FB: Vikes Season Opener Preview
Aug 28th, 2012 @ 6:21 pm | Author: Viking Sports Admin
The 17th ranked Vikings open their season on the road versus the 8th ranked team in the NAIA, Morningside College, in Sioux City Iowa this Thursday at 7:00 pm. The Vikes are coming off of an outstanding 2011 season where they finished 9-2 overall and 6-0 in the DAC, where they were crowned Conference Champions. After posting nine straight victories, the Vikings finished the regular season ranked #12 in the country. Head Coach Dennis McCulloch begins his 19th year at Valley City State and his 16th as the head football coach.
Offensively the Vikings have some big shoes to fill to build on the success of last year's team, most notably wide receiver LeTheo Proctor and running back A.J. Pfiefer. The Vikings return two offensive players named to the preseason All American list by Beyond Sports Network. Senior TE Ken Eliacin was named to the first team and Senior QB Tommy Zinke was named to the third team. JR RB Derek Elliott will also be a key factor for the Vikings offense this season.
Defensively, the Vikings return JR LB Jake Thurston who was named to the preseason All American list by Beyond Sports Network to the second team. The Vikes will look to SR DL Garret Jackson and SR LB Alex Hooey to use their experience to fill the leadership roles on the team. They will also look to SO LB Josh Hooey and JR DL Dwayne Fearon to step up and make big plays for the Vikes.
The Vikings will have their hands full with the Morningside Mustangs as they return 12 starters from a team that posted a 9-2 record last season and won the Great Plains Athletic Conference championship en route to an eighth consecutive post-season appearance in the NAIA Championship Series. Last season the Mustangs ranked #3 in Division I in Rushing Defense per Game (79.100) and #5 in Division I in Opp 3rd Down Conv. (25.300). The Mustangs also return SR DB Colby Henderson who ranked #1 in Division I in Total Interceptions (11) and #2 in Division I in Interceptions per game (1.000) in 2011.
Head coach McCulloch is very confident in this year's team and is looking forward to this week's competition. 'It is very important for our guys to go out and play well, as an independent there is no preseason. Every game matters for our post season hopes.' said McCulloch.