Euclid, Ohio — VASJ was the scene as the Vikings looked to matchup against University School. This would be their first playoff game in their new home stadium. VASJ defended their home field with the 48-14 win to advance to the second round of the OHSAA playoffs.
University came out firing on their first drive as Duke Brennan was the driving force catching multiple passes including a third down conversion and a touchdown catch for over 30 yards.
VASJ responded marching down the field quickly with a string of Amani Powell runs. He eventually ran in a goal line touchdown giving them their first points. After a failed two point conversion attempt VASJ trailed 7-6 with around 4:30 to go in the quarter.
VASJ took advantage of their three and out stand provided by their defense. Bo Jackson got VASJ into enemy territory with several first down runs.
Powell finished the drive breaking through for a 34 yard touchdown run. After a successful two point attempt with a Kylan Steuball catch from Johnny Vuraich the Vikings ended the quarter up 14-7.
When asked what makes the duo of Powell and Jackson so dangerous, Powell had this to say. “Our communication and our effort go out there and risk it all.”
The second quarter started with a huge defensive stand with a tackle for a loss from Robert Smith on a fourth and short run play. The Vikings offense took advantage. Kylan Steuball connected with Bo Jackson on a touchdown reception of over 45 yards.
Tim Gonakis had consecutive big plays for the Viking defense. He got a tackle for a loss followed by the interception he caught which gave VASJ great field position in enemy territory. They capitalized with a five yard Bo Jackson touchdown run. VASJ led 28-7 with 9:30 to go.
The big plays for the defense didn’t stop there, VASJ got two more turnovers in the period. One being a fumble recovery for David Jones and another being a Savion Lewis interception around the 5:30 mark.
VASJ responded with a three yard touchdown pass from Kylan Steuball to Jimmie Clemis. They led 35-7. VASJ continued to force empty offensive drives. They ended the half with an eight yard touchdown catch from Brian Kortovich to put them up 41-7.
The second half saw a running clock that sped the game up immensely giving both teams very few possessions. VASJ came out in the third establishing their run game with Powell and Jackson eventually finishing the drive with an 11 yard touchdown catch for Daniel Zglea.
Going into the fourth down 48-7 University kept fighting. Despite multiple big gains from TJ Moore, University held strong and gave up no points in the quarter. They then put a drive together featuring multiple catches from Sam Slesh, eventually punching it in with a goal line touchdown run from Darius Forrest.
VASJ will travel to Kenston for a round 2 matchup with the #4 seed Bombers next Friday.
When asked about the matchup VASJ Head Football Coach Jeff Rotsky said, “If you’re any type of competitor and you have a chance to avenge a loss, this is why you play the game.”