Vikings win Knowlton Kickoff Classic 42-39

The Steve Bell era started off on a high note as the Vikings narrowly defeated the Mount St. Joseph Lions 42-39.
The first steps of the era started off jumbled as the Vikings trailed 10-0 with 11:15 to go in the first period.
Senior football captain Sam Frasco blamed the jitters.
“I think in the beginning it was a bit of nerves, after that once we got in the mojo, we could show what we could do,” Frasco said.
The Vikings found their “mojo” when they scored a touchdown with 7 seconds left to go in the first, bringing them back within striking distance, 10-7.
The Vikings then took off in the second period after a 92 yard march down field in 8 plays, boosting the confidence of the Vikings.
“Once we had that 98 yard drive, we knew that we could do that every drive. We just got stay within ourselves and stay together and we could do it,” Frasco said.
The Vikings then went on to score two touchdowns to the Lions’ one, leading 28-17 in the first half of the game.
Bell was pleased at how the team adjusted to the Lions.
“I think a lot of it was adjusts to them, they run well, they were fast, and they were hitting us a bit quicker than we’d be hit yet,” Bell said. “It took a little time to adjust.”
As strong as they were in the second, the Vikings charged at the end zone, scoring a touchdown in the first 3 minutes of the third.
For all their strength, the Vikings offense stagnated, unable to get an offense really going for the rest of the game.
Frasco and Bell mirrored each other’s responses as to the offense stagnation saying, “we were just shooting ourselves in the foot,” referring to the two Vikings drives killed by holding penalties.
The Lions were able to take advantage, turning an 11 point deficit into a four point battle 31-35.
A touchdown with 3:51 left provided some extra room to breathe for the Vikings to lead 42-31 in the third period.
The teams dueled back and forth with the Vikings defense making huge stops to keep the Lions from scoring until 6:03 were left in the fourth. One short two point play later and the Lions were only down by one field goal 42-39.
An almost fatal sack by the Lions led to them having the possession again with 2:20 left.
It was thanks to the actions of the Vikings defense they were able to force a turnover on downs and win the game.
“We never let them get a chance to get moving in that last 2 minutes, and that’s so critical,” Bell said.
Bell acknowledged the close win was much better than winning by a landslide.
“What a game to start out with,” Bell. “I would have liked to win 42 to nothing but I think this shows more character than something like that.”
The Vikings will continue on to play the Albion College Britons next week and will begin preparations as soon as they can.
“We’ll get to that tomorrow,” Bell said. “We’ll enjoy this until tomorrow morning and then we’ll get after those guys {Albion College} and kind of prepare for them like we do for everybody.”
Some of the things the Vikings hope to fix is their offense that stagnated during the third and fourth periods. Frasco believes that while the offense tonight did well the first half, the second half shows the Vikings have  more room for improvement.
“We’re kind of scratching the surface right now,” Frasco said. “Hopefully we get in mid-season form soon and then we can just go from there.”