11/12/2013 10:25:00 AM Williams Vikings end football season at St. Johns
The 2013 Williams High School Vikings ended their season with a 8-2 record. Ryan Williams/WGCN
Katherine Locke Williams-Grand Canyon News
The Williams Vikings lost 21-0 to St. Johns in the first round of the state playoffs Nov. 9.
The Vikings were 8-2 for the season and seeded 11 in Power Points.
Coach Jeff Brownlee said that the Vikes have made it to the state playoffs for the past five years but they had hoped to go further this year.
"Our goal every year obviously is first to make state and second to get past the first round, which we haven't had an opportunity," Brownlee said, adding that last year the Vikings lost 13-20 in the first round of the playoffs. "This year we end up on the losing side against St. Johns."
Brownlee said while the loss was disappointing, the kids played St. Johns better than they had in years but St. Johns played even better.
"We have a history with St. Johns where St. Johns has had our number," he said.
St. Johns scored seven points in the first quarter, neither team scored in the second or third quarter and St. Johns scored twice more in the fourth quarter to make the final score 21-0.
Brownlee credited the Vikes' defense with saving the team all year long.
"That's one thing we always relied on, our defense would keep us in a lot of ball games if not win us some football games," he said.
On St. Johns' first possession, the Vikes' defense caused a fumble with a Viking player picking up the ball, but the referees didn't see the fumble and blew the whistle calling the play dead. St. Johns kept possession of the ball.
Brownlee said moments like those can make all the difference in a football game.
"Football's an emotional game, especially for us," he said. "If we'd have gotten that fumble, it's hard to tell what would have happened. The player who picked up the ball would have scampered in the end zone, who knows what would have happened."
The Vikings caused themselves some problems, though, with seven penalties for 75 yards, something that Brownlee said the team has struggled with all year.
"You just can't do that in a playoff game," Brownlee said. The penalties were for simple things like offside calls and intentional grounding calls, which hurt the team later in the game.
He said the Vikes had a hard time establishing anything on the ground in the first half even though the defense "stood up and played very, very well."
In the second half the Vikings missed out on several opportunities and ended up playing in St. Johns' end of the field more than their own. They had a drive that stalled out on their 20-yard line because of penalties and another drive that stalled out on the 15.
"We had our opportunities but we just did not capitalize on those opportunities," Brownlee said. "It seemed like we'd get a mental mistake and we just could not move the ball very well."
He said the Vikings could handle the linebackers on the front line but they could not handle the second level linebackers and block them when they needed to.
Despite the loss, Brownlee singled out a few defensive players who contributed to some outstanding plays.
"Kohl Nixon was a monster at right defensive end and I think he had three sacks and Joaquin Salaz had a couple of interceptions along with Leo Lopez," Brownlee said. "Defensively we played very good football."
But Brownlee said offensively the team struggled, especially against a faster, physical team. He said his running backs tried to shoot outside when they needed to trust the hole, follow it and trust the team's blocking scheme.
"In the state playoffs you have to be able to bear down and make good blocks and run hard," he said.
Brownlee said the team met expectations for the year, and it was a fun, competitive season and now it is time for preparation for next year during the off-season.
"It's over now, but I am ready for it to start again," Brownlee said.