Vikings clinch win in playoff opener
The kids who went trick or treating for Halloween had to work extra hard on Friday, Oct. 31, due to the cold and wet weather conditions.
The same thing could be said for the Hopkins football team.
“We toughened up our schedule for games like this,” said Vikings’ coach Cody Francis after his team knocked Muskegon Oakridge out of the state district tournament with a 22-16 Division 5 home-field victory.
Hopkins was tired of the one-and-done situation of losing in the opening round of the playoffs as it had the past two seasons.
“We didn’t want this to be our last game,” said Viking senior Jalen Kisner, who not only led the charge out of the huddle from his center position on offense but was all over the field defensively with 13 tackles including 3.5 sacks.
“Jalen stepped up. All the guys did,” Francis said. “To win our first home playoff game in the 10 years I’ve been coaching at Hopkins meant a lot.”
Hopkins linebacker John Adams checked in with 11 tackles.
The Vikings, who have won eight games in a row, came out of the locker room ready to go.
“There’s no tomorrow and I knew I couldn’t take a down off,” Kisner said.
Hopkins’ Wyatt Stegeman, who rushed for 61 yards on the very cold evening, took a hand-off from quarterback Ryan Pierce behind a large hole for 42 yards to Oakridge’s 40-yard line on the first play from scrimmage.
Pierce eventually followed Kisner and his friends into the end zone for six points on a 1-yard sneak. The 82-yard opening drive only required seven plays.
The dangerous Quincy Collings, who carried the ball 28 times for 179 yards, ran in the 2-point conversion to give the Vikings a quick 8-0 lead.
For full story, pick up a copy of the November 6 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.