Football: Vikings-Comets battle for conference title

Nov 8th, 2013 @ 7:14 am | Author: Mark Potts, Sports Information Director
What: Viking football vs Mayville State
When: 1 p.m., Saturday
Where: Shelly Ellig Field at Lokken Stadium (VCSU)
Why you should go: The winner will earn a share of the NSAA conference title
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A share of the conference title is on the line Saturday when the Viking football team hosts Mayville State University.

Both teams enter with a 2-1 record in the North Star Athletic Association, and the winner will share the conference title with University of Jamestown (3-1). Valley City State (4-4 overall) is technically seeking its third straight conference title after winning the DAC title in 2011 and the A.I.I. title in 2012.

Mayville State (6-3 overall) is seeking its first conference crown since 1990.

Valley City and Mayville played earlier this season in Mayville in a non-conference matchup. The Comets came away with a 14-9 victory, their first win over VCSU since 1998.

Saturday is the 68th meeting between the two football programs. The Vikings lead the all-time series with Mayville 52-15, and are 16-1 against Mayville since 1998.

Today's game also marks the final home game for Valley City State and its nine seniors: Derek Elliott, James Gaynor, Fontayne Fuga, Chris Cross, Jake Thurston, Dwanye Fearon, Taylor Carvalho, Jake Schauer and Matt Craft. Eight of the nine seniors are starters, and all have played significant roles during their time at VCSU.

Senior running back Derek Elliott is in line to break or tie several different school records today, including the single season rushing record and single season rushing touchdown record.

In the first meeting this season, Mayville won with a strong defense and a solid rushing offense. Behind its option attack, Mayville racked up 283 rushing yards against VCSU back on Oct. 12. Dominic Bradley and Jerril Jenkins both rushed for 126 yards, and Bradley found the end zone twice. Mayville's defense is ranked Top 10 in the nation in seven different categories, including No. 2 in pass defense per game (139.7 yards) and No. 6 in total defense per game (283.9 yards).

Valley City State's defense is ranked No. 6 in pass defense per game (146.3 yards) and the Viking offense ranks No. 16 in pass efficiency and No. 23 in rushing offense per game (197.5 yards).

Valley City State head coach Dennis McCulloch is in his 17th season at the helm of the Viking program. He has a career record of 96-74 and has won four conference titles and made three NAIA playoff appearances.

Mayville State head coach Derek Schlieve is in his third season and has a career record of 15-15.