Davis Vipers 12, Utah Shock 29
Saturday, May 7, 2016
Kearns, Utah- Kearns High School Field


Under cloudy skies and steady rain, the Utah Shock hosted the Davis Vipers in what was mostly predicted to be a Shock victory, regardless of the Vipers’ recent push against the Wildcats to hold a playoff position and the Shock’s substandard performance against the Revolution the week before.


The Shock received the opening kickoff, and following a 17-yard Sam Thomas return, began their drive with decent field position that started with an 11-yard freight trainesque run by RB Matt Mann. Mann had two more runs for a total of 21 yards and Wissler connected with Thomas for 15. RB IK Ubani capped the drive off by starting up the right side and cutting back across the field for a 29 yard touchdown (PAT blocked).


On the Shock kickoff, kicker Bryce Kennington ricocheted the ball off of the Vipers front line and after the usual collisions associated with front line vs. kicking team activity, Shock’s Colten Thomas recovered the ball and the offense once again took the field, this time at the Viper 47-yard line. After 17 plays of grinding it out on the ground as well as a couple of Chris Hooper and Sam Thomas receptions for 26 combined yards, the Shock tried using something called the Tight End, where Wissler connected with all-purpose player Fano Tagovailoa from the 1 (2-pt PAT failed). Following the kickoff, the Vipers offense took the field at their own 29 with about a minute left in the 1st quarter.


The 2nd quarter started with the Vipers in possession but it didn’t stay that way for long. With the exception of a couple of decent runs by the Vipers, the stingy Shock defense held the Vipers to their own side of the field and forced a punt.  The Shock offense once again took the field at their own 25.


The Shock’s passing game opened up with a 6 yard reception by Graham Smith, immediately followed by a 41 yard pass to a wide-open Sam Thomas. The rest of the series was marred by the wet weather causing bad snaps and messed up handoff timing, leading QB Jeff Wissler to punt for 41 yards, pinning the Vipers at their own 2. On the Vipers first attempt to run on 1st down from their own 2, the Shock did the expected and stuffed it for a safety (14-0; 7:23 2nd Qtr).


After a short kick and 16 yard Thomas return, the Shock offense took over at their own 46 to start their next drive. The emphasis was on an unproductive passing game, with the exception of a 25 yard TD pass to Thomas, which was called back for an offensive penalty, and the Shock ended up turning the ball over on downs at the Viper 30.


The Vipers had 3 incomplete passes and punted, putting the Shock offense back in at their own 38 to begin the next drive. A 27 yard pass to Graham Smith brought the Shock into Viper territory, and following a savvy clock-stopper well over Hooper’s head, Wiss connected with Mann on a swing pass that he took for 14 yards but was called back on another offensive penalty. Following a Sam Thomas fumble caused by a formidable pocket of air and sheer intimidation by the Vipers secondary, the Vipers recovered at their own 39.


On the first pass, Shock all-purpose player-in-strong-safety-mode, Fano Tagovailoa, intercepted the ball and returned it to the Vipers 49. Two IK Ubani runs and a Matt Mann 22 yard run set up the 15 yard TD pass to Thomas. Kennington’s PAT was good, bringing the score to 21-0, Shock, with 1:43 remaining in the half.


On the second play of the Vipers offensive drive, Sherwood connected with an unintentional target in the Shock’s strong safety Fano Tagovailoa again and an inadvertent whistle blew the play dead during his return. The Shock retained possession on their own 44. In déjà vu fashion, Wissler opened up to Smith again for 26, putting the ball at the Vipers 30, again. After a back and forth of a sack for a huge loss, compensated for by a big Ubani run, under the fans’ cry for passing to Hooper, Shock again turned it over on downs. The half ended with the Vipers in possession, just in the nick of time. 21-0 Shock at the half.


The second half started with a pooch kick that the Vipers recovered, starting their drive at their own 34. With decent passing for yardage and some nice QB read option plays, coupled with the timely defensive penalties, the Vipers formed a good opening drive but were unable to convert and attempted a field goal from the Shock 22. However, a miffed snap/hold situation got the holder crushed and the Shock O took the field for the first time in the 2nd half. A few plays - mostly incomplete passes – later, and a bone crushing sack forced a Wissler fumble, which was recovered by the Vipers at their own 49.


Viper QB Schuyler Sherwood connected with WR Chris Smart to bring the ball into Shock territory for a second time in the half. Two plays later, Sherwood found WR Matt Taylor 31 yards down field, knocking on the Shock’s door at the 5. A short run and a 12 men on the field penalty later and Sherwood found WR Damonte Dexter from 1 yard out, putting the Vipers on the scoreboard for the first time in the game (2-pt PAT failed). 21-6, Shock; 3:23 3rd quarter.


In a textbook onside kick, Vipers LB Todd White drilled the Shock receiver, forcing the loose ball and a Viper recovery. The Vipers offense took over at the Shock 49. After what appeared to be a 3-and-out, Shock DT Junior Tagovailoa, of the “we’re having an awesome game” Tagovailoas, blocked the punt. However, Vipers Colton Land recovered it and ran for 87 yards to the Shock 2. His efforts were wasted as the play was called back on a hold. On the next attempt, the snap was bad but the punter was able to get it away for short yards, putting the Shock offense on the field at the Vipers 26. The quarter ended with the Shock still in possession. However the ball was turned over on downs after a lengthy period of incomplete passes.


The Vipers took possession at their own 25. On a 3rd and 5 from their own 27, Sherwood floated one to WR Sage Stireman, who ran it for 59 additional yards and 6 points (2-pt PAT failed). 21-12, Shock; 10:04 4th quarter.


Following the kickoff, the Shock offense began their drive at their own 33, where Ubani, Mann, and rookie Davan Douangboupha made it look like light work into Vipers territory. Ultimately, Wissler hit Thomas on a screen, where he split tacklers and took it 32 yards for 6. The PAT was a fake kick where holder/QB Terry Smothers pulled it and found Graham Smith for 2, ending the scoring for the game. Shock 29, Vipers 12 Final.


Viper QB Schuyler Sherwood completed 12-of-38 for 193 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, and had 2 carries for 20 yards, earning him the position as the Vipers rushing leader. Shock QB Jeff Wissler completed 14-of-31 for 221 yards and 3 touchdowns. Shock RB Matt Mann had 12 carries for 118 yards and IK Ubani had 16 carries for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns.


Sam Thomas was the Shock reception yards leader with 6 catches for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Vipers reception yardage was led by Sage Stireman with 4 catches for 102 yards and a touchdown. Next, was Matt Taylor with 5 catches for 61 yards and Damonte Dexter with 2 catches for 16 yards, including a touchdown.


Next week, both teams will be at Woods Cross High School in Woods Cross, UT for the Stars and Stripes Academy weekend, where the 4-2 Shock will host the 1-4 Vegas Hawks and the 2-3 Vipers will play the 3-2 Brigham Sting.