***Article by Josh Longstreth

One of the hottest teams playing right now, the Bullock Creek Lancers, had a chance to put a stamp on what has been a successful season for their football program tonight. The Lancers head in to tonight winning four of their last five and are on the brink of a playoff spot. On the other side is a program that may not get enough credit. The Swan Valley Vikings have been to the playoffs eleven years in a row and look to make it twelve in 2023. But it would be Bullock Creek who would make all their work come to fruition tonight.

Swan Valley had an opportunity to get points on the board first on the night. The Lancers defense would make that be for not making quick work of the Vikings offense on the opening possession. Bullock Creek would be limited in their first offensive possession on the night as both teams had a bit of a feeling out process. The Vikings would find a way on their next possession. The Vikings would put together a long drive that would be capped off on a Colton Klein connection to John Meyette. This gave the Vikings a 7-0 lead late in the quarter.

It wouldn’t take long for Bullock Creek to put some things together. Led by a big drive from their ground game, Bo Schwartz would help cap it off on his touchdown run. This knotted the game at 7-7 midway through the quarter. This gave the Lancers defense life and they forced a quick possession from the Swan Valley offense to get their own offense the ball back. It wouldn’t take long and the Vikings would have the ball back when Cal Delisle picked off a Lancers pass. Penalties would hurt the Swan Valley offense and the drive would be for not. But again, the Vikings defense would come up big. Jenner Miller would help the Swan Valley offense set up shop deep in Lancers territory. Bullock Creek would come up with a big defensive stand, however. The Vikings would opt for a go-ahead field goal but the kick from Mason Horwath would hit the goal post and we stood tied. The Lancers couldn’t hold on to the ball much in the quarter. Another Swan Valley interception, this time from Meyette, would get the Vikings the ball back with just seconds remaining. This time they would pay it all the way off on an incredible touchdown catch. We had ourselves a battle headed into the half as the Vikings held a 13-7 lead.

Bullock Creek would have a chance to get the ball first in the half but would be forced to punt after a three-and-out. But then it was time for the Lancers defense to get a big takeaway. Troy Limmer would pick off a Klein pass and the Bullock Creek offense was in business. They would put together a very methodical drive taking up the rest of the third quarter. Still we still stood with a 13-7 Swan Valley lead after three.

That methodical drive would continue for the Lancers and they would ensure that it paid off. Senior quarterback, Landon Tarkowski would connect with Nick Schneider and after the good PAT, Bullock Creek had their first lead of the night at 14-13. This gave the Lancers defense some big momentum and they would get the ball right back for their offense. The Lancers offense was helped by a couple Vikings penalties. That and the ground and pound mindset on the next Bullock Creek possession would be paid off again on a Tarkowski 1-yard dive. This gave the Lancers a 21-13 and could they sense it. The Swan Valley offense would go hurry-up and things started to look good for the Vikings driving into Bullock Creek territory. And then that would all be thrown away. Tarkowski would pick off a Klein pass and seal the deal. The Bullock Creek offense would set up in the victory formation and they knew. Bullock Creek comes up big in week nine by knocking off Swan Valley, 21-13.

The Vikings will fall to 5-4 on the season. Swan Valley came in playing some big time football the last three weeks but that wouldn’t be taken away tonight. The physicality of Bullock Creek caught up with the Vikings in the second half tonight and that was really the story here. Swan Valley looks to still be in the playoffs although the loss tonight may have cost them a home playoff game. For a program that is seasoned come playoff time, don’t be surprised if the Vikings find a way to bounce back next week. Swan Valley has won their last six district openers.

Bullock Creek might need to be a team to watch as we head into the playoffs. The Lancers have improved throughout the year and aside from a few losses, they were in each until late. Led by a defense that has been solid all year and a bruising run game, if Bullock Creek can limit turnovers come next week they could find themselves playing for a district title the following week. Lancer country is ready to see what they can do come next week.