MIKE NIETO: Vikings line leading the way

2013-11-01T23:00:00Z 2013-11-02T03:12:06Z MIKE NIETO: Vikings line leading the wayMike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
November 01, 2013 11:00 pm  • 

FLOSSMOOR | Homewood-Flossmoor's high-octane offense, particularly Vashon Nutt, was in high gear Friday night in the Vikings 49-14 win over Sandburg in a Class 8A first-round playoff game on Friday.

Nutt rushed for 228 yards and four touchdowns, but was first to point to the offensive line of Tyler Griffith, Desmond Bland, Darrion Sole, Mylan Reeves and Cashell Brown.

"The holes they cleared, that was the key to my runs," said Nutt, who had a 54-yard score and later had an 85-yard run. "They got that first block, opened up a hole."

The Vikings played a team they destroyed 48-10 in October. It could have been a trap game. Last year, H-F went out in the first round with a home loss to O'Fallon.

"Never again," Sole and his teammates said. "We were not going to let that happen."

H-F coach Craig Buzea told his team "1-0," meaning to take it one game at a time. "Monday, we start over and we get a real good Naperville Central team."

That's the same program that knocked out H-F in the Class 8A quarterfinals two years ago.

Sole remembers.

"We have to finish all games — 48 minutes," Sole said. "In that game (Naperville Central), we got off to a bad start and came back. You cannot do that."

Brown said there is pride among the line, the whole team.

"We love blocking for them and doing our job," Brown said. "We take it as we have to do it. It is an expectation of what we do. Everyone on this team is friends."

That can go a long way. The line gets praised by the backs. This whole team is not looking past its next game and it shows. The line loves its job and does it well.

"We got the best backs in the state," echoed Reeves. "We take it personally if we get negative yardage. It is not going to happen with us."

The Vikings (9-1) had 367 yards of offense on Friday and is averaging more than 39 points per game. That is no accident.

"We know we have a good offense and it starts with us doing our jobs up front," Griffith said. "We do our job, we move the ball and score."

Bland is the lone sophomore up front, but has fit in. He said the seniors made him feel at home.

"Right away, they showed me the ropes," Bland said. "Like a family. I had to learn a lot, but they showed me and encouraged me."

The Vikings could make a good run in the playoffs and are off to a good start. They are a team that plays unselfish. They also have a big line, which averages 257 pounds. The defense has played well as it was able to hold Sandburg (5-5) to 121 yards of offense.

It is a smart team with a smart coaching staff. They know no game is as important as the next. No looking ahead.

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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