A week after being held in check by Holy Name during a low-scoring slugfest victory at Sparky DiBiasio Stadium, Villa Angela-St. Joseph got back its offensive swagger Friday in a decisive and much-needed road win over Warren JFK.
Senior standout Marvelle Ross scored four of his five touchdowns in the first half to help the Vikings jump to a big lead and cruise to a 55-21 victory at Mollenkopf Stadium.
Ross, who had been battling an ankle injury this year, was big for VASJ (5-2, 2-0 NCL) in a must-win situation on the road.
"The offensive line was dominant and Marvelle ran the ball very well," VASJ coach John Storey said.
"We had 14 points within the first few minutes of the game and really went from there. It was good to see these guys get after it and execute."
Holy Name limited VASJ to 14 points in regulation of a 21-20 Vikings win on Oct. 4, but there were no such offensive issues for Storey and company against the Eagles (1-6).
Freshman Jerry Higgins had a big kickoff return to start things for VASJ, and Ross finished the drive with a TD. After a JFK turnover, the Vikings wasted little time getting back into the end zone for an immediate 14-0 lead. From there, VASJ poured it on and rolled to a fifth victory of the season and third in a row.
"We have talked to our guys and it really has been a mindset that it has all been playoff games for us lately because of our region and how tough it is and we probably need to win out and get a little help," Storey said.
VASJ entered play as the No. 9 seed in Division VI, Region 19. The top eight teams qualify for the postseason, and the Vikings are looking to make the playoffs for a second straight year after going 1-9 in 2012.
In addition, the win put VASJ in sole possession of first place in the NCL White Division at least for one night. The Vikings are 2-0 and all the other teams in the league have at least one conference loss except Cleveland Central Catholic, which is 1-0 in NCL play. The Ironmen will try to match VASJ's 2-0 start with a win over Trinity on Oct. 11.
Defensively against JFK, Malik Lozada was among a handful of players who came up big.