Tigers finish winless season in 55-8 loss to Vikings
The Middleton Vikings scored 21 points in the second quarter to go up 35-0 at halftime on their way to a 55-8 win over the Mountain Home Tigers Friday night at Tiger Field in Mountain Home.
Mountain Home received the ball to start the game and enjoyed early success offensively, moving the ball from their own 30 down to the Middleton 30 before a penalty pushed them back and forced a punt.
The Tiger defense started strong against Middleton's explosive double-wing offense, and it looked like they had stopped the Vikings on fourth down inside the Middleton 30 until a questionable spot by the officials gave the Vikings a first down at their 30. On the next play, Max Foote took off on a 70-yard romp for a score, as the Vikings went up 6-0 with 4:45 left in the first quarter.
Mountain Home went three-and-out on their next possession. The punt was blocked and recovered in the end zone by Middleton for a score. Victory Dias ran in the two-point conversion to make it 14-0, Vikings, with 2:40 left in the first quarter.
Mountain Home was unable to get any offensive threat going in the second quarter, while the Vikings scored on all three of its possessions to build a 35-0 lead at the half.
The Vikings added two more scores in the third quarter to up the lead to 48-0 and stretched it to 55-0 with a score in the fourth quarter.
Mountain Home finally got its offense going in the fourth. Michael Daniels accounted for 68 of the 69 yards on the seven-play drive, Ben Ceccarelli taking it the final yard for the score. Daniels ran in the two-point conversion to make it 55-8 with 4:16 left in the game.
Zach Young came up with a Middleton fumble on the Vikings' next possession, but Mountain Home was unable to move the ball and gave it back over on downs. The Vikings then ran out the clock for the win.
Mountain Home Tiger head football coach Aaron Rodney said the performance by Middleton against his team stressed the importance of the weight room.
"The bottom line is a big result of this is and I tell the kids that what you see out there is three years in the weight room -- that's the difference between teams like Middleton, Skyview and Columbia and us," the coach said. "I think a lot of the kids see the importance of it now, of getting in there. With that double wing that Middleton runs, you stop them with strength, because if you don't have the strength, they'll push you around. You stop them with strength, which we didn't have."
In the off season, the Tigers need "to do a better job of making some significant gains in the weight room and be able to play with those teams," the coach added.
Looking back at last week's game, Rodney said his team never gave up and kept playing hard, "but we just were no match for a team like (Middleton)."
The Tigers rushed the ball 34 times for 109 yards. Ryan Eckstrom led the Tiger ground game with 73 yards on 15 rushes. Michael Daniels rushed nine times for 59 yards.
Tanner Sessions had one yard on one carry, Jake Ryan had one yard on three rushes and Ben Ceccarelli had minus 25 yards and a touchdown on six carries. Ceccarelli completed four of eight passes for 41 yards.
Jose Rodriguez caught one pass for 15 yards, Levi Abrahamson and Tanner Sessions both had nine-yard catches and Michael Daniels caught one pass for eight yards.
Ten different Middleton players rushed 52 times for 428 yards against the Tigers.
The Vikings went to the air just twice and completed one of them for an 11-yard touchdown.
Defensively, Tanner Sessions had six tackles to lead the Tigers.
Jared Cantrell, Jose Rodriguez and Ryan Eckstrom were in on five tackles, Solomon Chung-Hee and Malik Whitfield were in on four. Chung-Hee blocked an extra point. Jake Ryan, Zach Young and Jamie Martinez each had three tackles. Young recovered a fumble. Christan Riedel had two tackles, and Danny Brescia and Malcolm Freer each had one.
The Tigers end the season 0-8 in conference and 0-9 overall. Middleton improved to 8-1 on the season and 8-0 in conference. The Vikings host the District IV runner-up this week in the quarter-final round of the 4A state playoffs.