Vikings lose tight one to Bay Area powerhouse

By: Galen Kusic, Special to The Press-Tribune
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On a drizzly, wet, gloomy night in Roseville, the Oakmont High Vikings came up just short to the favored Las Lomas Knights, 21-9. “They’ve got some division one players that are going to go on and play at the next level,” said Oakmont head coach Dale Mortensen. “Our guys did not shy away in any way, shape or form. I’m very proud of them tonight.” The Oakmont defense was strong throughout the game, forcing three Las Lomas turnovers inside the red zone, but the potent Knights’ passing attack of quarterback Lucas Gordon and wide receiver Diante Jackson proved to be too much down the stretch. “In tough situations I always want the ball, but you’ve got to be a team player,” said Jackson, who played while recovering from a fever, catching six balls for over 100 yards in the win. “We came in ready to play, we made some mistakes, I dropped some balls, and we got lucky,” said Jackson. “They played harder than we expected. Their line did a great job, especially on their misdirection plays.” The Knights scored first with 6:14 left in the first quarter on a strike to Jackson to put Las Lomas up 7-0. “When they isolate him (Jackson), we wanted to get one of our better guys on him,” said Mortensen. “He’s on a different level than 99.9 percent of the high school athletes I’ve ever seen.” The Vikings stormed back when on a Knights’ fourth and 17; Scott Schwieger blocked a punt and Tyler Mertz recovered it in the end zone to make the score 7-6. The score would remain unchanged until 10:45 in the fourth quarter when the Vikings’ Matt Ewing kicked a 36-yard field goal to put Oakmont on top for the first time of the night, 9-7. “We played good possession football,” said Mortensen. “We just weren’t getting it in the end zone.” The Vikings couldn’t hold Jackson on the next possession as he made a critical catch on a third and long at the two to set up a Knights’ score to make it 14-9. Oakmont got the ball back and drove down the field, going to receiver Randy Purdy on three consecutive completions. The Vikings got to the 38, but the Knights stopped them on fourth and one to take over on downs. “I didn’t set up a non-league schedule of patsies,” said Mortensen. “I set up tough teams that are going to help us get ready for league.” Las Lomas scored with seconds left on the clock to make it 21-9. The Vikings will take on Folsom High next week at 7:15pm at Folsom. “We’ve got to come out harder next week against Folsom,” said Oakmont quarterback Alex Ford. “We know we have to come out harder and leave it all on the field.”