**ARTICLE BY JOSH LONGSTRETH**
One of the hottest teams in the Tri Valley Conference, the Swan Valley Vikings, would come into week 6 looking to see if they could stay sizzling in a big matchup with Birch Run. The Vikings rolled over Alma last week to win their 3rd in a row. The 3-2 Birch Run Panthers would look to see if they could change that tune and make some success of their own.
The Panthers would jump on the board first in this one. Standout running back Kahleel Brown would find some space from 14-yards out. A successful PAT from Loretta Brege would give the away team a 7-0 lead. On the ensuing drive, Swan Valley would strike right back when Tyler Drain would find daylight and take one in from 59-yards out. The point after would be good, and we had ourselves a ballgame after one, 7-7.
Swan Valley would take their first lead of the game in the 2nd quarter. Drain would break off another long run into the endzone. This time from 84 yards out to give the Vikings a 13-7 after a missed PAT. That’s where we would stand after one as Swan Valley would hold the momentum to that point.
The Vikings would pick right up where they left off in the 3rd. Swan Valley would drive to the 1-yard line when Drain would take a shorter route into the endzone. The Senior running back would put his team up 20-7 early in the 3rd. The two-point try would give the Vikings a 21-7 lead as the rest of the quarter would end in a stalemate.
Swan Valley would take full control late in the 4th. That’s when, there goes that man again, Tyler Drain would plunge in from 2-yards out four his 4th TD of the night. After another good two-point try, it would be a 29-7 lead for the Vikings. Brown would find his way into the endzone again for the Panthers from 4-yards away. It would be a 15-29 game after a good two-point attempt. That’s where it would end as it was just too little too late for Birch Run. Swan Valley stays hot topping the Panthers in a crucial week 6 matchup.
If you got sick of hearing Tyler Drain’s name all night, think about how Birch Run felt. The Senior running back would tote the rock 27 times in this one for 307 yards and 4 TD’s. Quarterback Colton Klein would pitch in 7 carries of his own for 61 yards. Drew Kaeckmeister had himself a night on the defensive side. He led the way for the Vikings with 10 total tackles, 3 of those tackles for loss. He added a big catch for 50 yards on the offensive side of the ball. Kahleel Brown did everything he could for Birch Run. He carried the ball 35 times for 236 yards, and 2 TD’s on the night.
It’s very clear that Swan Valley is not a team anyone wants to face in the latter part of the season. The Vikings now improve to 4-2 on the year, and 4-1 in the TVC. They’ll face another big test in week 7 when they take on Freeland. Freeland took all of their frustration out this week after their first loss of the year in week 5. They dominated from start to finish to improve to 5-1 on the year, and 4-1 in the TVC. Birch Run will look to move on from this one quickly as they have a real shot at a playoff opportunity in 2022. The loss will move them to 3-3 on the year, and 2-3 in TVC play. They take on a Bridgeport team who will come in hungry for their first win of the year. Birch Run will welcome in the Bearcats when the two tango next Friday night with a kickoff time of 7:00.