Last Friday night was more than a chance to end the season on a high note when the Vikings took to the field to host visiting Sutherlin. After being chewed up by the Bulldogs on Senior Night for the past two seasons, 60-16 in 2018 and then 56-18 in 2019, Friday’s rematch was really more of an opus for Siuslaw and its seniors, who orchestrated a mounting crescendo a quarter-note at a time.
In addition to seniors Elijah Blankenship at quarterback, receiver Skyler Loomis and linemen Christian Newlan and Michael Shick (a newcomer this season) all getting their last chance to serve up a hot bowl of redemption to the Bulldogs, juniors Braydon Thornton and Camp Lacouture — both of whom we freshmen during the 2018 drubbing — were keen on hitting a few high notes of their own against the Bulldogs.
Though the Vikings were first to score on an 11-yard run from Lacouture and a conversion from Loomis less than two minutes into the game, Sutherlin was able to answer back on its possession, connecting on a 57-yard bomb. However, the conversion attempt failed, leaving Siuslaw ahead 8-6. The Vikings again scored just two minutes later, when Blankenship found Thornton on a 25-yard pass. Lacouture kicked for the extra point and Siuslaw moved ahead 15-6.
With just over two minutes remaining in the quarter, Sutherlin managed a 29-yard scamper into the end zone but, once again, Siuslaw’s defense denied the conversion attempt, leaving the Bulldogs trailing 15-12.
While on the surface it appeared the game was going to be a grinder, the Bulldogs ran out of meat at that point and never saw the end zone for the remainder of the game. Lacouture scored for the Viks once more in the quarter, slipping past the Sutherlin defense on a 2-yard run, followed by the conversion from Loomis to make it 23-12 heading into the second quarter.
For the rest of the game, it was all Vikings.
Siuslaw’s defense kept the Bulldogs on a short leash, allowing them only a few sniffs of the end zone but never across it. Sutherlin turned the ball over on downs during all three of its second-half possessions while Siuslaw continued to run the board. Thornton made three more touchdowns in the game, on runs of 8 yards and 55 yards, as well as a 3-yard pass reception from Blankenship, who also scored the conversion.
The Viks also got conversions from Rhys Fleming and Loomis.
Ahead 47-12 entering the fourth quarter, a running clock was initiated as part of the 35-point Mercy Rule. Still, Siuslaw was able to score one more time when Isaac Garza snagged a 2-yard pass from Blankenship, followed by the PAT from Lacouture less than two minutes into the quarter.
Siuslaw held Sutherlin scoreless for the next 10 minutes and, ultimately, a lopsided 54-12 win.
From the pocket, Blankenship had 197 yards passing, including 3 touchdowns. In rushing, Lacouture had 12 carries for 119 yards and 2 touchdowns; Thornton had 3 carries for 61 yards and 2 TDs; Loomis had 8 carries for 40 yards.
Thornton led all receiving with 7 catches for 91 yards and 2 TDs; Fleming had 44 yards on 2 receptions; Garza had 3 catches for 38 yards and 1 TD; and Lacouture had 20 yards on 2 receptions.
Beau Erickson also had a pass interception for the Vikings.
That same night, Siuslaw’s cheerleading squad said goodbye to the team’s only senior this year, Adria Sandusky.
The Vikings finished the season at 3-3, with wins against Harrisburg, Sisters and Sutherlin; losses were to La Pine, Santiam Christian and Junction City.