Saturday, March 9, 2013
It was a beautiful day in Bellingham, the temp was in the mid-50’s, the sun was out, there was a gentle breeze blowing, and the Chuckanut Mountains were providing an amazing backdrop to the Wade King Rec Center turf field. There were hundreds of people lining the field for the Vikings first home game since the NCRC opener back on January 26th. Road trips to Monmouth and Eugene, OR, a short trip to Seattle to play Central, and finally, the grinding trip to Lewiston, Idaho, had left the boys eager to get back to the friendly confines of the WWU campus.
The boys were glad to be home and knew that a win against Boise State would clinch the West Division crown of the NCRC and assure themselves a first round bye in the NCRC playoffs April 6-7, 2013. Boise State, in their first year in the NCRC, came into the match winless in four previous games. The closest they’d come to tasting victory was a 36-39 loss to Oregon, at home, the previous weekend.
The Vikings wanted to strike early and not give the Broncos any hope or glimmer of a chance at a win in Bellingham. And strike early they did, second row Louie Henson took a pass about ten yards out and made his way into goal and touched the ball down for the first try but there was a bit of confusion on the part of the referee who didn’t initially award a try.
The referee didn’t realize that the temporary goal posts were set up on the end line of the in goal area and initially penalized Henson for failure to release the ball when tackled, thinking Henson was about five yards short of pay dirt. Once the not-so-standard set-up of the field was pointed out to the referee, he quickly amended his call and awarded the try. Nick Solimano then kicked the first of his 11 conversions on the day, and the Vikings were ahead 7-0 and on their way to a 94-7 victory.
The Vikings worked their way to a 47-0 half-time lead and had the match well in hand when the Broncos gave them a back handed wake-up call with the second half kick-off. The Broncos went down and gathered the ball and were able to make their way all the way down and score before Western even knew what happened. After the conversion the Broncos were feeling it and put up a spirited defense for the next ten minutes or so before the Vikings began what would be another 47 point onslaught in the second half.
Leading the day for the Vikings in the score book was Team Captain Matt Jensen, who had a career day, scoring 5 trys. Gio Trujillo had a hat trick (3 trys) to add to his season total. Also scoring were Kevin Kinloch and Nate Muir with two trys each. Robert Boenish, Preston Mo, and Henson each had one try. So the Vikes tallied 15 trys on the day and Mr. Solimano converted on 11 of them…not a bad day’s work.
It won’t be so easy for Western this coming weekend as the Eastern Washington University club is coming to town for this Saturday’s meeting on the Wade King turf field. Eastern is in the driver’s seat of the NCRC East Division and can lock up their first place finish, and a bye in the first round of the playoffs, with a win over the Vikings. The Eagles are a strong squad and feature the all time leading scorer in NCRC history in no. 8, Eric Populus. Populus has scored 13 trys so far this season and kicked a bunch of conversions and penalties to lead the league in scoring with 93 points.
Saturday should be very interesting….this should be a good one and you should be there for the 1:00 pm kick-off. Lots of other folks will be…