put a drive together and hit Pegram in stride down the sideline for a 30-yard touchdown, putting the Rams up 27-21 at halftime after a successful two-point conversion. Pegram finished with nine catches for 169 yards.
The Rams outgained Curtis, 260-148, in total offense in the first half.
The pace didn’t slow much in the second half. After Andrew Nelson’s 1-yard run gave the Rams a brief 33-21 lead midway through the third quarter, Curtis closed the gap to 33-28 heading into the final quarter behind quarterback Scott Wismer’s 52-yard touchdown pass to Jason Williams.
After the Rogers defense stopped Wismer on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 9:40 left, Curtis got the ball back with 3:29 left and needed just three plays to score from the Rogers 36-yard line. Wismer hit Carter McKay with a 26-yard completion, and two plays later Hersey scored his fourth touchdown, a 1-yard plunge with 2:07 left, giving Curtis a 34-33 lead.
Myan English ended the ensuing Rogers drive, picking off Madland with 1:19 left.
Rogers turned the ball over three other times in the fourth quarter, losing two fumbles and another interception.