Vikings get ready for big conference showdown with Mission Valley rival

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MISSION HIGH School Bulldogs attempt to gang tackler a Charlo ball carrier in last year's Sept. 15 conference game. The Bulldogs, now in their second year in Class C 8-man football, will attempt to defeat Charlo in an early-season conference matchup with playoff implications at 7 p.m. Friday night at Charlo High School. (Jason Blasco/Lake County Leader)

The Charlo High School football aren’t accustomed to being on the losing end of a 52-6 shellacking they suffered against Flint Creek Friday night at Flint High School.

The Vikings, who finished second in the MHSA Class C 8-man football championships in 2016, and lost in the quarterfinals of last year’s football playoff championships, were decimated by injuries and circumstances in their uncharacteristic loss to the defending champs.

“Flint Creek is definitely tough,” Vikings’ coach Mike Krahn said. “We were just decimated by injuries, not to make any excuses or take anything away from them, but (the loss) was tough to deal with.”

The Vikings didn’t have Bridger Foust (broken wrist), Dominic Marquez (appendicitis), Landers Smith (knee injury) and Garrett Vaughan (knee injury), were four key players the Vikings didn’t have this season.

“We were reeling when we finally got to the game and we were just short (on personel),” Krahn said. “We had to move Landers out to running back and we had a freshman quarterback and defensively we had players that had a concussion and our defensive backs there were a lot of guys that did a good job for us and our young kids learned how to play hard and we just didn’t match up with all of our injuries.”

The Vikes’ star player Landers Smith’s injury status is still to be determined as Charlo prepares to head into Sunday’s game.

“Landers didn’t play in the second quarter and we evaluated it and checked it out to see the extent of his injuries,” Krahn said. “(His knee) was pretty soar and I didn’t want to chance (him getting hurt). It was just a nightmarish night.”

Krahn, who has been in coaching for over 25 years, said Friday night’s game was “wild,” in terms of injuries.

“We’ve had some injuries during the course of the week and usually it is like one or two, but to have seven kids that weren’t playing and hampered and being forced to play out of position is a tough transition for high school kids.”

The Vikings, who were played Flint Creek, the No. 1 ranked team in the state, just couldn’t compete with Flint.

“They were the No. 1 team in the state and playing out of position and we were expecting (our team) to be able to compete at this level and they went out there and fought,” Krahn said. “Basically, from the second quarter we were forced to play our JV kids and I felt they went out there and played scrappy and hard and made mistakes, like expected, and really grew from that experience and they will be better football players being forced to play into action on such a big stage.”

Charlo was admittedly disappointed in their showing against Flint Creek.

“We talked with our kids after the game and it is one of those things that is hard,” Krahn said. “The building on the (Flint Creek) game was pretty big and we are looking forward to (playing it) and I was doing phone calls doing interviews with different people and our kids didn’t feel like they were able to show what we feel we can do (on the football field0 and they played really well and were a tough team and we would like to see them down the road healthy and have another shot (at Flint).”

The Vikings know they are in for a tough matchup against Mission High School at 7 p.m. Friday night at Charlo High School.

Krahn said he anticipates a close game against upstart Mission.

“Regardless of what happened in last week our conference game is so tough and just have to be ready to play,” Krahn said. “With the closeness of the schools with our team co-oping in softball and boys wrestling and these kids know each other and there is a rivalry apart and they have a way of bringing out their own intensity and it’s another big game and its even a little more significant coming off of a loss.”

Krahn has praised Murray and his coaching staff for building his team into an 8-man playoff-caliber contender in two seasons.

“I think when you have coaches and you are doing the right thing and Coach Murray and their staff is getting their kids playing hard and believing again,” Krahn said. “They are doing it the right way and it will eventually pay off on and off the field and just towards the end of last year they started to put it together and a team that contend for a playoff spot.”

Krahn also realizes if Mission were to win this game it would be a big momentum boost for the team.

“I think belief that you can play and beat teams it just keeps compounding itself,” Krahn said. “Everyone around social media knows who is dinged up and it is extra incentive to take it us and test us when we are facing adversity and how the team responds will be a true character test of a team to fill out those after that in practice and they’ll get coached up and ready to play.”

Warriors run over Seeley-Swan

The Arlee High School football team defeated Seeley-Swan 64-14 Friday night at Arlee High School.

Warriors’ quarterback Lane Schall connected on three touchdown passes in the blowout win over Seeley.

Schall hit Chase Gardner for a 56-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. Schall proceeded to hit Greg Whitesell on a 6-yard touchdown pass and threw another touchdown pass to Lane Johnson on a 68-yard touchdown bomb in the second quarter.

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