Arlee, Charlo play in ‘Battle of the Valley’
ARLEE – When it comes to class C football, Charlo’s Vikings are about the toughest bunch of guys around and have a history of outstanding records and a wall of titles to prove it.
Arlee’s Warriors didn’t let that deter them in Friday’s epic battle between the two neighbors as the Warriors have been playing a Cinderella season of their own boasting an undefeated record going into Friday’s game.
Under the chilly Friday night lights, the two teams met on Arlee’s stomping grounds with droves of fans from both sides lining up at the ticket booth to witness what some would call the “game of the season,” with red being the dominate color on the sidelines as this was also Arlee’s Homecoming event.
Though the Warriors came out on top in the 42-22 romp, the Vikings certainly put up a fight while fielding a young team due to injuries plaguing the Charlo crew, including star quarterback Michael Delaney who is out with an injured ankle.
Warrior coach Mike Rogers said this was a big win for his boys and has been a “long time coming,” but said his team knew it wasn’t going to be over until it was over as, despite Charlo’s injuries, the Vikings are never far from posing a dangerous threat on the field.
“The kids were very focused this week on what the task was and taking this big step,” Rogers said. “Charlo is very, very well coached and I know that they were beat up, they have a lot of kids injured coming into this game and they were starting kids that were young, but our kids didn’t say ‘this is going to be an easy win’ they knew Charlo wasn’t just going to lay down, they are always very competitive with us.”
While going into half time with a too-close-for-comfort score of 20-14, the Warriors went big in the third scoring 22 while allowing the Vikings to only score eight in the final quarter securing their hometown victory.
Warrior quarterback Riley Rogers finished with 6-15 for 115 yards including three touchdowns twice tossed to Patrick Big Sam who scored three times for Arlee.
PJ Haynes led in rushing, carrying the ball 23 times for 219 yards with a touchdown. Brad Brazill produced brawn on the defensive side, picking up four sacks for the Warriors.
For Charlo, quarterback Trent Dennison picked up 42 yards in the air completing 7-12 but it was his ground play that helped Charlo to put numbers up on the scoreboard, scoring twice for the Vikings on 15 carries.
Jade Smith also found the end zone for the Vikings packing the ball 15 times for 127 yards.
Jesse Long led Charlo defensively completing 12 total tackles, four solo and eight assists, adding a recovered fumble for his team.
With only two games left in the regular season, the Warriors are not yet counting chickens, taking it game by game with focus on what is happening in the now. Wins and losses will determine postseason seed as well as home field advantage so staying focused is an important factor for the Warriors future.
“Basically we haven’t won anything yet,” Rogers said. “At the end of the season we’ll figure out what we’ve won. If I can keep them that focused, hopefully they’ll understand that.”
Charlo, who is now 4-2, still is not out of it with two weeks of regular season play to find ground before playoff season.
Up next for the Warriors will be a road trip to Victor Oct. 18. The Vikings host Darby Oct. 17 - which is also senior night in Charlo.
Arlee 6 14 22 22 0 – 42
Charlo 8 6 0 8 - 22