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Vikes wrangle Cowboys in conference matchup Sept. 7

The Vikings defense completely shuts down the Cowboys, never giving up a single point all game. David Yankus/WGCN

The Vikings defense completely shuts down the Cowboys, never giving up a single point all game. David Yankus/WGCN

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - On Sept. 7 the Williams High School (WHS) football team opened its conference schedule with a 34-0 shutout win against Camp Verde at home. The Vikings continue their strong start to the season now running their overall record to an unblemished 3-0.

This decisive victory over the Camp Verde Cowboys follows last week's big 28-7 road win over the Chino Valley Cougars, a higher division opponent.

"We're still making some fundamental mistakes but every week we seem to get a little better," said Jeff Brownlee, WHS head football coach. "Our blocking schemes improve, our running lanes improve, and overall our defense is just carrying our football team right now. Not that we're not doing that well on offense, because we are, but defensively we have a tough football team."

Against Camp Verde, the Vikings once again scored on their opening drive, as they have done every game so far this season. Joaquin Salaz capped off the Vikings first possession with a 34-yard touchdown run, PAT (point after touchdown) good. Later in the first quarter Adrian Solano scored on a seven-yard touchdown run, PAT no good.

The second quarter saw more solid offense, and defense, from the WHS varsity football squad. Quarterback Jeff Brownlee scored on a one-yard touchdown run, PAT no good. Later Brownlee threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Solano, two-point conversion failed. The Vikes were halfway to their shutout, up 25-0 at the break.

Both teams were held scoreless in the third quarter, although WHS was in the red zone at the Camp Verde five-yard line when Brownlee threw an untimely interception resulting in a missed scoring opportunity. The WHS defense held though, and would eventually get the ball back with no points surrendered off of the turnover.

Solano scores again, this time on a 15-yard rush in the fourth quarter, PAT good. The final points of the game came on a safety when Vikings defender Isaiah Greer sacked the Cowboys quarterback in the end zone after a bad snap.

"Our defense played well, they really rose to the occasion. The kids are just so quick and they flew to the ball so well that they caused Camp Verde all sorts of trouble in their rushing game and their passing game," the head coach said. "Offensively we did very well too."

Quarterback Brownlee went 11-18 for 151 yards passing with two touchdowns (one rushing) and one interception. Salaz had 15 rushes for 173 yards and a touchdown. Coty Baxter had seven rushes for 82 yards. Solano had six rushes for 62 yards and two touchdowns, as well as six receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown. Baxter led the team with 10 tackles (seven solo) and had one fumble recovery.

"Something we're still trying to work on is special teams. Our PATs are going well in practice, but then in the game we missed two of them, one was because of a bad snap though, not counting the failed two-point conversion attempt. Our PAT game is coming around, Jorge Martinez is really doing a good job for us kicking the ball," Brownlee said, adding they also need to put in work on punt returns as well because that was a noticeable weakness he felt.

In the win against the Chino Valley Cougars on Aug. 31 WHS quarterback Brownlee went 7-11 for 111 yards passing with two touchdowns. Salaz had seven rushes for 94 yards and a touchdown. Oscar Nunez and Kohl Nixon each had a receiving touchdown. Defensively, Salaz had two interceptions and Brownlee had one interception returned for a touchdown while playing defensive end after a hit on the Chino Valley quarterback by defensive end Kohl Nixon flung the ball into the air. Nixon recorded two sacks and Kristian Holmes recorded one sack. Baxter led the team with five solo tackles.

The Vikings next game is a home matchup against Valley Sanders on Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. The balanced attack of the WHS offense and consistent play of the stingy defense needs to continue to keep the winning streak alive.

"We want to learn to keep the intensity up, no matter if you play a very strong opponent or maybe an opponent who's not as strong," said Brownlee. "So we have to make sure that we have a real reality check and we don't get overconfident. We have to play all the teams to our ability, and stay at a high-consistency level and not drop down."

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