The Green Oaks Giants gave the Airline Vikings all kinds of problems in the first half of their game Friday night at Airline Stadium.
The second half was a different story. Airline scored 23 unanswered points and pulled away for a 30-8 victory.
The Vikings improved to 2-0. Green Oaks, which lost its opener to Benton 51-0, dropped to 0-2. Airline hosts Ruston (1-1) this Friday. Ruston defeated East Feliciana 45-18 in its second game.
Sophomore quarterback Brad Fream threw three touchdown passes in the second half and four overall. They went to Coby McGee, Micah Dunn, Cameron Rogers and Trey Taylor.
Penalties hurt both teams. Airline had three touchdowns called back although the final one was after the game was decided. The Vikings also had a Fream scramble to the Green Oaks 1 in the first half nullified.
“We feel like we can play better,” Airline coach Bo Meeks said. “We made way too many mistakes. At the same time I give coach (Curtis) Evans and Green Oaks a lot of credit. They played hard. They’ve got some great players. We wore them down as the game went on — our depth. We did some good things. We’ve obviously got to play better against Ruston next week.”
Defense dominated the first half. The Giants defensive front made things difficult for the young Vikings offensive line. Fream was sacked several times, including in the end zone for a safety on the first play of the game. Airline had trouble just reaching the line of scrimmage in some series.
It didn’t help that running back Brian Fielding, the Vikings’ second-leading rusher in 2015, went down with an apparent leg injury.
In the second half, Airline started to wear down Green Oaks with its superior depth. The line gave Fream some time to throw and opened some holes for the backs.
“We’ve got five new offensive linemen,” Meeks said. “We’ve got to find the right combination of guys that are going to play the way we are going to need them to play, protect the quarterback and create some running lanes. As the game wore on, we did a little bit better job. But still a lot of things to correct there. Everybody’s got to improve.”
McGee had a long run that set up Airline’s second touchdown.
The Vikings took advantage of short fields thanks to some poor punting by the Giants. Airline put constant pressure on the punter.
“Coming in we knew they had some trouble last week so we were definitely going to try do all we could to take advantage of any mistakes we could get there,” Meeks said.
While Green Oaks struggled with its punting, Airline’s Bryce Bailey had another outstanding week. He boomed one punt 60 yards and kicked another out of bounds deep in Giants territory. Nathan Otis also kept Green Oaks pinned with his deep kickoffs.
Both players received praise from Meeks in the postgame team meeting.
“We’ve done a good job on special teams both weeks,” he said.
Airline took the lead for good on a safety on the first play of the half when a bad snap was batted out of the end zone by Green Oaks quarterback Ellis Alexander.
Green Oaks’ lone TD came on a nicely thrown 38-yard pass from Alexander to Damien Crawford. The Giants had a few nice runs in the game, but other than that didn’t do much against the Airline defense. Green Oaks didn’t come close to scoring again.
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org