ECRU– The North Pontotoc defense bent but did not break Friday night, and the Vikings scored when the game was on the line late in the fourth quarter to knock off the Calhoun City Wildcats 7-6. T.J. Polk led the Vikings offensively with 119 yards passing and 89 yards rushing. Polk also threw the game winning pass to Kaden Wilson late in the game.
“I’m proud of how they fought and competed throughout the game,” said North Pontotoc head coach Crotwell. “With how the game ended against Independence last week, we could have easily said here we go again, but we found a way to get it done when the game was on the line and win.”
The Vikings (4-2) forced and recovered a fumble early in the first quarter, but they could not convert it into points after missing a 25-yard field goal. Hunter Bolin recorded two tackles for loss and the defense held their own, as the game was scoreless at the end of the opening quarter.
The Wildcats used a fake punt to extend their only drive of the second quarter. They scored four plays later on a 10-yard run by Hayden Goodson. The Vikings stuffed the ensuing 2-point conversion attempt, and the Wildcats led 6-0 at halftime.
Hayes Malone picked off Chardarius Hill to kill the Wildcats' best drive of the third quarter, and the game remained 6-0. Jon Major Earnest intercepted Hill for the Vikings' second interception early in the fourth quarter, but the offense could not capitalize. The Vikings forced the Wildcats to punt on their next drive, and Calhoun City pinned North at the 8 yard line.
That is when Polk took over for the Vikings. The sophomore quarterback led North down the field. He rushed for 23 yards and completed 3 of his 4 passes on the drive for 54 yards, connecting with Kaden Wilson on a 25-yard touchdown to pull the Vikings ahead 7-6 with under a minute left. North's defense then forced a turnover on downs at midfield to stall the Wildcats' comeback attempt and to hold on for the win.
“We want to win with defense and grow offensively as the season goes on,” said Crotwell. “Offensively we still have a long way to go.”
The Vikings begin Division 1-4A play Friday night on the road at Ripley.