Unioto Trucks Vinton County to Open Year

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Coming into the first week of the 2017 season, each team had questions that would hopefully be answered by the end of the night. With the Unioto Sherman Tanks, their question was how they would be able to replace their star quarterback, Clay Edler? With Vinton County, its question was how much has their defense improved from a year ago? The Tanks were able to solve their problem on Friday with a 30-13 win over the Vikings.

Throughout the first quarter, both offenses struggled to get anything going, with Unioto struggling to hold onto the football, while Vinton County’s Naylan Yates struggled to find his receivers, and instead found the Tanks defensive backs: Dalton Poole and Chance Smith. It wasn’t until late in the first quarter, when the scoring began.

Unioto’s struggles on offense continued when the ball sailed over Gabe Fisher’s head, which lead to Hunter Nichols of the Vikings to take it 28-yards to the house to put Vinton County on the board first with a score of 7-0. This touchdown was able to lead to the end of the first quarter with the Vikings looking to continue their dominance on defense throughout the game.

It wasn’t long until the Tanks struck back with a great defensive play of their own. An amazing catch and run by Hunter Nichols seemed to give the momentum to the Vikings, but Unioto’s Chance Smith was able to strip the ball away from him and take it 39-yards to the end zone. The extra point would be no good though, which still gave the Vikings a 7-6 advantage. From there, the offensive struggles for the Vikings continued.

Naylan Yates, who struggled for most of the first quarter, was picked off by Ryan Burns of Unioto, giving Yates his third interception of the first half. This interception would help the Tanks march down the field and set up a 26-yard field goal by Brice Robinson, which gave the Tanks the lead 9-7 going into halftime.

The Vikings looked to come out in the second half and hoped to fix their troubles on offense. However, the problems would continue in the second half, with the Vikings fumbling twice in the third quarter, and the Tanks capitalizing with touchdown runs by Jamarcus Carroll and Chance Smith to put Unioto up 23-7 at the end of the third quarter.

It wasn’t until early in the fourth quarter when Naylan Yates was able to respond with a 44-yard pass, and 7-yard run for a touchdown to keep the game close at 23-13. However, Unioto’s Dalton Poole was able to put the game out of reach, with a 29-yard touchdown run to end the scoring at 30-13.

While both teams struggled offensively in the first half, it was only a matter of time before one of them was able to find the gaps in the opposing defense, and Unioto was able to find them before Vinton County. The Viking defense looked strong for the majority of the game, but were unable to prevent the six turnovers on offense, which helped lead Unioto to most of their scores on offense.

Gabe Fisher of Unioto had a tall task of replacing Clay Edler, but was able show some promise at the quarterback position by completing 7-14 passes for 110 yards. On the other side of the ball, Naylan Yates struggled by throwing three interceptions, but was able to finish 7-18 for 128 yards while also leading the team in rushing with 57 yards on 18 carries.

With the loss, Vinton County (0-1) looks to bounce back next week when they travel to Piketon to take on the Redstreaks (0-1), while Unioto (1-0) looks to improve to 2-0 when they take on the Tigers of McClain (0-1).