FOOTBALL: Vikings conquer Trailblazer territory, remain undefeated

The Kingsburg Vikings beat the Golden West Trailblazers to add another game to their undefeated record

VISALIA – The Kingsburg Vikings came, saw and conquered during their game against the Golden West Trailblazers. Scoring three touchdowns in the first half, the Vikings came to pillage and left with a plunder of 41 points to Golden West’s 10.

With three touchdowns in the first half and only ten points allowed, Kingsburg (4-0) dominated quickly on both offense and defense. On Thursday, Sept. 8, the offense marched down the field, blitzing behind Golden West’s (1-3) defensive line and when Golden West took the ball, they met Kingsburg’s defensive line as if it were a brick wall.

“I’m very happy with the defense,” Kingsburg head coach David Wilson said. “We were very well prepared and they’ve kind of carried us all year.”

Wilson also believes Golden West played well and were a formidable opponent for his team. He believed it was a tough challenge for his offense to work against. Quarterback Ethan Winslow played well, getting the ball to a number of his teammates including Trace Jackson, Conner McFall and Wyatt Boyd. Running back Trace Jackson pounded the rock and made his way through, around and over the Golden West defense until Wilson put in his second string in the fourth quarter.

“We always try to get guys in the game. It wasn’t a knock on [Golden West],” Wilson said. “I wanted to see if I could get my [second string] a touchdown.”

The second string didn’t quite make that last touchdown in the fourth quarter after a penalty that cost them 15 yards, pushing them from the 3 yardline back to the 19. With 30 seconds left, the Vikings chose to take a knee and run out the clock.

The Vikings came in with an undefeated record. Both teams had previously faced Paso Robles and Dinuba this season. While both teams beat Paso Robles, only Kingsburg defeated Dinuba. The Trailblazers had a rough game ahead of them, facing a more dominant team during their first season with their new head coach, Travis Anderson.

“It’s tough to get a new program going,” Anderson said. “We played a really tough schedule and it’s good for our kids to see that level of competition.”

It seemed as if the Trailblazers would never put a point on the board after the Vikings’ two touchdowns in the first quarter. Lucky for Golden West, Kingsburg bungled a snap for a punt early in the second quarter, and the Trailblazers got the ball on the Kingsburg 13. Kingsburg defense held, and Golden West kicked a field goal on fourth down.

Their only other score came from a Kingsburg fumble that was run 85 yards down field by defensive back Jeffrey Weldon. The sudden turnover and touchdown brought energy back to the previously downtrodden Trailblazers for the second half.

Like Wilson, Anderson said he was proud of his defense in particular and was happy to see that some of the young running backs are making plays. With a bye-week coming up, he plans to work on the fundamentals with his team to make sure they really have the details of the plays down. He also hopes the rest will help his team get over some minor injuries.

Both coaches agreed that although the heat was intense and they did their best to avoid it with early or late practices, in the end, the players grew up dealing with heat in the summer and early fall and are fairly acclimated to the conditions.

“We had to practice at 6 a.m. this week,” Anderson explained of the excessive heat in the Central Valley. “We didn’t get to celebrate the three-day weekend. That was definitely tough for our kids.”

After their bye-week, Golden West will play their final non-league game at Tehachapi on Sept. 23. After that, the work of league play for the young program and new head coach will begin.

“It’s hard to get a win,” Wilson said. “You always celebrate wins, it doesn’t matter if you’re undefeated.”

Kingsburg also has a bye-week next week, then will host Tulare Union at home on Sept. 23 for their final non-league game. They will be looking to enter league play undefeated.

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