Mavericks top Vikings to keep playoff aspirations alive

The Mavericks looked impressive Saturday, besting the Vikings and continuing to dominate on the ground. This win gives the Mavericks their tenth win over the Vikings in the last eleven years, righting the ship and putting the Mavericks in a much better position to compete for a playoff spot.

The Mavericks took an early lead on the game’s opening drive, with junior running back Shen Butler-Lawson capping off a 7 play, 72 yard drive with a 13 yard touchdown run for the Mavericks.

Proceeding the Mavericks’ efficient opening drive would be three short drives resulting in two punts for the Vikings and one for the Mavericks.

On the Mavericks third drive of the game, their offense put together a Kansas City Chiefs-esque drive. This possession contained two plays for 45 yards and only took 13 seconds off the clock. A beautiful 44 yard completion from sophomore quarterback Hayden Ekern to freshman receiver Grant Guyett set the Mavericks up on the Vikings’ one yard line, where Butler-Lawson scored on the very next play. 14-0, Mavericks.

After another three and out from the Vikings, the Mavericks took back over from their own 12 yard line with 4 minutes left to play in the first quarter. This 14 play drive took the game into the second quarter and was capped off by yet another one yard touchdown run from Butler-Lawson, putting the Mavericks up 21-0.

The teams then exchanged punts before the Vikings finally got on the board via a 34 yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Casey Bauman to sophomore receiver Jack Fisher. This made the score 21-7 Mavericks, and it stayed that way heading into halftime. 

The third quarter started slow but was eventually taken over by the Mavericks, where, with 4:54 left in the quarter, quarterback Ekern would score his only touchdown of the day on a 10 yard scamper, putting the Mavericks up 28-7.

On the following drive, the Mavericks’ defense came up huge. Junior defensive tackle Grant Nagel pressured the Vikings’ Bauman into throwing an interception to defensive back Somon Anderson for the first touchdown of his collegiate career. This essentially closed the door on any potential Vikings comeback, with the Mavericks taking their largest lead of the game, 35-7.

The fourth quarter was mostly punts and turnovers on downs, and Bauman was replaced by sophomore Thomas Scholten with 3:43 remaining in the game. The Mavericks’ defense forced an interception on Scholten’s first play, with Anderson taking it away yet again. To close out the game, the Vikings put together a quick 10 play, 61 yard drive, making the final score 35-14.

With this win over the formerly 21st-ranked Augustana, the Mavericks have their statement win and are putting things together at the perfect time.

They face another challenging opponent in the Sioux Falls Cougars 1 p.m. Saturday at Bob Young Field. The Mavericks are trending in the right direction, and hope to ride this momentum all the way to a Division 2 national championship.

Header Photo: The Mavericks defeated Augustana 35-14 Saturday, moving into a four-way tie of 6-2 with Winona State, Bemidji State, Wayne State and Augustana. The photo above is from the last home game win. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)

Write to Hayden Lee at Hayden.Lee@mnsu.edu

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