VALLEY CITY, N.D. – Valley City State (N.D.) quickly racked up 29 first-quarter points Saturday evening at Shelly Ellig Field over Dakota State (S.D.) in both teams' first-ever North Star Athletic Conference football game. The Vikings never looked back as they defeated the Trojans 63-20.
Dakota State remained winless in three games this season. Valley City State, receiving votes in the NAIA Football Preseason Coaches' national poll and NSAA's preseason favorite to win the title, improved their record to 2-1.
VCSU quickly scored on the opening drive for the first lead of the game. With the drive starting on the Vikings' 45-yardline, Kurtis Walls connected to Derek Elliott for a 55-yard touchdown pass. Valley City State converted a successful 2-point conversion to give the Vikings an 8-0 lead with 14:30 left in the first quarter.
The Trojans recorded a first down on their first drive of the game. DSU then was forced to punt on DSU's 40-yardline, but was fumbled on the DSU's 1-yardline with 11:28 left in the first quarter.
VCSU quickly scored as Elliott rushed for a 1-yard touchdown run. Thomas Cortez added a PAT kick to extend Vikings' lead to 15-0 with 11:05 remaining in the first quarter.
The Vikings scored again after the Trojans committed a turnover on DSU's 35-yardline. Elliott rushed for a 1-yard touchdown run and Cortez added a PAT kick to make it 22-0 in favor of VCSU.
Elliott scored his fourth touchdown in the first quarter as he ran for 66 yards to score a touchdown. Cortez added a PAT kick to expand VCSU's lead to 29-0 with 14 seconds left in the first quarter.
Dakota State broke their scoring drought in the early second quarter, thanks to two VCSU's penalties that resulted in two first-downs. After VCSU's committed the second penalty on the drive, Cole Whisenhunt threw a 37-yard pass to Zach Ely to set up a scoring play on VCSU's 2-yardline. Whisenhunt rushed for a 2-yard touchdown run to cut VCSU's lead to 29-6 with 13:36 remaining in the first-half. Tanner Hubbard added a successful PAT kick to make it 29-7 VCSU.
The Trojans used four plays for 82 yards in 1:38 in the scoring drive.
VCSU answered back as Walls threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Colby Lum. Cortez added the PAT kick to extend their lead to 36-7 with 10:41 left before intermission.
DSU scored on the ensuing drive, using eight plays for 70 yards in 4:13. After Dylan VandeGarde converted the third-and-one situation on DSU's 39-yard line for a first down on DSU's 41-yardline, Whisenhunt threw a 36-yard pass to Ely for a first-down on VCSU's 23-yardline. Whisenhunt added another 19-yard pass to Bobby Tisch to set up a scoring play on VCSU's 2-yardline.
Whisenhunt connected to Ely for a 2-yard touchdown pass with 6:28 remaining in the second quarter. Hubbard added a PAT kick as DSU cut VCSU's lead to 36-14.
Walls connected to James Gaynor for a 15-yard touchdown pass with less than a minute left before halftime. The Vikings used 10 plays for 81 yards in 4:44 in the scoring drive. Cortez's PAT kick was good as the Vikings held a 43-13 halftime advantage.
VCSU made it 50-14 in the early third quarter after Walls threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Cedric Chappell (Cortez's PAT kick was good) with 12:37 left in the third quarter.
Jake Thurston intercepted Whisenhunt's pass on DSU's 35-yardline and returned for a touchdown with 11:34 left in the third quarter. Cortez added the PAT kick as VCSU's lead grew to 57-14.
Dakota State recorded 14 plays for 70 yards in 7:18 in their scoring drive to reduce Vikings' lead to 57-20 with nine seconds remaining in the third quarter. Whisenhunt threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Ely.
VCSU scored the final points of the game in the fourth quarter. Cameron Avery recorded a 39-yard touchdown pass to Jamarcus Burks. Cortez's PAT kick was blocked by DSU's Perry King as the Vikings led at 63-20.
Whisenhunt rushed 27 times for 87 yards with a touchdown for the Trojans. He completed 9 passes in 15 attempts for 145 yards with two touchdowns. Ely recorded six receptions for 97 yards and caught two touchdown passes.
VandeGarde added 20 rushes for 74 yards for DSU. Tisch had two catches for 31 yards.
Ben Kullos led the Trojans with nine tackles. Ronnie Jorgenson added six tackles. Spencer Carlson recorded a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Elliott recorded 21 rushing attempts for 165 yards with three touchdowns for the Vikings. He had two catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. Walls went 12-for-18 with 254 passing yards and threw four touchdown passes.
Lum caught five passes for 128 receiving yards for VCSU.
Valley City State outgained the Trojans 508-274 in total offensive yards. The Vikings had 206 rushing yards compared to DSU 129 rushing yards.
VCSU recorded 302 passing yards, while the Trojans had 145 passing yards.
DSU had 20 first-downs in the game compared to the Vikings' 18 first-downs.
The Trojans converted 7-of-16 third-down conversions. VCSU was 3-for-11 on third-downs.
Dakota State looks to record their first victory of the season as they continue their action on the road next Saturday (Sept. 21). The Trojans play their second NSAA conference game of the season at Presentation (S.D.). Kick-off is set for 6 p.m. at the Swisher Field in Aberdeen.