Story by Andrew Pulverenti, MVC Sports Information Director
The No. 4 ranked Missouri Valley College football team defeated Culver‐Stockton College in a Heart of America Athletic Conference matchup Saturday afternoon, Sept. 29, at Gregg‐Mitchell Field 47‐7.
The Viking special teams produced the game’s first points, thanks to a blocked punt by Sophomore Linebacker Dominique McDonald (Houston, Texas), which resulted in a safety early in the first quarter, making the score 2‐0. On the ensuing free kick, Senior Defensive Back LaQuentin Black (Oklahoma City, Okla.) would take the return back to the Culver 38‐yard line. The Viking’s would drive to the Culver 13‐yard line, and settle for a Senior Kicker Fabian Miramontes (Merced, Calif.) 30‐yard field goal, to make the score 5‐0 midway through the first quarter.
The Viking defense forced another punt by Culver, and again, the Vikings scored more points on special teams, as Junior Defensive Back Tyler Davis (St. Louis, Mo.) would return the punt 65‐yards for a touchdown, to make the score 12‐0 late inthe first quarter. Culver would take their next possession and move to the MVC 33‐yard line, but the Viking defense forced a turnover‐on‐downs, early in the second quarter. On the second play of the ensuing Viking drive, Junior Running Back Keith O’Neal (Beaumont, Texas) would take a handoff and run 72‐yards for a touchdown, giving MVC a 19‐0 lead.
The next Culver possession would result in another turnover, this time an interception by Senior Linebacker DeMarcus Blackmon (Houston, Texas) near midfield. The Culver defense came up with a stop, keeping the Viking’s from converting a fourth down attempt. Once again, the Viking defense would force Culver into another punt, and set up Missouri Valley for another touchdown drive. This time the Vikings would drive 70‐yards in six plays, capped off by a Senior Quarterback Taylor Beasley (Lake Howell, Fla.) to Junior Wide Receiver Alex Benson (Rochester, Minn.) 27‐yard touchdown reception, giving the Vikings a 26‐0 advantage.
The following Culver drive would once again end in a turnover, this time an interception by Davis at the MVC 47‐yard line. The turnover would eventually lead to a second Miramontes field goal, this one from 33‐yards out, extending the MVC lead to 29‐0. The Viking defense would come up with another turnover on Culver’s ensuing possession, this time a fumble recovery by Senior Defensive Lineman Siosaia Mataele (San Mateo, Calif.) at the Culver 30‐yard line. It took just two plays for MVC to find the end zone again, thanks to a Beasley to Freshman Wide Receiver Mikquel Johnson (St. Louis, Mo.) 14‐yard touchdown reception, giving the Vikings a 33‐0 lead.
The Vikings would tack on one more first half score, late in the second quarter, on a Senior Running Back LaNorris Dukes (Little Rock, Ark.) two‐yard touchdown run, sending the game into the halftime break at 40‐0 in favor of MVC.
In the second half, the Vikings would find the end zone only once, and again it was on a special teams play. The second blocked punt of the game, this time by Junior Linebacker Rahfee McClee (Orlando, Fla.), was recovered in the end zone by Junior Linebacker Andrew Huhman (Farmington, Mo.), giving MVC a 47‐0 lead. Culver would score their loan touchdown of the ball game after a 17‐play, 90‐yard drive midway through the fourth quarter, ending the scoring at 47‐7. Offensively, the Vikings produced 407 yards, 213 yards rushing and 194 yards passing. Beasley finished 14 of 21 passing for 190 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. O’Neal ran for 104 yards on just 11 carries with one touchdown. Senior Running Back Zavier Steward (Minneapolis, Minn.) led the Vikings in receptions with four catches for 27 yards. In all, eight Vikings made a reception in the game.
Defensively the Vikings limited Culver to just 167 yards of total offense, and just 11 total yards rushing. Leading the way defensively for MVC were Freshman Linebacker Isaac Reed (Lonedell, Mo.) and Sophomore Defensive Lineman Ty Phillips (East St. Louis, Ill.) with six tackles apiece. Phillips also finished with two sacks and four tackles for loss. Senior Linebacker Phil Kraft (Arnold, Mo.), McClee, and Freshman Defensive Lineman Taylor Moore (Springfield, Mo.) all had one sack apiece in the game for Missouri Valley.
On special teams, Miramontes connected on all six PAT’s and two field goals, while Sophomore Punter Jason Mayden (Carrollton, Mo.) averaged 45‐yards per punt, with a long of 51‐yards.
The Vikings improve to 5‐0 overall and 4‐0 in HAAC play with the win, while Culver falls to 0‐5 overall and in HAAC play.
The Vikings have a week off, as their next game will be Homecoming Saturday, Oct. 13, hosting Benedictine College at Gregg‐Mitchell Field with a 2 p.m. kickoff.