PLEASANT GROVE The Pleasant Grove Vikings improved their preseason record to 2-1 with a dominating 25-3 win over the Riverton Silverwolves on Friday night.
The Vikings won despite a continuation of the red-zone struggles in their season-opening loss to defending 4A champion Timpview. Pleasant Grove missed three scoring opportunities inside the 10-yard line against the Thunderbirds, suffering a narrow 10-6 loss to the perennial 4A powerhouse.
"You know, I stayed up and watched the game on Comcast the other night and it was the same outcome," Viking coach Dale Sampson said. "I think we know we can play at that level, but we need to get down in there and take care of business."
The Vikings' first-quarter miscues were probably deja vu for Sampson, who watched his team fail to reach the end zone just as many times in the first quarter against Riverton on a fumble and several dropped passes.
"It's definitely something we're going to have to work on," Sampson said.
Even with the red-zone difficulties, Pleasant Grove took a 12-0 lead into halftime thanks to timely sacks by the Viking defense. After struggling to get anything going on offense in the first quarter, the Silverwolves seemed to gain some momentum after running back Zach Spencer tore through the Viking front line for 36 yards on three straight carries.
Two plays later, Silverwolf Daniel Hoffman broke free for a 21-yard run down the left sideline, putting Riverton inside the Viking 20 for the first time.
But the Viking defense dropped Riverton quarterback Davis Johnson for a big loss on third down, setting up a missed field-goal attempt from 34 yards out.
Riverton's only score came early in the third quarter when Pleasant Grove fumbled in the backfield on its opening second-half drive. The Silverwolves took over on the Viking 23, but had to settle for a field goal after an incomplete pass and a pair of ineffective running plays.
"Our defense played great," Sampson said, "and we're really starting to mature as a team, on both sides of the ball."
Co-captain LeSean Wilcox and running back Joey Owens led the Vikings attack on the ground. Owens had 11 carries for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Wilcox had 86 total yards, including a 52-yard bomb from quarterback Dalton Brady, which led to Pleasant Grove's first touchdown.
The Vikings play at Copper Hills next Friday and face Brighton at home before opening up region play against Timpanogos.
Riverton dropped to 2-1 and will face Hillcrest at home next Friday.