Mazama outclassed conference opponent North Valley (5-2, 1-1 Skyline) on Friday, cruising to a 49-0 victory for the Vikings’ homecoming.
The Mazama (4-2, 2-0) defense was essentially unmovable, as the Knights ran 30 plays but finished the game with only a yard of total offense. The Viks forced six punts and grabbed three interceptions. On paper the matchup was contested by two top-10 4A squads as Mazama entered the game ranked No. 4 and North Valley at No. 8.
“We felt like we knew matchup-wise that we could do what we wanted to do offensively and defensively and we did that tonight,” said Vic Lease, Mazama’s head coach, who added that the North Valley staff have done a good job building their program.
The traditions of homecoming also returned to Mazama after taking a hiatus last year. Mazama's Tsunami of Sound Band performed at halftime. Zeke Heaton and Kennedy Lease were voted homecoming king and queen.
The first half largely consisted of the Vikings’ attack capitalizing on great field position gifted to the offense by strong defense and special teams play. North Valley’s first drive started in a hole as a bouncing kickoff was fielded near the edge of the endzone and was only brought out to the 2-yard-line.
The Mazama defense forced the first of many three-and-outs and the ensuing punt — the first time in the game any Viking had touched the ball — was taken back 41 yards for a score by Aidan Kindt, who broke wide and tiptoed down the sideline to find the end zone. Lease later said Kindt was pulled from the game after getting "dinged up" and will be evaluated.
That became a familiar trend in the first half, Mazama’s D would force a three-and-out and a punt returner would bring the ball into plus territory. From there, the offense would go to work, putting up four unanswered rushing touchdowns in the first half.
There were a couple of exceptions. One Mazama drive began when senior Brandon Gailey, as a defensive back, picked off a North Valley deep ball, returning it to the Knights’ 25. Gailey, coming out of the backfield, capped off the drive on a 3-yard run for Mazama’s fourth touchdown.
“He's just a leader, he was voted team captain,” Lease said. “I could call on him to do anything, you know, play running back, play defensive back, be a returner. He's just a versatile kid. He's super smart, athletic, physical and just an outstanding leader.”
In the first half, only two Mazama drives started on their half of the 50. One ended on a turnover on downs inside North Valley territory, the other ended in the Vikings’ last touchdown of the half — a 15-yard scamper by quarterback Tyson Van Gastel.
Fullback Trevor Anderson also had a big half, running in two scores for the Viks. Largely held out of the running clock second half, Anderson still managed to lead the team with 92 rushing yards.
Gailey would have the Vikings’ longest score of the night, running in a 48-yard touchdown early in the third quarter after a Brody Hubble interception gave Mazama the ball near midfield.
Mazama’s Treyce Horton, who is featured often as the Vikings’ placekicker, hit all seven of his point-after tries and even got several second-half touches, rushing for 40 yards and a touchdown on seven attempts.
The Vikings’ defense also finished with 9 tackles for loss, two of them belonged to junior linebacker Brendon Monteith.
Heaton, the Viks' top fullback and well, homecoming king, again didn't play this week after being sidelined a couple weeks ago.
Next week, Mazama will travel over the hill to take on a 5-1 Hidden Valley team that is tied with the Vikings atop the Skyline Conference standings after shutting out Klamath Union on Friday. North Valley will host Henley the same night.