BENICIA — Vanden High’s playoff hopes evaporated quickly Friday at Benicia’s Drolette Stadium as the host Panthers scored twice in the first six minutes en route to a 20-6 victory.
The win drops the Vikings to 2-7 overall and 1-3 in the Solano County Athletic Conference and Benicia stays in hot pursuit at 7-2, 3-1.
The Panthers monopolized the clock in the first half, keeping the Vikings off the field. When Vanden did have the ball in the first half, it was held to just 18 total plays of offense and one first down, which came when Christian Basden hauled in a 14-yard toss from Vikings quarterback Jadon Brisendine.
“Benicia did a fantastic job of keeping us off the field,” said Vanden head coach LeVon Haynes. “When you have a high-powered offense like ours, the best way to stop us is to not let us on the field.”
The Panthers made it a rough night for Brisendine, who threw three interceptions and notched 90 passing yards. The brightest spot of the night came on the Vikings only score of the game, a 23-yard touchdown pass from Brisendine to Ren Littlepage in the fourth quarter.
The tally required every ounce of effort from Littlepage, who stumbled near the Benicia sideline, propped himself back up after being untouched and ran the rest of the way to the end zone. Littlepage led all Vanden rushers with 46 yards. Basden, meanwhile, led Vanden receivers with four catches for 52 yards.
While Vanden’s touchdown came with less than five minutes remaining, the other three touchdowns came in the first 14 minutes.
Benicia’s first touchdown came on an exhaustive 15-play drive that included four third-down conversions. Travis Lawrence punched the ball in from 2 yards out on his only rush of the night to give the Panthers a 6-0 edge with 6:45 to go in the first quarter.
Three plays later, Benicia got the ball right back after Sam Maday picked off Brisendine deep in Vanden territory. Taking over inside the red zone, Benicia capped a five-play drive when Drae Randolph burst through a pile of defenders for a 2-yard score.
After a four-and-out from the Vikings — whose every first-half possession ended in either a punt or interception — the Panthers marched 73 yards in just more than three minutes for their final TD of the game with 10:46 to go in the second quarter. Clayton Reza scored from 1 yard out on his only carry of the game.
Vanden shut out the Panthers from then on, including a goal line stop on downs early in the third quarter at the Vikings’ 1.
Benicia JV 48, Vanden 6: The Panthers stymied the visiting Vikings junior varsity squad, lowering Vanden to 6-3 overall and 2-2 on the year.
The Vikings lone score came on an 85-yard pass from D’Angelo Green to Christian Pointer.
The Vikings had four turnovers to Benicia’s one.