TUBA CITY, Ariz. - For the second straight week the Williams High School (WHS) varsity football team returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown to continue the exceptional play of their special teams and defense halfway through the regular season.
The WHS Vikings (5-0) remain undefeated with their resounding 49-6 win at Greyhills Academy (Tuba City, Ariz.) on Sept. 21. The Fightin' Knights of Greyhills now fall to 0-5 overall.
"Getting a win is always a good thing. Unfortunately, for the past two weeks our varsity kids have not been getting the reps they need, on offense or defense," said Jeff Brownlee, Vikings head football coach. "This week we only ran eight offensive varsity plays. That just hurts us cause we don't develop any rhythm. There's a big difference in playing in game speed for four full quarters."
The Vikings Adrian Solano is used to scoring, especially on special teams as of late, and that's exactly what he did when he took the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown, two-point conversion attempt failed. After the Vikings defense held, the offense then scored on their very first possession, a 34-yard touchdown run by Joaquin Salaz.
Later in the first quarter, Solano got his hands on a punt return and ran that back 50 yards for his second touchdown of the night. Still in the first, Vikings quarterback Jeff Brownlee connected with Oscar Nunez for a 55-yard touchdown completion. After just 12 minutes, WHS was up 26-0 on Greyhills heading into the second quarter.
"The good side is we're healthy and we're confident, but we need that contact and we need to play four quarters of football. That has me a little concerned going into Page," Brownlee said. "Our JV has been getting more reps than our varsity these past two weeks. We need to be game ready when the time comes that we do have to play a team for four quarters, which I think will be the case against Page."
The second quarter scoring kicked off with another touchdown run by Salaz, this one for 47 yards, point after touchdown (PAT) good. Coty Baxter got in on the fun with a 55-yard touchdown run of his own, PAT missed. With a commanding lead late in the second quarter, and mostly junior varsity players on the field for the Vikings, WHS finished the first half with a 97-yard drive resulting in a 20-yard field goal to go up 42-0 at halftime.
"We are doing very well on special teams, we got a punt return, a kickoff return, we kicked a field goal, and throughout the game we were four of six on extra points," said Brownlee.
After a scoreless third quarter, Aiden Grantham of the Vikings rushed for a 23-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, PAT good. Then after more than 12 consecutive quarters of holding their opponents scoreless, WHS gave up a 32-yard touchdown pass to Greyhills quarterback Sergio Oliver and his receiver Derron Dougi, two-point conversion failed. This was the first touchdown given up by the Vikings in three weeks.
"We don't want to be overconfident, especially going into Page, which is a bigger school. They have a new coach, but they're a well-coached team. I hear they run a pistol offense so we'll see what we can do against that," Brownlee said. "It'll be fun to get back into playing four quarters of football and playing some better teams cause that improves our team. We need to play some tough football games to help us be successful down the road."
In the pistol offense the quarterback lines up four yards behind the center rather than seven yards, as with the shotgun formation. The running back lines up three yards behind the quarterback, as opposed to next to him. In the pistol formation, the quarterback is close enough to the line of scrimmage to be able to read the defense and far enough back to give him extra time and a better vision of the field just like in the shotgun.
The Vikings look to stay undefeated when they travel to Page, Ariz. to take on the Page Sand Devils (2-3) at 7 p.m. on Friday in a non-conference game.