Smith, a senior offensive lineman, passed away on Wednesday night sending a shock wave through the Portland State team and community. After a day off from practice on Thursday, the players elected to resume workouts after being given options from the coaching staff. The result was a positive, as the Vikings had an energetic and eventful scrimmage. “That is the power of sport,” said Viking Coach Bruce Barnum. “It gave these guys a chance to get away from everything else and do what they love for 90 minutes. I was really pleased with what I saw out here.”
The Vikings ran 75 plays on the afternoon, and like last week’s scrimmage, they were highlighted by a pair of breakaway runs. For the second week in a row, redshirt junior ZaQuan Summers broke a big play, going 80 yards for the first score of the day. Three series’ later senior Nate Tago went left for a 65-yard touchdown. Those were two of four touchdowns on the afternoon for the offense.
The defense was not without its big plays though. Junior cornerback Anthony Jenkins forced a fumble with a big hit on running back Steven Long. It was the first and only turnover for the offense in over 140 plays through two scrimmages. The defensive line got to both Viking quarterbacks nine times, getting “touch” sacks. Junior defensive end Davond Dade was in on three of those sacks. In all, the defense made eight series’ stops.
Still, the passing game was sharper than week one. Senior Alex Kuresa completed 6-12 for 94 yards and one touchdown. Redshirt freshman Thomas Hamilton was 9-16 for 115 yards, with a 46-yard scoring toss to junior wide receiver Stevie Coury on the final play of the scrimmage.
Tago rushed nine times for 104 yards and caught three passes for 46 yards. Summers ended the day with 105 yards on six carries.
In the end, the Viking team left the field somewhat rejuvenated after a rough couple of days in what has been a difficult off-season. Smith’s passing on Wednesday night was the second Viking to pass away in the past three months. Linebacker AJ Schlatter died on Jan. 17 following complications after surgery.
As Viking quarterback Alex Kuresa put it, “We felt as a team the best way we could honor Kyle and AJ was by how we played on the football field.”