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Vikings vanquish Victor with air attack

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CHARLO — If the sixth-ranked Vikings weren’t dangerous enough already, they added one more weapon to their loaded arsenal in a 55-12 Western C blowout of the Victor Pirates.

Prior to their first home game of the season against the Pirates Friday, the Vikings had only 89 yards in the air on 8-for-20 passing in their three victories. But on Friday, their air attack was in full force as they threw for 151 yards and four touchdowns on 9-for-12 passing.

Viking quarterback Chico Stipe, who has already proven that he can beat teams with his legs, showed that teams should also be worried about his arm. Stipe connected on 8 of 10 passes for 129 yards and four touchdowns.

“That was a breakout game for us. We’ve been working on being 50-50, but the first three games there was no need to pass because our rushing attack was working,” Charlo coach Mike Krahn said. “That was a real breakout game for us. We’ve been working on that all summer. We just haven’t had a chance to showcase it.”

Why throw when in three wins you’ve rushed for 658 yards and averaged nearly 8.5 yards  a carry?

Stipe’s first TD pass was a 20-yard strike to Tra Ludeman on the Vikes’ first possession and came after Victor took a 6-0 lead on a 20-yard pass of their own. It was the first time that the Vikings have trailed this season and the only first-half touchdown they’ve given up. But for the second straight week, Krahn was impressed with how his team responded when tested.

All four of Stipe’s touchdown passes came in the first quarter and he also ran for a 27-yard touchdown to help the Vikings take a 34-6 lead into the second quarter. The Vikings have now outscored their four opponents 106-6 in the first quarter. Stipe’s 27-yard TD run was his longest on the day. He finished with 44 yards on four carries and led the team with 11 tackles.

“He (Stipe) had a real nice touch on the ball. We’ve really worked on a short game and using our speed for yards after the catch. Most of his throws were underneath and people just making plays once they got the ball,” Krahn said.

Ludeman caught a pair of touchdown passes, ending the first-quarter scoring with a 9-yard catch. Ludeman also had TD runs of 17 and 33 yards in the second quarter to give the Vikings a 48-6 lead at the break. The sophomore has now scored 12 touchdowns this season.

Ludeman pulled down three catches for 50 yards and rushed for 95 yards on three carries – the only Ludeman run that didn’t go for a touchdown was a 45-yard scamper. Ludeman also completed a 22-yard pass.

Austin Bauer caught a 22-yard TD pass to give the Vikings a 27-6 lead and closed out the Vikings’ scoring with a 65-yard kickoff return to start the second half. It was the second straight week that Bauer started the second half by returning the kickoff for a TD. The Vikings have now scored six special teams touchdown.

Kolten Andrews caught a 10-yard TD pass and has scored three touchdowns in the last two games.

The Viking defense held the Pirates to 66 yards on 36 carries, a 1.8-yard average. Krahn said defensive ends Chance Rosenbaum and Chris Hernandez-Kelley did a great job in stringing out the play to the sideline and the speedy defensive backs would come and clean up the play. 

“I contribute our run defense to our speed. We have great pursuit. There is always five to six guys on the ball,” Krahn said.

Despite outscoring their opponents 206-26, Krahn said his team doesn’t get ahead of themselves and while some fans are already focusing on their showdown with Drummond on the final game of the regular season, his team stays focused on the game at hand.

The Vikings will travel to Noxon Friday. Krahn said he picked the Red Devils as the sleepers in the conference. They have one of their strongest senior classes they’ve had in a quite a while with a good mixture of size and talent. Throw in a long road trip and the Vikings should have a pretty good test on their hands.

Summary
Charlo 55, Victor 12
Victor 6 0 0 6– 12
Charlo 34 14 6 0 – 55

V - Corey Deering 20 pass from Kurt Manely (run failed)
C - Tra Ludeman 20 pass from Chico Stipe (Stipe run)
C - Kolten Andrews 10 pass from Stipe (pass failed)
C - Stipe 27 run (Chris Hernandez-Kelley kick)
C - Austin Bauer 22 pass from Stipe (Hernandez-Kelley kick)
C - Ludeman 9 pass from Stipe (kick failed)
C - Ludeman 17 run (kick failed)
C - Ludeman 33 run (Ludeman run)
C - Bauer 65 kickoff return (run failed)
V - Randy Lewis 1 run (run failed)

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