McARTHUR - The Vinton County Vikings varsity football team (3-4 overall; 1-2 vs. Tri-Valley Conference, Ohio Division) celebrated Homecoming on Friday night with a non-division victory over the Federal Hocking Lancers (0-7) by a score of 48-8. For the Vikings the win marked their second consecutive victory, and for the Lancers the loss marked their thirty-first consecutive defeat.
Federal Hocking began the game with the football and failed to gain a first down, but - after the ensuing punt - it managed to pin Vinton County at its own six-yard line. It took the Vikings only nine plays to score, and the drive was completed with a fifteen-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Naylan Yates. The point-after-touchdown by sophomore kicker Eli Downs gave the Vikings an early 7-0 lead.
On their next possession the Lancers again failed to gain a first down, and a Federal Hocking pass was intercepted by senior defensive back Donnie Stevens in Lancers' territory. Vinton County hit paydirt five plays later on a three-yard shuffle pass from Yates to senior tight end Bryce Damron. The successful point-after-touchdown by Downs gave the Vikings an insurmountable 14-0 advantage.
Federal Hocking finally managed a first down late in the third quarter, but - moments later - sophomore defensive back Jacob Wells intercepted a Lancers' pass and returned the football for another Vikings' touchdown. Although the point-after-touchdown by Downs was unsuccessful, Vinton County took a 20-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The two foes then exchanged interceptions. On its next possession Federal Hocking ran just two plays before Stevens came up with his second interception of the contest. Four plays later the Vikings returned the favor, throwing a pass which was intercepted by the Lancers. On the third play of its ensuing possession Federal Hocking threw another pass which was intercepted by Stevens for a third time. Seven plays later Yates ran eighteen yards for another score. This time the point-after-touchdown by Downs was successful, giving Vinton County a 27-0 edge.
The passing troubles continued for the Lancers. On its next possession a Federal Hocking pass was intercepted by sophomore defensive back Will Arthur. Two plays later sophomore running back Jayden Spires ran six yards for another Vinton County touchdown. A successful point-after-touchdown by Downs gave the Vikings a 34-0 lead and ensured a continuously-running clock in the second half.
Vinton County added to its lead just prior to halftime. After the Lancers failed to gain a first down on their next drive, they punted the football to the Vikings, who took possession at their own 47-yard line. On the second play from scrimmage junior quarterback Lincoln Hayes connected with Wells on a 38-yard touchdown pass. The successful point-after-touchdown by Downs meant that Vinton County would enjoy a 41-0 halftime lead.
The teams traded possessions until early in the fourth quarter, when Federal Hocking scored its only points of the game. Freshman quarterback Hunter Smith found senior wide receiver Branden Gould on a nineteen-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion attempt by the Lancers was successful, cutting the lead to 41-8.
The Vikings answered that score with a score of their own. On its next possession Vinton County needed only six plays before Hayes ran sixteen yards for the final touchdown of the night. A successful point-after-touchdown by Downs made the final score 48-8 in favor of the Vikings.
Vinton County was led on defense by Stevens, Wells, Arthur, and freshman defensive back Lance Montgomery.
On Friday night Vinton County again will play host - this time to the River Valley Raiders (2-4; 0-3). River Valley boasts wins over Eastern and South Point, but has lost to Gallia Academy, Nelsonville-York, Meigs, and Wellston. The Raider played the Alexander Spartans on Friday night, but a final score was unavailable at press time.