Nov. 13, 2019 — Both the Viking and Sailor football seasons continued well into the November night lights for the first time in years this season, with Mapleton reaching the post season for the first time in nearly two decades.
For Siuslaw, it was the first November game since 2015, during long-time coach Tim Dodson’s final season.
And in the case of both teams, the play-offs ended on the road over this past weekend — Siuslaw at Hidden Valley and Mapleton at Camas Valley.
For Siuslaw, it was a particularly tough draw, with the Vikings taking on the undefeated Mustangs (10-0) during the first round of the 3A division playoffs last Friday night.
While senior runningback Hector Garcia had a breakout game with 176 yards on 33 carries, and sophomore quarterback Elijah Blankenship stepped into the recordbooks as Siuslaw’s unofficial (final numbers are still being tallied) all-time leader in single-season pass completions, it wasn’t quite enough to overcome the Mustangs’ 40-12 victory.
After Hidden Valley took a 6-0 lead following the first play of the game on a 47-yard pass from junior quarterback Sam Vidlak, the Viks’ Garcia answered at the top of the second quarter on a 3-yard scamper into the end zone that tied the game at 6-6.
The Mustangs then went on to score 20 unanswered points until, just 15 seconds before halftime, junior runningback Skyler Loomis broke through on a 2-yard run to score.
The Viks came up short on a conversion attempt and trailed 26-12 at the half.
The Mustangs then shut out Siuslaw in the second half, holding off goal-line threats from Garcia and Bankenship and taking advantage of Viking errors to secure the win and end Siuslaw’s first post-season bid in four years.
The next day, it was Mapleton’s turn to face a top-tier opponent in undefeated Camas Valley (8-0).
For Mapleton, it had been 17 years since practices had continued far enough into the season that practices required the field lights after the annual time change.
Ironically, Mapleton’s final game was played in broad daylight last Saturday, in a high-scoring battle with the Hornets that eventually eneded with the Sailors stung 86-50.
Mapleton finished with a 6-4 overall record and went 3-2 in league, ending with a No. 12 ranking in the state 1A division.
Final stats from Saturday’s game were unavailable at press time, but there will be a final season wrap-up for both teams in this Saturday’s sports section.