Valley City bests Jamestown to earn Paint Bucket back
VALLEY CITY, N.D. – Valley City State sophomore quarterback Kurtis Walls summed it up best after Thursday night’s season-opening win over rival University of Jamestown.
“We wanted that … Bucket back,” said Walls after throwing for 365 yards and four touchdowns. “That was at the forefront of our minds after we lost (the Bucket) last year. Through workouts in the summer and in fall camp, it was a major motivator for us.
“We got it back, and it feels really good.”
The Vikings sprinted to the Jimmies sideline in unison after their convincing, and surprising, 31-7 win over their primary rivals to reclaim the Paint Bucket, the trophy the two teams play for.
“This game can be humbling sometimes. It’s a bitter pill to swallow for sure,” UJ head coach Shawn Frank said. “We didn’t expect this. I really like the way we prepared, but the bottom line is they made a lot more plays than we did tonight.”
Valley City State head coach Dennis McCulloch had similar feelings. He too was pleased with his team’s fall camp, but didn’t expect to lead 21-0 at halftime, 28-0 after three and hold the Jimmies to 224 yards of offense.
“All the credit goes to our kids and our coaching staff. We didn’t see this coming, but our kids did a really good job of executing the plan,” McCulloch said. “It’s just the first game of the season, and we’ll see them again and they’ll be hungry as dogs, but for us we’re really proud of how our kids played tonight.”
Walls, a second-year starter, who dropped weight in the offseason for a sleeker and leaner frame, was sharp in the pocket.
He completed 28 of 40 passes and was money on third down. His first scoring strike, which covered 37 yards to Zach Johnson, came on a third-and-11 play.
“It starts with the O-Line. They did a great job because we know our receivers are hard to cover,” Walls said. “If I get them the ball, they can make it happen.”
Antoine Griffin proved elusive all night for the Jimmie secondary, including on a blown coverage on a first-down play where Walls found Griffin wide open in the middle of the field for a 59-yard scoring strike on the first play of the drive.
“We had some mistakes on the back end that hurt. That was clear for everyone to see and that’s something we have to get cleaned up,” Frank said. “It was a combination of we couldn’t get off the field on third down, and couldn’t keep the ball on third down when we had it. Those two things work hand-in-hand, and that was an area we really struggled.”
The Jimmies punted four times in the first half. Their best drive was the first of the game. After a long kickoff return by Chris Johnson, then a 30-yard run by Johnson, they drove inside the VCSU 40-yard line, but stalled.
“You look at some of the players they have, and it’s a tough deal to bottle them up, but coach (Gregg) Horner always develops a good plan,” McCulloch said.
J 0 0 0 7–7
VCSU 7 14 7 3–31
VCSU– Johnson 36 from Walls (Cortes kick)
VCSU- Griffin 58 from Walls (Cortes kick)
VCSU- Johnson 12 from Walls (Cortes kick)
VCSU- Griffin 11 from Walls (Cortes kick)
VCSU- Cortes 37 FG
J- Pettigrew 8 from Eriksson (Linde kick)
TEAM STATISTICS J VCSU
First downs 24 10
Rushes-yards 39-89 26-91
Passing 365 121
Comp-Att-Int 28-40-2 11-24-2
Punts-Avg. 2-49 5-39
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 4-30 7-61
Time of possession 37:23 21:55
RUSHING: VCSU, Goerts 18-46, Keller 18-31, Walls 2-6, Griffin 1-6. J, Johnson 13-70, Eriksson 10-12, Heck 2-7, Sena 1-2.
PASSING: VCSU, Walls 28.-40-2 365 yards. J, Griffin 11-24-2 121 yards.
RECEIVING: VCSU, Griffin 10-158, Johnson 7-111, Miller 6-50, Boler 4-38, Keller 1-8. J, Edwards 2-37, Sena 3-36, A. Johnson 3-27, C. Johnson 1-11, Pettigrew 2-10.