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Tough night for Vikings as West Salem rolls 51-0

FOREST GROVE NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Forest Grove quarterback Lucas Janac scrambles during the Vikings 51-0 loss to West SalemHave you seen that movie, The Fog? An early-1980s horror movie about a small coastal town terrorized by historic ghosts arriving by means of an inexplicable fog bank?

No?

Well, maybe you saw the remake: a 2005 reboot with a slightly better-looking cast, struggling with the same mediocre plotlines responsible for sinking its predecessor?

Hopefully not.

Well, a fog rolled into Dick Hendricks Stadium in Forest Grove for the second half of the Vikings game against West Salem Friday night, Sept. 23, but much to the dismay of the Forest Grove faithful, a reboot of a forgettable first half didn’t come with it.

While a night to remember for West Salem, it was truly an evening best forgotten for the young Viking gridders as the Titans parlayed a dominant running game, superlative special teams and Forest Grove offensive woes into a 51-0 conference win.

It started with hope. The Titans began with the ball, but quickly turned it over when senior quarterback Jared Oliver threw an interception on their fourth play from scrimmage. But after Viking sophomore defensive back Ayden Purcell returned the pick to the Forest Grove 47-yard line, Viking quarterback Lucas Janac fumbled the exchange with running back Zach Ennis on the first play from scrimmage — and the rout was on.

West Salem marched 47 yards on their next possession, capping it with a five-yard run by backup quarterback Simon Thompson. After the Vikings went three-and-out on their next drive, the Titans’ Anthony Zellner returned Tanner Mannen’s rugby style punt 48 yards to paydirt, and following a successful Andrew Barthlomew conversion, West Salem led 14-0.

The landslide continued. Following a pooch kick recovered by the Titans’ Zellner near the Forest Grove sidelines, West Salem managed a successful field goal by Barthlomew to go ahead 17-0 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter didn’t get any better.

After another Viking punt, West Salem running back Noah Whitaker scored the first of his two touchdowns on the night with a 1-yard plunge to give the Titans a 24-0 lead. Following consecutive touchdown passes from Oliver to Tyler Ballenger and Carson Mella, Whitaker — who rushed for 154 first-half yards - ended the first-half scoring when he took a pitch, turned the corner, and sped up the right sideline for a 94-yard touchdown scamper. After the PAT, the Titans took a 45-0 lead into the locker room and started the clock on a second half that couldn’t end fast enough.

The Titans managed two more field goals, while Forest Grove’s woes continued. When the final horn blew West Salem prevailed by a final score of 51-0.

West Salem (3-1, 3-0 in conference) hosts North Salem this week, while Forest Grove (0-4, 0-4 in conference) travels to McNary.