Every week, Northeast quarterback Marqueon Minor hears or reads about how bad the Vikings are going to lose Friday.
But this year, the Vikings are 5-0 heading into Friday’s District 6-2A matchup with Capitol, and Minor wants the team’s critics to know something: Northeast has a boulder-sized chip on its shoulder and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
“It’s these critics saying we’re going to lose, so our team really feels like we have to show what they don’t know,” Minor said. “We have to show them that we aren’t what we used to be.”
The Vikings won four games in the 2013 regular season and wouldn’t have made the playoffs if nearly every team in 2A qualified for the postseason.
Northeast won its first round matchup against Lakeside 28-12, one of only three teams in the district to win a postseason game.
The 2014 preseason was filled with hype surrounding the district’s two favorites in defending champion Episcopal and East Feliciana.
The Vikings responded by outscoring opponents 102-29 this season, all while beating a team in all five classifications in the process.
The run has also earned the Vikings some recognition as they received votes in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Class 2A poll this week. No. 7 Episcopal is the only team from District 6-2A ranked in the Top 10.
“Our players aren’t shocked or surprised about what’s going on, and neither are our coaches,” Northeast coach David Masterson said. “Maybe people from the outside just didn’t realize what we had coming back.”
The Vikings originally returned 18 starters from last season, but injuries have taken their toll on an already thin roster.
The biggest hit to the program came in Week 3 against Tara when all-district wide receiver Darryl Adams went down with a stress fracture in his leg on a 62-yard touchdown run that was called back for holding. Adams is expected to return to action for the playoffs.
“(Adams) was one of those people who could always get in the end zone,” Minor said. “With him getting hurt, I can’t make those big passes. Since he’s been hurt, we haven’t been scoring but two to three touchdowns a game.”
The offense adjusted by having No. 3 receiver Jarmon Bradford and Ramon Parker split time at the spot. Bradford also fills in part time at Adams’ safety position as well.
For now, Masterson said the Vikings are looking good as they’re on course for an excellent season, but the coach is cautiously optimistic because unlike its record, the team is still far from perfect.
“It’s kind of like golf, can you ever play a perfect game?” Masterson said. “I think football is the same way. You can play a great game, but there’s always something you can improve on.”