A strong defensive line led the Williams High School Vikings football team to a 13-6 home victory against the Chino Valley Cougars on Sept. 13.
The win brings Williams to a 2-1 record. The Vikings opened the season with a 41-14 victory over Needles in the Northern Arizona University Skydome Aug. 31. They fell to Round Valley 41-0 on Sept. 6.
Chino Valley came at Williams with a six-man front defense, which Williams was not expecting.
"That is something we have got to learn to handle," said head coach Jeff Brownlee.
The first score of the game came in the first quarter after the Vikings threw an interception. After the turnover, the Cougars only needed another 30 yards for the touchdown. After missing the extra point, the Cougars led 6-0.
In the second quarter, Williams' Aiden Grantham threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Kohl Nixon. A successful point after touchdown attempt brought the Vikings to a 7-6 lead.
Neither team scored in the third quarter.
"It's just a tough defensive football game," Brownlee said.
With about four minutes left in the fourth quarter, Williams' Kristian Holmes caused a fumble exchange between Chino Valley's quarterback and running back. Viking Tyler Walker recovered the loose ball and ran about 30 yards for a touchdown.
After the touchdown, the team decided to fake the kick and instead go for two. The attempt was unsuccessful, which left the Vikings with a 13-6 lead.
Toward the end of the game, the Vikings got some penalties for a hit out of bounds and taunting, which moved the Cougars closer to the Viking's end zone. But the Viking defense held them off until the clock ran out.
"Going into this year I knew our defense would win us some football games, and they did against Chino," Brownlee said.
The win was especially impressive because Chino Valley is a Division IV school, and Williams plays in Division V.
"So it was a great win for our kids and it was a great win defensively," Brownlee said. "You could actually tell in the second half we wanted the ball game more than Chino, truly."
Brownlee said the coaching staff has talked to the players about controlling their aggressiveness to avoid penalties. So far, Williams is averaging about 12-13 penalties and giving up about 100 yards per game.
"The kids need to learn how to be more disciplined," Brownlee said.
The Vikings have also suffered several injuries this season, which Brownlee said has taken a toll on the team. Christian Plascencia and Jorge Martinez both have knee injuries, Leo Lopez has a broken knucke, David Overbo has a sprained ankle and knee, Tyler Walker has a minor concussion, and three team members have suffered dislocated shoulders.
Walker is expected to play in the next game and Plascencia may return later in the season.
On Friday, the Vikings will face Camp Verde at 7 p.m. at home. For this match up, the Vikes are working on improving their offense, especially their passing game.
"We have some real good ball players on defense so now we've got to carry that enthusiasm over to the offensive side," Brownlee said.
The Vikes are also working on one their ability to play against a six-man front.
"To go deep in the season or in the playoffs we have to adjust to a six-man front, which we worked on it hard this week," Brownlee said. "So if Camp Verde comes in and throws that, we're ready."