Times Sports Editor
TERRE HAUTE -- The West Vigo Vikings remained in the hunt for a conference title Friday night by blanking visiting Northview 12-0 in cold, rainy conditions. The win halted a three-game winning streak by the Knights in the series.
On a night perfectly suited for keeping the ball on the ground, it was a pair of second half passes that turned the tide in the favor of the Vikings.
After both teams struggled to move the ball in a steady downpour during the first half, the Vikings turned its first possession of the second half into points.
The Knights received the second half kickoff, but a fumble on their second play was recovered by the Vikings' Sam Bowden to set up his squad on the 50-yard line. A personal foul penalty on West Vigo backed the Vikings up into a first-and-23 situation at midfield and a pair of procedure calls pushed them back to the 41-yard line, facing a first-and-32 call.
Quarterback Jimmy Maples hit Danny Creasey for a 12-yard gain and on the next play, Maples found Tyler Gustafson open for a 47-yard touchdown on the left sideline. After the extra point was missed, the Vikings held a 6-0 lead.
The Knights found the going difficult all night on the offensive side of the ball as Northview's longest drive was just six plays. Following the touchdown, the Knights moved the ball into West Vigo territory on runs by quarterback Tucker Stewart. However, the drive stalled to force a punt that was blocked by Bowden to give the Vikings possession at the Knights' 20-yard line.
West Vigo looked to add to its lead as Danny Creasey rushed for a 13-yard gain and set up a first-and-goal at the nine-yard line.
On this particular drive however, the Knights' defense held tough facing a fourth-and-goal at the three-yard line. The Knights stopped Jacob Creasey at the one-yard line to regain the ball.
The Knights weren't able to move the ball and punted once again, but quickly got the ball back on a fumble that was picked up by Jacob Dean at the 14-yard line.
Once again however, the offense was held without a first down and the Vikings started their drive at midfield.
West Vigo kept the ball on the ground for the first five plays of the drive, moving the ball to the 17-yard line, but faced a fourth down and long situation. Maples stepped back and aired the ball out to the corner of the endzone where Gustafson was able to haul it in to extend the lead to 12-0 with just 2:26 remaining in the game.
The Knights had some success on its final drive as Stewart hit Tyler Rector for 12 yards and followed with a 14-yard strike down to the 34-yard line. After Rector hauled in a six-yard gain, the next pass was deflected and intercepted by Maples to end the threat.
Overall, the Knights were able to gain just 43 yards on the ground over 30 carries. After holding West Vigo to just 42 yards on 22 carries in the first half, the Vikings broke free for 88 yards on 20 carries to help run out the clock in the second half.
The loss drops the Knights to 3-5 overall and 3-2 in the conference with a home game against Brown County at 7:30 p.m. that will wrap up the regular season.
At West Vigo
WV -- Jimmy Maples 47-yard pass to Tyler Gustafson (kick failed), 7:06
WV -- Maples 17-yard pass to Gustafson (pass failed), 2:26
Rushing -- Nv (Miller 14-22, Stewart 10-15, Little 6-6). WV (J.Creasey 8-21, D.Creasey 18-74, Maples 12-24, Warnock 4-11).
Passing -- Nv (Stewart 4-10 47 yards, 1 Int. 0 TD, Little 1-1 28 yards, 0 Int. 0 TD). WV (Maples 3-5 76 yards, 0 Int., 2 TD).
Receiving -- Nv (Ragan 1-28, Girton 1-15, Rector 3-32). WV (Gustafson 2-64 2 TD, D.Creasey 1-12).