Vikings defeat the Panthers 29-21 and advance to CIAA Football Championship

April Emory
November 06, 2006vikings-defeat-the-panthe The ECSU Vikings capped off a phenomenal regular season with a 29-21 homecoming win over Virginia Union University Saturday afternoon at Roebuck Stadium. With the victory, the Vikings captured the CIAA Eastern Division crown and earned their position at the 2006 CIAA Football Championship game at 1 pm Saturday in Durham, NC. Awaiting the Vikings, are the reigning CIAA football champs, the North Carolina Central University Eagles. NCCU wrapped up the CIAA Western Division on October 28 with a win over Livingstone and capped their first undefeated season in school history (10-0) season with a 52-7 win over Johnson C. Smith in Durham. After their first drive resulted in a turnover, the Vikings got the ball back after Justin Hamilton blocked a 27-yard field goal attempt by Hugh Flores-Diaz. ECSU then executed a 22-play, 80 yard drive which was capped by a 13-yard touchdown to Chris Carter from Curtis Rich, Jr. with 31 seconds remaining in the 1st quarter. The extra point was missed but ECSU would extend the lead to 13-0 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Rich with 11:10 remaining in the half. A 52-yard kickoff return by the Panthers' Michael Dolby allowed VUU a short field to work with and they capitalized with a 36-yard score from Lamar Little to Michael Hampton to trim the Viking lead to 13-7. On the Vikings' next possession, Dan Herlihy stepped in when Rich was shaken up on the first play from scrimmage. One pass was all it took as he connected with a streaking Marvin Jackson for 60-yard score and the Vikings extended their lead 20-7. Kevin Dodson would give ECSU a little more cushion before the break with a 19-yard field goal right before the half expired. The start of the second half mirrored the first as the Vikings' first possession resulted in a turnover, this time via an interception by Stephen Johnson. The difference was that the Panthers converted the turnover into a score, a 35- yard touchdown to Steve Miller from Little, bringing the score to 23-14 in favor of ECSU. Two possessions later, Chris Carter caught his second (and the Vikings' final) score of the afternoon on a 37-yard reception from Rich to push the lead to 29-14. The Panthers were not finished yet as Lamar Little called his own number for a 1-yard TD run with 11:49 left in the game. The Vikings next drive yielded no points after an uncharacteristic missed field goal by Kevin Dodson gave the Panthers the ball back on their own 25 with 6:33 to go. It looked as though it was lights out for Virginia Union who faced third and twenty-five from their 10-yard line. Little then converted a first down on a 29-yard pass to Phillip Taylor to give the Panthers a chance to continue what would have been a game tying drive. VUU got all the way to the Viking 21 when a Little pass was picked off by Chris Shaw with just 1:08 to go. Shaw completed a solid all around performance adding 6 tackles and 3 pass breakups to go along with his interception. Although it was a total team effort, but junior running back Brandon Fields gave the fans an outstanding performance. Fields finished the day a season high 147 yards on 21 carries. ECSU's defense held the Panthers' ground game to just 82 yards on the afternoon. For more information on ECSU Athletics visit www.ecsuvikings.com Photo caption: After the game, Dr. Gilchrist, Coach Tillar and Dr. McLean, congratulate the Vikings on capturing the CIAA Eastern Division crown.