Williams beats Mogollon 42-40

Chance Pearson shrugs off a defender during the Vikings 42-40 win over Mogollon Sept. 21. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

Chance Pearson shrugs off a defender during the Vikings 42-40 win over Mogollon Sept. 21. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — Arguably facing their toughest competition so far this year, the Williams Vikings escaped with a 42-40 win over the Mogollon Mustangs in front of a packed house Sept. 21, keeping their undefeated season intact.

After crushing their last opponents by an average of 51 points, the Vikings narrowly claimed the win over the Mustangs.

“It was number one against number two in the state, Mogollon always gives us a good game,” Head Coach Jeff Brownlee said. “And we’ll probably always

give them a good game, and that’s what it turned out to be.”

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The Mustangs got on the board early in the game with back to back touchdowns and point-after attempts to move ahead of the Vikings within the first few minutes.

"They returned a kick on us and made a two point play and before we could even blink it was 8-0,” Brownlee said. “They then kicked to us and we threw a pass and it was picked-off and they returned that for a touchdown.”

After a successful two-point conversion, the Mustangs were up 16-0.

“But the kids stepped up, that’s how you figure out how tough your team is mentally,” Brownlee said.

The Vikings countered the Mustangs when Alex Garrett scored from 1-yard out and Chance Pearson made a 2-point conversion run to bring it to 16-8.

Pearson then scored on a 44-yard touchdown run with Kolby Payne running it in for the 2-point conversion to make it 16-16.

Mogollon came back and scored with a 2-point conversion to make it 24-16.

The final minutes of the second quarter included a Garrett 77-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, to bring the score to 24-22. That touchdown was followed by another Garrett touchdown when he ran it 43-yards followed by a Pearson 2-point conversion.

The Vikings went into the half leading 30-24.

The Vikings came out strong in the third quarter with another touchdown run and 2-point conversion to make it 38-24.

Pearson scored again at the top of the fourth to give the Vikings a comfortable lead of 42-24.

"Then the wheels didn’t fall off, but they sure wiggled a lot,” Brownlee said.

Mogollon capitalized on a kick return touchdown with 2-point conversion to bring it to 42-32, and another touchdown with 2-point conversion to bring the score 42-40.

A critical interception by Zain Grantham slowed the progress of the Mustangs.

“Grantham had a big interception in the third quarter which stopped the drive by Mogollon,” Brownlee said. “He made a big play. Mogollon was near our end zone and he came up with a big pick. It gave us the opportunity to get the ball and continue to run the ball and run the clock.”

Brownlee said penalties were a big issue for the Vikings in the fourth quarter.

“It seemed like every time we had a big play, we had a holding call or something that would bring us back and get us out of rhythm,” he said.

Brownlee said he felt good about the Vikings running game, but said the team struggled with their passing game.

“But the kids played outstanding, leading 42-24 and then hanging on and fighting all the way until the end, that was nice to see,” he said.

Brownlee said the Mogollon game was the first time the starters played all four quarters.

“I wish all the games were competitive like that, it would make a much better league when everyone is fighting week in and week out,” he said. “It’s good for both teams to get our here and play four quarters.”

The Vikings felt the loss of starter and state-ranked kicker David Lozano, who is out for the season with a broken foot sustained in a pick-up basketball game.

“You take our best kicker — probably the best kicker in the state — and we lose that,” Brownlee said “That’s a great weapon when he can pin the teams back and not only that but he can move the ball around on the field.”

Garrett ran the ball 23 times for 137 yards. Pearson carried the ball 23 times for 249 yards and Payne ran 10 times for 16 yards.

The Vikings have a 5-0 record, and next face Fredonia at Homecoming Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. Williams will play a Lynx squad coming off a 55-6 league loss to Mogollon. Fredonia now stands at 1-3.

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