COMMERCE — For all the talk of East Hall's 'Air Raid' offense, it was the Vikings defense that set the tone in their 49-34 win over East Jackson on Friday.
The Vikings (3-1) stopped the Eagles on three of their first four drives, including getting a huge pick-6 to end the first quarter, and gave the offense time to overcome a quick deficit.
East Jackson (1-2) scored first taking the opening drive and getting a 13-yard touchdown pass from Greg Huggs to Tyler Crow for a 7-0 lead less than two minutes in. But the Vikings answered right back with a 6-play, 70-yard drive with a 1-yard Matthew Lott TD run and a 2-point conversion by Darius Holcomb for an 8-7 lead.
After the Vikings forced an Eagles punt, Lott capped the ensuing 69-yard drive with a 4-yard TD run to push the lead to 15-7. East Jackson was driving but Deshaun Gray snagged an Huggs' pass for a 65-yard pick-6 to give the Vikings a 22-7 lead to end first quarter.
The teams traded punts before the Eagles' RJ White scored on a 2-yard run, which was set up by a 39-yd pass to Vikings' 1, to trim the lead to 22-14. But again the Vikings offense answered as Clete Cooper found Mon Tabor for a 39-yd TD pass to push the lead to 28-14 and it stayed that way till halftime.
The Eagles used its special teams to recapture some momentum blocking an East Hall field goal. That set up a Huggsto-White TD pass to get them within 28-20. In the fourth quarter, Mon Tabor scored on a 14-yard run and he later added a 7-yard TD run to make it 49-27.
Huggs then threw his third TD pass fo the game connecting with Randy Smith to cut it to 49-34. But the Eagles could get no closer.
Cooper, who came into the game third in the state in passing, finished 7-of-12 for 180 yards and one touchdown. He added another 80 yards on the ground. Tabor had 4 catches for 100 yards and 1 TD to go with 80 rushing yards and 2 TDs. Lott churned out 110 yards on the ground with 3 TDs.
Kyle Hughes also had an interception for East Hall.