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September 11, 2010

2010 Season - Vikings fall to 7th-ranked Central, 28-23

Ben Hall tied a school record with three interceptions, but the Vikings fell, 28-23, to 7th-ranked Central Saturday night at Ericson Field.

 ROCK ISLAND, Illinois - School-record tying performances from David Lee (Springfield HS, Springfield, Ill.) and Ben Hall (University HS, Normal, Ill.) weren't quite enough Saturday night as Augustana fell to Central 28-23 at Ericson Field. Lee tied his own school record for completions in a game with 28 and Hall came away with three interceptions. The loss evens Augustana's record at 1-1 while Central-the 7th-ranked team in NCAA Division III-improves to 2-0.

 The Dutch took the opening kickoff and drove 54 yards, but Augustana's scrappy defense stopped quarterback Nate Snead just short on a fourth-and-two and the Viking 26.

 After Augustana went three-and-out, Central took over at midfield and on third down Hall came up with his first interception of the night. Unfortunately, Central forced another Viking three-and-out before going on an eight-play, 49-yard drive capped off by a 22-yard touchdown run by Snead. Jake Viggers point after made it 7-0 Central with just over two minutes left in the first quarter.

 The Vikings did manage a first down on their next drive but were then forced to punt and the Dutch went on another drive, going 72 yards in 12 plays before Augustana again stiffened and stopped Snead on fourth-and-one at the Viking three.

 Neither team could do much on each of its next two drives with Augustana, pinned deep in its own territory, going three-and out twice while both of Central's drives ended with Snead throwing interceptions. The Dutch signal caller, who threw only three picks all last year in an all-conference season, would throw four on this night. He was picked off by Matt Glawe (Wheaton Warrenville South HS, Winfield, Ill.) and again by Hall in the second quarter.

 After Hall's second interception, which he returned 20 yards to the Central 42-yard line, the Vikings put together their first scoring drive of the night. After a false start wiped out a 24-yard completion to Zach McCullough (St. Charles North HS, St. Charles, Ill.), Lee completed four of five passes for 53 yards, capped off by a 28-yard strike to McCullough which tied the game at 7-7 with Arnie Fitzwater's (Waterford Union HS, Waterford, Wis.) point after. That's the way the half would end, although the Vikings needed John Mago (Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill.) to make a touchdown-saving tackle on the final play of the half when Snead's "Hail Mary" attempt was tipped and caught by Brett Wilkin inside the Augustana 10-yard line.

 Probably the key play in the game occurred on the Vikings' opening drive of the second half. On fourth and one from the Augustana 33, Alex Schroeder (Batavia HS, Batavia, Ill.) attempted to run for the first down out of the rugby-style punt formation. However, Central forced him to reverse field and ended up dropping him for a 15-yard loss on the play.

 It took the Dutch six plays and over four minutes to go the 18 yards, but Nate Snead finally found Jeremy Snead on a fade route from the Augustana four to put the Dutch back on top 14-7.

 Augustana drove 66 yards before missing a field goal, but on the ensuing possession, Central snapped the ball over punter Kurtis Brondyke's head and out of the back of the end zone for a safety, cutting the lead to 14-9. After forcing another Augustana three-and-out, the Dutch put together a nine-play, 64-yard drive capped by another Snead touchdown run-this one from 13 yards-on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 21-9.

 Lee and McCullough hooked up again from 21 yards out with 5:44 left in the game, cutting the Dutch lead to 21-16, but the Vikings gave up another back-breaking play on Central's next drive. On third-and-11 from his own 39, Nate Snead found Jeremy Snead down the right sideline for a 60-yard touchdown to make it 28-16 with just 2:48 remaining.

 Once again the Vikings, who completely abandoned the running game in the second half, answered back with an 11-play, 66-yard drive which ended with Corbett Ball (Buffalo Grove HS, Arlington Heights, Ill.) grabbing a tipped Lee pass in the end zone with 37 seconds left. However, that would be the team's last gasp as Central was able to run out the clock and claim a hard-fought road victory.

 Lee finished with 28 completions in 46 attempts and 314 passing yards. He threw for three touchdowns without an interception for the second game in a row. Kyle Hundman (Bloomington Central Catholic HS, Bloomington, Ill.) caught nine passes for 74 yards while Ball added seven receptions for 91 yards. Hall's three interceptions matched a school record that has now been achieved 12 times. Mago and Glawe were the Vikings' leading tacklers with 11 and nine, respectively.

 The Dutch defense shut down the Viking ground game to the tune of -32 yards. Lee was sacked five times for 32 yards in losses. Central end Shane Wong was a terror all night. He had six tackles including three-and-a-half for 25 yards in losses and was in on four sacks. Nate Snead threw for 249 yards and a pair of scores, but was really more of a threat on the ground with 100 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.

 Next Saturday, the Vikings are back on the road, traveling to Adrian, Michigan for a contest with the Adrian Bulldogs. Kickoff is scheduled for noon central time.