Vipers fall 53-37 to Florida before 4,373 at VBC
HUNTSVILLE - Florida Firecats running back Wallace House broke through the line of scrimmage, rumbled for eight yards, but was stopped at the goal line with no time left remaining in the game.
House lunged with one arm, but barely missed scoring another touchdown.
It was one of the few times the Vipers stopped Florida's 6-foot 290-pound fullback in the Firecats 53-37 victory over Tennessee Valley. He finished with 91 yards on 11 carries and four touchdowns.
The loss was Tennessee Valley's fourth in a row, and dropped the team to 4-6 on the season, last place in the National South division.
"We have to get back after this and get back on the horse," said Vipers defensive lineman Anthony Jones. "The season is long, we just have to get back on after falling off."
The Firecats parlayed a failed forth down play, and an interception return for a touchdown to run out to a 21-0 lead.
Compounding the issue was a painful knee injury to quarterback Ryan Porter, the replacement for normal starter Tony Colston who has been out since May 12 with a dislocated non-throwing elbow.
Near the end of the first quarter, Porter was tackled by a slew of Firecats after an incomplete pass. He went down and began writhing in pain and banging the turf with his hand.
He finished 9 of 19 for 69 yards and one touchdown.
While backup quarterback Chris Gunn, a former player at North Alabama played admirably in Porter's absence, going 11 of 18 for 140 yards, four touchdowns and one interception the Vipers simply could not stop House.
To start the third quarter, the Vipers scored a touchdown, a seven-yard pass from Gunn to Joel Babb.
But on the next Firecats next possession, on a third-and-one from the Florida 11-yard line, House rumbled for a 39-yard touchdown.
Much of the same occurred on the next two possessions.
A Gunn two-yard touchdown strike to Travis Blanchard was almost immediately answered by a 14-yard score by House.
"We had difficulty stopping their fullback," said Vipers coach Milt Theodosatos. "And when we put too much attention to stopping him that opened up their passing game."
With 5:52 left, the Vipers cut the lead down to seven with another Gunn touchdown pass to Brandon Isaiah. But a failed onside kick put the Firecats on the Vipers 8-yard line, and two plays later, quarterback Chris Wallace sprinted into the end zone to put the score at its final margin.
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