By Dave Pearce
It was senior night at North Posey High School on Friday evening. The 5-3 North Posey Vikings were facing the 1-7 Pike Central Chargers. You would expect a one-sided game. And you would be correct.
The Vikings, behind the strong running performance of a finally-healthy Lance Inkenbrandt defeated the Chargers 45-14 in a game that probably was not as close as the score night indicate.
Although the Chargers did score twine in the final period against the Viking junior varsity squad, all North Posey seniors saw plenty of action in the first three periods as they rolled up 409 yards of total offense on the night.
“We played a very, very solid first half and got into good position there at half-time,” Viking head coach Paul Rynkiewich said following the game. “We got all the seniors in and they played a lot. But there in the third quarter, we didn’t let them come back in at all.”
But by the third quarter, it was too late for the Chargers.
The Vikings wasted little time getting on the board as quarterback James Marshall found a familiar target in Bryce Martin just four minutes into the game and with 7:59 remaining in the first period, Martin went in from 15 yards out to give the Vikings the early lead. Just four-and-a-half minutes later, the Vikings scored again on a four-yard run by sophomore Dalton Rankin and suddenly the Vikings were ahead 14-0.
But from the sidelines, the Chargers appeared to have good size as well as some skilled players. They ran multiple sets which could help the Vikings as they now enter sectional action, hosting the South Spencer Rebels in a rematch of the season opener. The opener was in Reo while this time, the senior-laden Rebels, who are also healthy again, will come to North Posey with the end of the season on the line.
“Pike Central’s line is huge and they have a good runner in their No. 3,” Rynkiewich said, complimenting the Chargers.
Despite the outcome being what most folks expected against the Chargers, Rynkiewich expressed pride in his team for going out and setting the pace and getting the job done.
“We did what you have to do in that situation. We went out and put them away early,” he said. “We played a very good first half and held ourselves to our standard.”
Despite strong offensive play, the Charger defense forced the Vikings to punt on the first play of the second period. A good punt rolled dead at the 20. But the defense picked up the slack.
But just when the Chargers thought they had things rolling a little following a first down, senior Zack Wargel got into the backfield and nearly took the ball on the hand-off, resulting in a six-yard loss for the Chargers. That was one of six tackles for the tough senior. Derek Lindauer proved to be a thorn in the side for the Chargers, as well, as he had five solo tackles and four tackle assists on the defensive side of the ball.
The Chargers went for a fake punt on fourth down and it was unsuccessful as the Vikings took over on the Charger 24. On the first play from Scrimmage, Inkenbrandt again got good blocking and with his strength and speed, took the ball in from 24 yards out to give the Vikings a 21-0 lead.
But the Vikings were not finished yet. After stuffing the Charger offense, Marshall found Drew Cumbee for a 33-yard touchdown catch to expand the lead to 28-0.
Following another stop, The Vikings were driving as time was running out and with no time showing on the first-half clock, senior Bo Cox got the first field goal of the year for the Vikings as his 38-yard attempt sailed through the uprights to give his team a 31-0 lead at the half.
The third quarter was much like the first half as the Vikings scored again on their first possession as the Chargers had no answers for Inkenbrandt. He broke loose for touchdown runs of 36 and 55 yards in the third quarter alone, the last one with 39 seconds showing on the clock.
The Viking reserves got some valuable experience but learned they will have to step up their level of play next season as they gave up two long touchdown runs in the final period.
Besides Wargel and Lindauer defensively, Nick Gries had five tackles while Cale O’Risky had four and Marshall, and Rankin had three apiece. Inkenbrandt, Isaac Mayer, Martin, Cox, and Derek Motz had two tackles apiece while Zach Adkins got one. Lindauer and Cox each were credited with a sack.
But this one is over and the Vikings have to look ahead.
Despite defeating the Rebels in the first game of the season, Rynkiewich knows this South Spencer team is going to be ready to play because the season is on the line. Nothing comes easy.
“The first time we played, we played an outstanding all-around game and that’s what we are going to have to do again,” Rynkiewich said of the first-round sectional contest. “That’s the way it is supposed to be. It’s the tournament now.”
“Stokes is awfully fast and Burden is always a threat,” Rynkiewich said of two Rebel players. “They are scoring a lot of points. Offensively we are going to have to be mistake-free and I think we can move the ball on them.”
The Vikings closed the regular season at 6-3 which is not a bad season and has Rynkiewich just happy that the Vikings are healthy now.
“Our health is as good as it has been since early in the season and that’s good, now that it is tournament time,” he concluded.
Gametime Friday night is 7 p.m.
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