For a full year it rankled: Lake’s 9-7 loss to Monroe last season, a game which Lake dominated in the stats but fumbled away with mental and physical errors.
Thus Lake was on a mission at Monroe last Friday, determined to demonstrate that the loss was a fluke.
Mission accomplished, emphatically. Monroe scored first and last but Lake rang up 49 consecutive points in between, for a 49-13 Viking win.
Moderate rain throughout the game did not deter the Viking offensive line from blasting holes for running back Austin Otis to plow through, helping the latter to set a school record of 292 net yards rushing (in 24 carries), for four first-half touchdowns. That eclipsed, by five yards, the record set by Otis against Snohomish last season.
Equally dominating was the Viking defense, which dropped the Bearcats for losses on nine occasions, including four sacks of quarterback Andrew Zimmerman, three of those by Evan Mitsch.
The stats tell the story. Lake netted 399 yards rushing, Monroe 73. Sophomore Viking quarterback Jacob Eason had his best game so far, completing 13 of 19 passes with no interceptions, good for 198 yards and two touchdowns. Zimmerman was harried into just seven of 19 with an interception, for 97 yards and a touchdown.
But it was that Zimmerman touchdown pass, on the game’s first play from scrimmage, that smacked of “deja vu” for Viking fans. Lake fumbled away the opening kickoff, then saw Zimmerman hit a wide-open Gabe Moore for a 38-yard touchdown for a 6-0 Monroe lead exactly 11 seconds into the game. The score stayed that way when Miksch batted down Zimmerman’s two-point conversion pass attempt.
Lake’s self-destructive bent continued in the first quarter when it lost two more fumbles. One came on the Monroe 21 when Otis lost the ball, after he had gained 44 yards in three carries.
Another was on Riley Krenz’ fumble of a 16-yard reception to the Viking 38, putting the Bearcats in prime scoring position.
But on the next play Lake regained possession via Tevin Gray’s interception return to the Viking 30, with 4:13 left in the opening quarter.
That signaled the beginning of a systematic Viking massacre.
It took Lake just four plays to cover the 70 yards to tie up the game. Passes of 24 and 21 yards to Justin Brown and Gavin O’Neil were followed by Otis runs of six and 19 yards, the latter for the score. Ignacio Ponce’ PAT kick put Lake ahead for good at 7-6, with 1:50 left in the quarter.
Viking defense allowed just one Monroe first down in the second quarter, while Lake piled on three touchdowns.
The first was a scintillating 68-yard Otis run at 8:32.
The second was a 78-yard, 12-play drive finished by a two-yard Otis run at about the three minute mark. Otis gained 57 yards on that series, while Eason passes of 10 and 11 yards to Gray and Brown respectively consumed the other 21 yards.
Sacks by Kelly Wentz and Miksch and five straight incompletions by Zimmerman highlighted Lake’s domination of the second quarter.
Lake’s third TD of the period began with O’Neil’s 17-yard punt return to the 50 and saw Eason complete passes of eight and 29 yards to Gray, setting up an Otis seven-yard TD, 22 seconds before halftime for a 28-6 Viking lead.
Lake outgained Monroe by 177 yards to 39 in the third quarter, turning the game into a complete mismatch.
A pair of Eason TD passes, seven yards for a nice catch by Krenz in the right far corner of the end zone at 6:58, and 50 yards to a virtually unguarded Krenz at 5:23, upping the lead to 42-6.
O’Neil’s 31-yard punt return started that first drive, which was enhanced by Andrew Grimes’ (who replaced Otis for much of the second half) 47 yards in four carries.
Monroe mounted a drive to the Viking 13 late in the second quarter, where it was halted by a fourth-down Miksch sack of Zimmerman for a four-yard loss on the Viking 17.
That was the launch point of Lake’s final TD, 83 yards in eight plays. The drive included carries of 26 and 22 yards by Otis, a 14-yard completion to O’Neil, and runs of 18 and seven yards by Grimes, the latter for a TD and a 49-6 margin with 10:04 left in the game.
Poor Viking containment together with some nice moves by Moore resulted in the latter notching a 93-yard touchdown on the ensuing kickoff, to close out the game’s scoring at 49-13 with 9:45 remaining.
Grimes finished with 84 yards in just seven carries, and wowed the crowd when he shook off at least a half-dozen Monroe tacklers in one particular play.
Lake finished with 597 total net yards, Monroe 170. The Vikings had 24 first downs, Monroe 10. Lake was penalized eight times for 94 yards, Monroe four times for 30 yards.
Leading Lake tackler once again was C.J. Lat, with 16. Lat now has 86 tackles in four games.
Miksh, along with his three Q.B. sacks, totalled 13 tackles. Kolby Jones contributed 11 tackles, Grimes had 9, and Wentz and Ryder Fouts each had 8.