MABTON - Mabton Coach D.J. Search will gladly take last Friday's 14-2 Homecoming victory over the Bridgeport Mustangs. Although he'll be the first to tell you that his Vikings should have won by a much bigger margin.
"We were plus-eight in turnovers," he said. "Typically, when you force your opponent into 10 turnovers, like we did against Bridgeport, you expect to score more than two touchdowns."
But, Search's Vikes didn't do that.
On two of the occasions, after taking the ball away from Bridgeport, Mabton coughed up the pigskin. Both times were the result of fumbles, both coming inside Bridgeport's 5-yard line.
"It's hard to score when you don't hold on to the ball," Search said.
The Mustangs grabbed the early lead on Mabton when Bridgeport smothered Viking punter Pablo Sanchez as he was attempting to boot the ball away from his own end zone. The end result was a two-point safety.
Mabton answered back in the next quarter, when Alex Zavala broke several tackles on a power play to the weak side. Zavala, who carried the ball eight times for a total of 44 yards Friday night, ended up bulling his way 34 yards on the second period TD run. Marco Zepeda's successful extra point kick gave the Vikes a 7-2 lead.
The Vikes put the final points of the night on the board in the third quarter. Pinned deep on their own 15-yard line, Mabton QB Ryan Harris handed off to Sanchez on a power play to the strong side call. Sanchez, receiving a couple of key blocks, scooted past all of the Bridgeport defenders and raced 85 yards to pay dirt. Zepeda's second extra point kick of the night accounted for the final 14-2 score.
Sanchez was the workhorse for Mabton on offense. He gained a game best 153 yards on 13 totes. All told, Mabton tallied 252 yards on the ground. Complementing Sanchez and Zavala's efforts carrying the ball were Jovanni Ochoa (4-28), Ray Elizondo (4-20) and Harris (6-7).
Through the air, Harris was 4-for-13 for Mabton for a total of 54 yards. His primary target was Zavala, who had three catches for 46 yards. Sanchez had the other reception, good for an eight-yard gain. Harris served up no interceptions against Bridgeport.
Mustang QB Bob Bakken, on the other hand, didn't particularly enjoy a good night. Mabton's defenders picked him five times and limited him to 4-of-7 passing for 41 yards. The Viking defensive unit also forced five fumbles.
"Our goal was to hold Bridgeport to 100 yards of total offense," said Search.
Mission accomplished, as the 'Stangs only totaled 67 yards both on the ground and through the air.
"Everyone on defense excelled," said Search, who as of this morning (Monday) hadn't yet compiled the defensive stats.
"All of our defensive players did their assignments and executed," he said.
Search was just as complementary of his offensive and defensive lines. "All of our linemen did a good job," he said.
Mabton (1-2, 2-2) will attempt to square its South/Central 'B' League record at 2-2 this coming Friday night at Kittitas. Search said his club has its work cut out for it against the Coyotes.