Lexington routs Northeast, moves to 3-0

By Toriano Porter PrepsKC Staff Writer
Posted: September 4, 2015 - 10:32 PM

Lexington had a simple game plan, stuck to it, and dared host Northeast to stop it.

Powered by a run-heavy attack, the Minutemen downed the Vikings 51-0 Friday at Interscholastic League Stadium.

The non-conference matchup was a contrast in styles, as the Minutemen chose to stick with its Wildcat-style ground game with only one pass attempt while Northeast struggled both on the ground and in the air.

The margin of defeat was not to the liking of Vikings first-year head coach Kevin Bair.

“We faced adversity early on and we couldn’t rebound from that,” Bair said after his team’s second loss in three games this season. The Vikings are 1-0 in IL play. “We have to find a way to face adversity head on and conquer it rather than succumb to it.”

Lexington head coach Kyle Barkley was more than pleased with his team’s approach. The Minutemen improved to 3-0 on the young season.

“We live and die by the run,” Barkley said. “We put a lot of pressure on our offensive line and they get in the trenches and do good things for us.”

Lady luck seemed to be on Northeast’s side after the Vikings forced a fumble on the opening kickoff and took possession from their own 49-yard line.

However Lexington stopped Northeast on three downs and blocked a punt on the fourth. The Minuteman took possession at the Vikings’ 18-yard line and marched in for a score two plays later on a 5-yard touchdown run from junior running back Warren Sheppard.

A successful extra point kick gave Lexington a 7-0 lead at the 9 minute, 29-second mark of the opening quarter.

After another three-and-out for Northeast, Sheppard capped a short Lexington drive with a 9-yard touchdown run. Ryan Neer’s extra point kick put the Minutemen ahead 14-0 halfway through the first.

Lexington’s ground game took over again on the first possession of the second quarter as they marched to the end zone on one run play after another. The drive culminated with Reese Gassen’s 16-yard touchdown run one minute into the quarter.

Gassen’s follow up run on a successful two-point conversion attempt made the score 22-0.

“We’re a power-running team,” Sheppard said. “We run the ball all the time.”

Lexington scored again a drive later when DeHaven McCrary recovered a teammate’s fumble in the endzone after another run-only drive. A successful PAT from Neer extended Lexington’s lead to 29-0 with 6:30 remaining before halftime.

On the next Northeast possession, Cooper Lynn picked off Vikings’ quarterback Angel Rodriguez. One play later Lynn’s defensive work paid off when he blazed his way to a 28-yard touchdown run. The extra point pushed the lead to 36-0 with a little more than 5 minutes on the clock.

“We were up and rolling,” Sheppard said.

Northeast threatened to score on their next drive, moving the ball to the Minutemen’s 19-yard line before Neer, also a defensive back, intercepted Rodriguez’s pass attempt in the endzone and returned it to the 36-yard line.

The Vikings however forced a turnover on downs on the subsequent possession, but failed to generate any offense.

“Just a lack of execution,” Bair said.

The second half started off on the wrong foot for Northeast. The Vikings’ fumble was recovered by Lexington on the Vikings’ 27-yard line. With a running clock on its side, Lexington chose to stay on the ground and extended its lead on a 4-yard touchdown run by Sheppard, his third of the game.

“We came out here and we were prepared,” Sheppard said. “We knew that there was a challenge at hand. Nobody is easy. Everybody is a challenge. We got our business taken care of and played our game, so there you go.”

Lexington would tack on another score and a successful two-point play in the fourth quarter before leaving with a 51-point win.

“For the most part, the reason why we were so successful the first two games is because everybody was focused leading in to the game,” Rodriquez, the Vikings’ quarterback, said. “This game was different. Everybody was joking and goofing around because the morale of the team was better. I tried to tell them that these guys (Lexington) was one heck of a team.”