Vikings dominate Townsend in first game of the season

For the Eagle | September 2, 2020 2:05 AM

The Vikings used a dominant third quarter and punishing ground game to earn a convincing win at Townsend to open the season Friday.

Running backs Cormac Benn and Levi Taylor combined for more than 300 of Bigfork’s 468 rushing yards in the win while Taylor, Jackson Abney and Bryce Gilliard anchored a Vikings’ defensive effort that held the Bulldogs to just 20 yards on the ground and 20 points.

“With everything that is going on and all the circumstances around high school sports right now, I am really pleased with how the kids have responded to all those distractions plus having a new head coach,” head coach Jim Benn said after his first game leading the Vikings. “I couldn’t have asked for much more from an opening game of the season.”

A promising opening drive for the Vikings ended with a fumble at the Bulldog 13-yard line, but Bigfork found the endzone on their next possession as Cormac Benn took the ball to the end zone from 17 yards out and added a 2-point conversion for a 8-0 Bigfork lead.

Bigfork’s most impressive drive of the evening came on the Vikings’ next possession as they drove 83 yards on 15 plays to grab a 15-0 lead as Patrick Wallen lateralled to Taylor on an option play from 8 yards out.

A 1-yard run by Cormac Benn put the Vikings up 21-0 with 9:17 to play in the first half, but the Bulldogs answered with a score of their own to cut the Bigfork lead to 21-7.

Bigfork took a 27-13 lead into halftime as Benn added another 10-yard scoring scramble.

The Vikings took firm control early in the second half, scoring on their first two offensive possessions before Taylor picked off a Bulldog pass and returned it for a touchdown to put Bigfork up 49-13.

The Vikings cruised from there, scoring one final touchdown on 3-yard run by Taylor as George Bucklin added fifth extra-point of the evening.

Along with the game-leading rushing performances from Cormac Benn and Taylor, Joseph Farrier added 60 more yards on the ground while Bucklin had 40. Wallen was 3 for 4 passing for 39 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown pass to Walker Fisher. Isaac Bjorge led the Bigfork receiving corps with 19 yards.

On the defensive side of the ball, Abney and Gilliard each had four solo tackles to the way while Gilliard added an interception. Along with his interception for a touchdown, Taylor added three solo tackles and assisted on another.

The Vikings continue their season this week as they play host to the Cut Bank Wolves.

“They are a pretty balanced and solid team with aggressive and hard-nosed players,” coach Benn said. “It should be a really good early-season test for us.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday.