VINTON - Jay Hoskey expected the hometown Vikings to be the power football team Friday night, however, it was his South Tama Trojans that dominated the trenches and the contest.
South Tama came out and proved it can play power football, too, right from the opening minutes. The Trojans (2-0) gained more than 400 yards offensively and held the Vikings (1-1) to 208 yards of offense. The Trojans routed the Vikings 40-14.
"We looked 100 percent better, I thought," Hoskey, STC head coach, said comparing the Trojans' first two games. "Our lines on both side of the ball did a good job and Kyle Stephenson ran like we expect him to. He cranked it up a notch this week and that looks like the type of kid who can be an all-stater."
South Tama senior Kyle Stephenson breaks away from a Vinton-Shellsburg defender before running free to the end zone for a 52-yard touchdown run. Stephenson led the Trojans with 230 yards on the ground and five touchdowns as they crushed the Vikings 40-14 on Friday.
Stephenson, STC senior running back, knew none of his teammates had beaten the Vikings, who beat this year's senior class during the three previous years. He led his team to victory as he carried the ball 30 times for 230 yards and five touchdowns.
"They beat us the last three years and we finally got them tonight," Stephenson said. "We got over the hump. It's amazing right now. I can't even describe it."
Not only did the Trojans beat Vinton-Shellsburg; they crushed them Friday. It started with the battle in the trenches and the Trojans won the battle on both sides of the ball during the opening possessions, setting the tone for the contest.
South Tama held the Vikings to six plays and 20 yards of offense on their opening drive. After a touchback on the punt, STC drove 80 yards in 16 plays for a touchdown. Only one play was more than nine yards and that was a pass from senior Sam Kuhter to senior Levi Kaufman. Stephenson got the Trojans on the scoreboard with the first of his five touchdowns. He scored on a four-yard run. The drive ate up 7:07 of the clock.
"That was a big drive for momentum early in the game," Hoskey said. "It probably sent a statement that we are tougher than expected."
Following the touchdown, STC shutdown the Vikings' drive after three plays and minus-two yards. South Tama started its drive with a 28-yard pass from Kuhter to senior Eric Lux. Two plays later, Lux powered through the Vikings' defense for a four-yard touchdown, giving STC a 13-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The Trojans scored another touchdown after a quick Vikings' drive and punt. Kuhter broke a 57-yard run that nearly scored a touchdown. Stephenson found the end zone on the next play, which was on a one-yard run.
"We ran some under-the-center offense and some other things than we had run before," Hoskey said. "We had to get that physical mentality, so we got in the "I" formation, which is a downhill, run-at-you offense. It suited us properly and (Vinton) may not have been ready for it."
Later in the second quarter, there were three fumbles during a five-play span. Vinton-Shellsburg fumbled on a run on its own 38-yard line. On the following play, Kuhter fumbled a pitch during an option run and the Vikings recovered. Three plays later, the Vikings fumbled again. Junior Garrett Hoskey sacked the Vikings' quarterback and forced the fumble, which was scooped up by senior Vinny Lasley.
Senior Austin Lowe and Lasley each led the Trojans on defense with seven tackles. As a team, STC recorded 10 tackles for loss during Friday's game.
"We made some good defensive plays," Hoskey said. "We had more tackles for loss than I think we've had for a long time. Our defensive coaches did a great job this week. They deciphered the other team's offense and had them snuffed up. Coach (Nate) Doran was calling the plays and he knew what was going on. Our kids knew, too. They felt really well prepared. My hats go off to those guys."
South Tama scored its final touchdown of the half two plays after the fumble recovery. Stephenson weaved through the Vikings' defense and covered more yards across the field than down it on a 32-yard touchdown run.
The Vikings' offense showed signs of life with its last drive of the first half, when they totaled half of its first-half yardage. They continued in the second half with a nine-play, 65-yard touchdown drive. A four-yard touchdown pass on fourth down finished the drive.
"They did get one and it gave them a little bit of momentum," Hoskey said. "Then we come back and drive right away. Kyle breaks a big play on third down and we're in the end zone. That answered them and stopped any momentum they had."
South Tama answered with a score of its own, avoiding any momentum shift in the contest. Stephenson scored his fourth touchdown after sprinting through the V-S defense for a 52-yard touchdown run.
"I finally broke one out," Stephenson said. "I hadn't had one until then, so I'm relieved I guess. I'm more happy that we got the big win."
His final score came with 5:29 remaining in the contest. Stephenson capped off a 12-play, 93-yard drive with a 29-yard touchdown run.
"We just kept going and never stopped," Stephenson said. "They scored one against us, but we bounced back on offense. That's the best I've ever seen our line play. There was a hole on every play. I loved it."
The Trojans will be back at home this week. They host Dallas Center-Grimes on Friday. The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Dallas Center-Grimes is 0-2 after losing to Adel 38-20 and at Norwalk 49-7.
"We're going to have to prepare for them," Hoskey said. "From what we've seen, they are more of a spread offense team. They have a really good back, too. We just have to prepare the same way we did this week. We just need to get some players healthy, too, and we'll be fine."