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VINTON — It was one of those nights.

Despite a big statistical advantage Friday, the Vinton-Shellsburg Vikings dropped their 2020 football season opener to Benton Community, 28-21, as the Bobcats took full advantage of one of the biggest numbers of the night: mistakes.

On the first play from scrimmage, junior Max Vasquez took off left tackle and put the Benton defense in the rear view mirror for a 70-yard touchdown, only to have it nullified by a penalty on the Benton five. The Vikes were able to drive to the ‘Cats’ nine, but had to settle for a Jesse Pladsen 27-yard field goal to take a quick 3-0 lead.

Benton immediately came back to to take the lead when sophomore Sam Wallace returned the ensuing kick-off 84 yards for a touchdown, only to have the Vikings say “Hold my Gatorade.”

John Engler juggled the next ensuing kick-off, picked it up at the 10, broke to his right and went 90 yards to end zone…only to have the TD taken away by a block in the back at midfield. It was one of those nights.

The ‘Cats would lead 21-10 at the half and 28-10 going into the fourth. The Vikings tried to rally, but came up short.

The Vikings out-gained Benton 405 to 271 and quarterback Brooks Erickson led the way. The senior signal-caller was 15 for 24 passing for 176 yards and rushed 14 times for 119, giving him 295 yards in total offense. Vasquez added another 112 on the ground on 12 carries. CJ Rickels caught five of Erickson’s passes for 118 yards.

But the Vikings were hampered by not only the penalties but by turnovers, giving up two interceptions, two fumbles and mishandling pooched kick-off that gave the ball back to Benton.

The Vikings will be back in action this Friday night at the Karr Athletic Complex as they host the Waterloo Columbus Sailors in a varsity-only card; kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.



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