The MVC men’s football team lost this weekend to University of Saint Francis (Indiana) Cougars in the first round of the NAIA national tournament, 28 to 14. The loss meant the end of what has been a great season for the Vikings.
After an early score by St Francis, the Vikings responded with an 11-yard scamper buy Bruce Reyes to tie the game up with 4:30 left in the first quarter. St Francis would score again on a 7-yard run to take a one touchdown lead into the halftime break.
The Vikings came out the break with their motors in gear and quickly tied the game up with Chris Owens catching an 8-yard touchdown from quarterback Bruce Reyes. For the rest of the third quarter, both teams could not find the end zone, setting up the fourth quarter to decide the game.
An interception thrown by Reyes gave the Cougars the ball on the Vikings 40-yard line. The Vikings defense would then give up a 34-yard pass play. That play would eventually set up the go-ahead score with a 2-yard run by USF.
MVC would drive the field, reaching the goal line, but would not score after two critical drop passes both in the end zone. The Vikings went the rest of the game without scoring after the Cougars scored again to take a two-touchdown lead. The Vikings finished the season with 9 wins and 2 losses. The Vikings won the conference title, but the loss against St. Francis eliminated them from the play-offs for the national division title.
“We just didn’t make enough plays,” said head Coach Paul Troth about the team’s performance on Saturday.
Troth said he was pleased with their performance in conference and was really happy they won it, especially for the seniors who had invest a lot of time for the reward of a conference title.
He went on to talk about losing his seniors and how the team would be leaning on some of the young guys to step up next season, fill these roles, and make plays.