High School Football:
Friday, September 17, 1999
By Greg Alvord
On a crisp September night at Triton High School, two Olympic Conference foes battled in a hard fought football game. The highly anticipated Eastern Vikings traveled to Triton Field in a season opener on Friday evening. The Vikings of Eastern topped the Mustangs of Triton by a score of 27-14.
The first half was played at a fever pitch as the underdog Mustang team gave Eastern all it could handle. The Vikings of Eastern scored first. You would think that highly touted and Penn State bound Adam Taliaferro would have done the damage. But on a night where Triton's coach Dennis Vespe's defense was designed to contain the fleet-footed Taliaferro (which it masterfully did), it was the Vikings defense that, as Rambo was fond of saying, "Drew first blood." As Mustangs quarterback Brian Yackle dropped back to pass, pressure by Eastern's front four (reminding one of the Purple People Eaters of Viking fame) got to the quarterback. Justin Barton and Gregg Wrenn came barreling down and caused the ball to flutter into the anxiously awaiting hands of Tim Regan who glided into the end zone for the first score.
After the teams traded possessions, Eastern was facing a third and twenty-five deep in Mustang territory. A pinpoint pass to Taliaferro seemed to break the Triton spirit. But, as Taliaferro juked down the sideline for 30-yards, the ball hawking Mustang secondary (reminding one of the past great Andre Watters) stripped the ball and recovered in a major momentum switcher. It was here that lineman Kyle Bogner, Rick Macawley and Ray Tomlinson helped open up huge holes that you and I could run through. With talented runners like Mike Eckmyer and Dom Tomo taking advantage of these holes, Triton used their momentum and methodically drove in for the score. Eckmyer punched it in for their first touchdown of the day. A blocked extra point by Eastern helped them maintain a 7-6 lead. The first half ended and the crowd response to this game effort by Triton had many saying, "You gotta be kiddin' me, what a game."
The second half started with the same fired up intensity by both defenses. Both clubs traded possessions. Then the Vikings decided to show why they are ranked so high. Quarterback Darryl Scott knew that the Mustangs' D was forcing Taliaferro out of his game. This is where Scott decided to take matters into his own hands, and feet. Scott kept the ball on the option and found plenty of space and raced 67-yards for a huge momentum turner. After a three and out series, Triton lined up and punted the ball 50-yards that bounced to the 10-yard line where Taliaferro joined in on the fun. Scooping up the punt, Taliaferro zigzagged through the coverage (showing his athletic ability that would have e Rocket Ishmail proud) on his way to an electrifying 90-yard touchdown return.
The charged up Eastern defense once again held Triton to a three and out. A big sack by Wrenn seemed to take the air out of the Triton team. Eastern got the ball back and continued to attack the thin middle of Triton. Using beautiful cross action in the backfield, Kahaleel Fisher took the ball and cut back through the defense and bolted 85-yards for a dazzling score. This put Eastern in control where it stayed the rest of the way. Triton's gutsy effort was overcome by the one thing you can't coach...speed.
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