Vikings Stay Undefeated Behind Record Breaking Performance

Bobby Colla

Staff Writer

Hudson Valley’s Men’s Football team, ranked 20th in the nation, improved to a 5-0 start with a 26-20 win over East Coast Prep that came down to the final seconds on Friday.

“We knew [East Coast Prep] was going to be a tough opponent coming in because they’ve beaten some good opponents this year,” said Head Coach Mike Muehling. “The team stepped up and played a good game.”

The Vikings received a lift from a record breaking performance by sophomore defensive end Ashton Mackenzie. His 5.5 sacks are the most ever in a game by a Hudson Valley football player.

“I thought McKenzie played tremendous,” said Muehling. “If he can come off the edge like that every game, a lot of teams are going to have a tough time blocking him.”

McKenzie also had an interception, similar to one he had just two weeks previous. “I just read the tackle and quarterback and made a play on the ball,” McKenzie said.

But despite Mackenzie’s efforts, the game still came down to the wire.

With just 11 seconds to go, Hudson Valley safety Chandler Foster intercepted a pass from East Coast Prep’s quarterback Tanner Kingsley to seal the Vikings’ win.

“I had gotten beat earlier in the game,” said Foster. “I knew I needed to make a play on the ball, and I did.”

Foster also had a big hit earlier in the game. East Coast Prep wide receiver Cade Klayton was attempting to evade a tackle, when Foster came in to make an apparent clean hit on him. Klayton was down on the field for more than five minutes.

“Until I made that hit, I wasn’t into the flow of the game,” said Foster. “After that hit I felt untouchable. It just got me pumped.”

“This was a great win,” said Foster. “Everyone did their job.”

The Hudson Valley defense gave up just 27 yards rushing and had a total of 11 sacks and 20 tackles for loss. They intercepted East Coast Prep four times on the game

McKenzie said that the game was a team effort and that the team now has momentum that they didn’t at this point last season. The Vikings went just 2-7 and were 1-4 after five games last year.

Kevin Melder led the team with 11 tackles.

The Vikings offense was also great on Saturday, moving the ball with a balanced attack. They had 208 rushing yards and 214 passing yards, for a total of 422 yards gained.

Wide receiver Antoin Montgomery put up big numbers for the Vikings. Montgomery had 5 catches for 125 yards and 2 touchdowns. This is better than his previous season totals from four games, which were 6 catches for 53 yards and 0 touchdowns.

Montgomery’s performance gives the Vikings an emerging weapon at receiver. So far this season, Chris Osterman has been the offense’s primary target with 23 catches for 447 yards and 3 touchdowns.

“Montgomery had a big game,” said Muehling. “He’s had some struggles this season, so it was good for his confidence and the team’s confidence.”

Montgomery’s first touchdown was a 75 yard scamper after catching a short pass from Hudson Valley quarterback Rafael Hidalgo.

Hidalgo completed 13 of 21 passes for 214 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also had a 53 rushing yards, including a 36 yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Hidalgo now has seven touchdowns for the season and only one interception. He has thrown for an average of 184.8 yards per game and added 23.6 yards rushing per game.

In addition to Hidalgo’s rushing, the Viking’s running back tandem has been leading the offense. They have run for 212 yards per game as a team, which ranks 10th in the nation. Tyler Gagnon leads the team with 444 rushing yards and Elijah Udoh has contributed over 300 yards.

Gagnon had 97 yards on 19 carries on Saturday and Udoh has 42 yards on eight carries.

The Vikings receivers helped the quarterback with some great catches and runs.

“Rafael had a few struggles,” said Muehling. “The receivers have been great, and helped him when he needed it.”

The Vikings also gave up all of the East Coast Prep’s 20 points in the second half and 14 of them in the fourth quarter. All three of the East Coast Prep touchdowns were on passes of 30 yards or more.

“The defense we play puts a lot of pressure on our secondary.” said Muehling. “[East Coast Prep] have some talented receivers that made some big plays.”

“We want to be a better second half team,” said Muehling. “We are going to do some more running to build our stamina.”

“We forced some turnovers, and other than a few big plays I think we are good defensively,” said Muehling. “Overall, we made plays when we needed to and got the win.”

Saturday’s win was their fourth in a row that was won by fewer than 6 points and was close until the end of the game.

The Vikings go for six straight to start the season, at Monroe on Saturday, Oct. 11 at 6:30 p.m.


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