Vikings’ defense paves way for win over Chargers - Brownsville Herald: H.S. Football

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Vikings’ defense paves way for win over Chargers

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Posted: Monday, November 4, 2019 10:23 am

In a game with District 16-5A Division I playoff implications, it was the young Pace Vikings defense that made plays when they mattered against Brownsville Veterans Memorial.

The Vikings’ defense allowed just seven second-half points and forced two turnovers, giving the team’s offense opportunities to milk the clock and hang on for a 26-21 victory over the Chargers on Friday night at Sams Memorial Stadium.

Leading 23-14 midway through the third quarter, the Vikings recorded turnovers on back-to-back possessions, forcing a fumble on one drive and defensive back Matthew Garza intercepting Brownsville Veterans QB Marlon Montelongo on the next.

“ As I said before, we’re young, but we’re no longer inexperienced,” Pace coach Danny Pardo said. “The defense has been in enough big games to make plays. That interception was big and that fumble was big. I don’t know what else to tell you — they played big tonight.”

The win lifts Pace to 6-2 in district play and puts them in fourth place in the district standings, while the Chargers fall to 5-3 in district play and will need to defeat 7-1 La Joya Palmview next week.

Those Chargers turnovers ultimately led to the Vikings extending their lead to 26-14 with eight minutes to play following a Christopher Zapata 22-yard field goal.

The Chargers scored once more on a 9-yard Montelongo touchdown run with 6:25 to play, but Pace quarterback Jose Banda led a 13-play drive to the BVM 3 and killed the clock to secure the win.

The Chargers turned over the ball three times on the night, two more times than Pace, which is what Brownsville Veterans coach David Cantu said was ultimately the difference.

“ It was a very even matchup,” Cantu said. “It was Pace’s ability to move the ball, and their ability to move the chains (made the difference). It just came down to us making more mistakes than they did. I said this was going to be like a playoff game and it was going to be sad to see one really good team possibly not make the (postseason). Kudos to Pace, Coach Pardo and his coaching staff. They came out on top.”

Banda passed for 135 yards and one score, and rushed for 98 more yards to lead the Vikings. He led four long second-half drives on which the Vikings scored 10 points, but more importantly killed a lot of clock.

“ The last drive, man, the offense worked their (rear ends) off,” Pardo said. “They moved the ball when they needed to. During a timeout, I went to my offense and said, ‘Give me a first down,’ and they came through. Last year, Banda took (the loss to Brownsville Veterans) hard. He was focused all this week ... he took a lot of those drives and said, ‘I’m going to make a play here.’ He did, and showed growth and maturity and a lot of leadership.”

After a Brownsville Veterans fumble on the first drive of the game, Pace’s Dylan Barron broke a 38-yard run two plays later and scored from 2 yards out moments after to give the Vikings a 6-0 lead with 8:23 to play in the first after a missed point-after attempt.

Barron rushed for more than 100 yards on the night and helped lead a big night from the Vikings’ run game.

Pace forced a BVM punt on the ensuing possession, but Barron fumbled the ball on the first play, and it was recovered by the Chargers.

BVM quarterback/running back Marlon Montelongo scored on a 6-yard run nine plays later to put the Chargers on top 7-6 with 3:37 left in the first.

After a field goal by Zapata made it 9-7, Montelongo scored his second touchdown on a 1-yard run to cap a 14-play drive and make it 14-9 with less than four minutes to go in the half.

Montelongo, playing sparingly for banged-up starter Liam Longoria, rushed for 33 yards and three scores. Ramirez rushed for a team-high 84 yards on the ground.

Banda led his team down the field and put the Vikings up 16-9 three seconds before halftime on an 8-yard touchdown pass to Marc Garcia.

The Vikings opened the second half with a near four-minute drive, capped by a 62-yard halfback pass from Matthew Cuellar to Ilijah Solis to make it 23-14 with 8:38 to play in the third quarter.

Pace scored on the final drive before the half, right after the break and killed the clock on its final possession of the game.

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