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Penalties costly, but Vikes victorious

MABTON - Nearly 200 yards in penalties stifled a strong start by the Mabton High School football team this past Friday night against visiting Lyle.

But, the Vikes put up all the offense they would need in the first quarter on their way to a 9-0 non-league victory over the Cougars.

"There are a lot of new guys on offense," Mabton Coach D.J. Search said of his 2004 crew.

Search said he has only three returning starters on offense and the rest are new faces.

Marco Zepeda recorded the first points of the season for the Vikings when he booted a 25-yard field goal. Mabton's second score came when senior quarterback Ryan Harris hooked up with Zepeda on a 39-yard bomb. Mabton couldn't convert on the extra point.

Harris finished his passing night 3-of-10 for 82 yards.

The Vikings racked up more than 200 yards on the ground. Ray Elizondo led Mabton with 65 yards on 10 touches. Eli Perez added 52 yards on eight carries. Harris picked up 48 off eight carries. Ramon Castillo rushed for 46 yards on 10 carries while Jovani Ochoa had three carries for 21 yards.

Search said the 16 penalties the Vikings picked up Friday night, which led to almost 200 lost yards, countered Mabton's offensive output. Search said that it seemed like any time Mabton would get a drive started, the Vikes would pick up a penalty that would set them back.

Defensively, Search was more than impressed with his team, especially since it was the first game of the year.

"They recognized a lot of things," said Search.

Search said he was impressed with how his players moved so quickly to where the ball was.

"No one had to make a tackle by themselves," said Search.

Search said the Cougars simply couldn't move the ball against Mabton's defense, which proved to be the difference in the game. Mabton's defense held the Cougars to just 95 yards rushing and 54 yards passing.

"We are more physical on defense than last year," said Search. "No one is afraid to make a hit."

Search said offensively Mabton will run more option plays this year and it is going to take his younger players more time to figure things out.

Mabton (0-0, 1-0) is going to have its hands full this coming Friday night at home in its league opener against Waterville. Waterville has won the Central Washington 'B' League title for the past several seasons. Search said he feels his Vikings are a more physical team than Waterville. However, Waterville brings to Mabton some experience, especially in the backfield.

"They have a couple of good running backs," said Search. "If we play our assignments like we know we can, we should be good."

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