LI Looking For Second Straight Title
by Andrew Turner
LYNDON CENTER - Last year, it was a game to end Lyndon Institute's state championship drought and everything was brought to bear in one single push to accomplish that.
Tomorrow, it's about showing the rest of the state that the Vikings aren't one- hit wonders.
At 1 p.m., the top-seeded Vikings square off against the third-seeded Bellows Falls Terriers in Bellows Falls for the Division II crown one year after LI won the Div. III title.
Coach Dennis Sweet's Vikings met the Terriers in Bellows Falls, in both teams' season opener, Sept. 5, where LI escaped with a 7-6 win.
The win surprised some who felt the Vikings wouldn't go very far this year after losing several key players to graduation.
What happened was nothing less than an 8-1 season in which the Vikings literally ran over their competitors. The only loss came against Mt. Saint Joseph's, the Div. I powerhouse ranked as a top team in New England.
In their first matchup, the final score wasn't indicative of the kind of high- scoring offensive assault the Vikings would put together throughout the rest of the season.
But there were hints to it in the Bellows Falls game which might shed some light on Saturday's outcome.
On a number of occasions the Vikings drove the ball easily into the Terrier's territory but weren't able to score, and Sweet looks at that as one of the reasons the Vike's chances are good.
quot;I think in the first game we had some good chances that we didn't capitalize on. We missed a 20-yard field goal and we also didn't do well inside the redzone,quot; Sweet said Thursday.
quot;We just have to make sure that when we get deep into their redzone that we come away with some points. We've stressed that during practice this week,quot; Sweet said.
Sweet said the keys to victory against the opportunistic Terriers will be to control both lines of scrimmage and to play error-free.
quot;I guess controlling the line of scrimmage is probably the most important thing. I think not making mistakes, also. We have to play well, in terms of penalties and turnovers,quot; Sweet said.
quot;I think games like this are won or lost at the line of scrimmage. They have strong lines, especially their offensive line. We're just going to have to control the line of scrimmage if we're going to win,quot; he said.
Sweet said he doesn't fear the Terriers but that, quot;We just respect them as a good football team. We know they're an opportunistic team and if we make mistakes they'll take advantage of them.quot;
He's high on his team's defensive efforts this year and believes it will be solid for the most important game of the year.
quot;I think that our defense is really strong; I think that's a constant. Usually if your defense is strong and they play well game after game then you'll do very well,quot; Sweet said.
Offensively, he said, the Vikings have the edge in the passing game, with a slightly more successful attack than the Terriers.
But, as in the game in September, the offensive load will have to be carried by the likes of David Noyes and Billy Chamberlin.
Noyes ran for 121 yards against the Terriers in their first game, while Chamberlin had 80 yards that included a 27-yard scoring jaunt.
quot;We throw the ball a little better than they do and I really like our kicking game. If we do take advantage of those things, I think we'll win,quot; Sweet said.
All in all, his team is prepared, Sweet said. The Vikings have had their sights set on this one all season and are now ready to play it out.
quot;We've been there before. I think we're just anxious. We just want to play the game. It's been three long months and we just want to bring this to a conclusion. The kids see that now and are ready to finish it,quot; he said.