Vikes’ rally sinks SF ship again

Vikes’ rally sinks SF ship again
Vikes’ rally sinks SF ship again

South Fulton’s Willy Kneuppel runs behind the block of Taylor Martin during Friday’s loss at Humboldt.
History unfortunately repeated itself for South Fulton in Humboldt on Friday night.
The Red Devils, who carried the advantage into the fourth quarter for the second straight season against the Vikings, succumbed to a 21-point final period rally by the hosts in a 41-27 defeat.
That said, SF mentor Kelly Spivey was still holding his head high after the loss.
“I told the team after the game that I was proud of them because they left it all on the field,” South Fulton mentor Kelly Spivey said. “Win, lose or draw, if they do that, I can’t be disappointed.
“The trap we have to avoid now is letting this loss beat us on Friday against Gleason. Last year, we got caught up in what could have been (after a similar defeat to Humboldt) instead of focusing on what was coming up (Gleason). It’s not going to do us any good to mope about this loss or to claim a moral victory.”
On Friday, the Red Devils (2-2, 0-2 in District 14A play) built up a ton of momentum late in the third quarter.
Sophomore Khiry Lewis bobbled a kickoff, but recovered in time to dodge a trio of Vikings and take off to the races, dashing 99 yards for a touchdown to put South Fulton up 27-20 with just under two minutes to go before the start of the fourth.
However, the Vikings didn’t roll over and play dead as the host team benefited from great field position after Quan Campbell returned Cody Tatum’s short kickoff to the SF 40.
From there, H’boldt needed just six plays to find paydirt as Antonio Brooks dove in from a yard out with 10:58 remaining in the fourth.
Point-after-kick holder Zack Shepherd stood up and tossed an aerial into the hands of Shaquille McMorry to give the Vikings a 28-27 advantage and the lead for good.
Additionally, Humboldt kept the pigskin away from the South Fulton offense — allowing the Devils just six offensive snaps in the fourth frame.
Meanwhile, the Vikings (3-2, 2-0 in 14A) tacked on two more scores as quarterback Brian Harris snuck in from a yard out and Ryeon Wedley darted 32 yards for a touchdown.
“We got a little tired at the end and give Humboldt credit for being able to take advantage of that,” Spivey said. “I thought it was best that we didn’t sub a lot because I wanted the best 11 out there at all times. And I also wanted us to play aggressive defense.
“The downside of that was if they hit the right hole, they might come away with a big play. That happens, but it was a risk I was willing to take. I wouldn’t change a thing about our game plan tonight.”
The Redmen opened the game with a methodical 13-play, 55-yard march that culminated when J.P. Fowler crossed the goalline on a two-yard run.
Tatum, who missed half of the fourth frame with what is believed to be a high ankle sprain, booted the PAT through the uprights and South Fulton enjoyed a 7-0 lead.
The celebration was short-lived as Brooks busted loose up the middle, breaking away for a 62-yard trip to paydirt. The game was tied at 7 when Daniel Blankenship kicked the Viking point-after through.
The score stayed at 7-all until late in the second frame when H’boldt retook the lead. The Vikings marched 62 yards on an 11-play drive with Campbell taking the pigskin to the goalline, but ultimately fumbling in the endzone.
Luckily, for Humboldt, Tori Haley quickly smothered the loose football to secure the H’boldt touchdown and a 14-7 lead after Blankenship’s PAT with 1:51 remaining before intermission.
Next, South Fulton worked its magic in the two-minute offense as quarterback JaQuay Garmon found Fowler three times for 45 yards to get the Redmen within the Viking redzone. Then, Garmon did the honors from four yards out, sneaking across the goalline and making the game a one-point contest (14-13 in Humboldt’s favor) at halftime.
SF went up with 5:12 to go in the third quarter when Tatum bulldozed his way to the endzone on a nine-yard run, but Wedley answered with a 38-yard scoring jaunt to put Humboldt back up momentarily.
Lewis’ splendid kickoff return followed.
Defensively, Tatum paced South Fulton with eight stops, while Willy Kneuppel and Nick Wright each had seven takedowns.
Offensively, the Vikings relied on a three-headed monster to dispose of South Fulton. Wedley finished with 101 yards on nine carries, while Campbell carried the pigskin 28 times for 99 yards. Brooks finished three markers shy of the Century Club with 97 yards on five hand-offs.
The Red Devils celebrate homecoming this Friday against Gleason. Humboldt hosts McKenzie.
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at kcoker@ucmessenger.com.

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