Rochester, MN - In a battle of two teams who had locked up MCAC post-season berths, the Viking of Itasca Community College battled back from a 28-8 deficit to down the RCTC Yellowjackets 32-28 on Saturday. On a day that saw temperatures in the low 30's, 40 mile an hour winds and rain, snow, and sleet, it was a 4 minute timeframe from the end of the third quarter to the first minute of the fourth that changed the game.
RCTC got off to a quick start, scoring the only points of the quarter on a 37 yard touchdown pass from Justin Lynn to Severyn Foster. The two teams then exchanged scores in the second as Itasca scored only 1:38 into the period and their two point conversion gave them an 8-7 lead. Lynn connected with wide receiver Phillip Hillesheim on a 20 yard strike with 5:44 remaining in the half to give the Jackets a 14-8 lead at the half.
In the critical third quarter it looked like RCTC was going to take control as they scored twice in a 50 second stretch to jump out to a 28-8 lead. Calvin Dixon caught a 22 yard pass from Lynn at the 7:10 mark, and then Israel Lozoyoa ran it in from a yard out just 50 seconds later to stretch the lead.
From there the Vikings took the momentum and control of the game. The Vikings got two touchdown runs from Joshua Booker, one for 1 yard at 1:43 remaining 3rd and then the second for 18 yards a minute and fifteen seconds later. RCTC maintained the lead (28-20) heading into the final frame, however only a minute and 10 seconds into the fourth quarter Itasca quarteback Jeff McCInnis connected for 27 yards to D'Angelo Braxton, cutting the lead to 28-26.
After a punt, Itasca once again took control and drove down the field, only to have McCinnis passed picked off by Keshawn Williams. With under 5 minutes to go the Jackets took over deep in their own territory. After two plays and with the clock running down, Itasca forced a fumble and took over in Jacket territory.
With 3:02 remaning in the game the Itasca comeback was complete as Antwan Downs took in a 12 yard touchdown pass for the 32-28 lead. RCTC couldn't get anythng going into the wind in the final stages as Itasca's defense sealed the win.
For the game Justin Lynn, who left injured in the third quarter, went 12-31 for 233 yards and 3 touchdowns. Phillip Hillesheim and Severyn Foster each had 4 catches for 76 yards and a TD, while Calvin Dixon had 2 catches for 59 yards and a score.
On the defensive side of the ball several Jackets had huge days. Keshon Williams had 8 tackles, including half a sack and 3.5 tackles for loss, to go along with an interception and 4 pass break-ups. Josh Miser lead the Jackets in tackles with 14 including a sack and 2.5 tackles for loss for his second monster week in a row. Corey waller added 9 tackles while Eric Snook had 7 tackles and a sack.
RCTC now heads on the road for their final regular season contest of the year. The Jackets (5-2) head to MN State-Fergus Falls to take on the Spartans at 1:30 on Saturday, October 19th. RCTC will then begin their playoff run on the road on Sunday, October 27th at Itasca Community College.