JAMESTOWN — In the big picture, the Valley City State University football team wants every win it can get.
But a win over Jamestown College? That's even sweeter.
"It's always a big game for us," Valley City coach Dennis McCulloch said. "It's a high expectation game. I get a lot of people saying 'Coach Mac, good luck this week,' a lot of interest from our alumni. It's a huge game for us."
The Vikings won Saturday's rivalry game with the Jimmies 13-10 in front of a loud crowd at Jamestown's Taylor Stadium.
The win keeps the rivalry's Paint Can trophy in Valley City until at least Oct. 20, when the Jimmies and Vikings play again at Lokken Stadium.
It was a game in which offenses hardly ran rampant. Instead, it turned into a defensive battle as Jamestown limited Valley City to 233 yards of offense.
Although the Jimmies had 335 yards of offense, they also had four drives stopped within the 35 yard line and didn't score a touchdown until there were three seconds left to play.
The lack of offense didn't keep Valley City from getting on the board, though. Instead, the Vikings started the game in the best way possible when Derek Elliot caught the opening kickoff at the 10 yard line on the right side of the field. He then zig zagged his way past a few blocks and ran diagonally towards the left side, breaking free and scoring a 90-yard touchdown seven seconds into the game.
A field goal by Thomas Cortez made it 7-0.
McCulloch called the return "redemption" for Elliot, who fumbled the ball on the same play last week.
Running back Taylor Cino said the return set the pace for the rest of the game.
"That set everything up," he said. "Without that, it would have been 0-0 going into halftime. It would have been a completely different game."
Jamestown nearly ran it right back, taking the ensuing kickoff to VCSU's 35 yard line.
A 16-yard run by Lance Johansen got the ball into the red zone, which caused Jamestown to move into a passing offense, which VCSU thrived on. The Vikes allowed only one completed pass, for four yards, in Gus Ramasco's first three attempts, forcing the Jimmies to settle for a field goal attempt.
The 27-yarder by Ryan Benke ended up missing wide right. The teams traded three-and-outs for a bit, which included an interception by Garrett Jackson that ended a Jimmie drive.
The Viking defense continued to shine into the second quarter, even as the offense struggled, as did the the special teams, which blocked a field goal early in the second quarter.
By halftime, the only score for either team was Elliot's return to open the game.
Jamestown started the scoring in the second half, ending a 44-yard drive with a 25-yard field goal by Craig Anderson to narrow Valley City's lead to 7-3.
Valley City then had a drive of their own. Runs by Elliot and a pass from Tommy Zinke to Colby Lum got the ball into Jamestown's half of the field. The Vikings then nearly lost the ball on a fumble by Cino. The Vikings got the ball back, however, on a personal foul called against Jamestown.
Zinke and Cino ran the ball further and a pass from Zinke to Lum got the ball to the Jimmies' 2 yard line. Cino then ran it the rest of the way for a touchdown, although Cortez missed the point-after kick.
The Vikings tried for another scoring drive late in the game after returning a punt to Jamestown's 43-yard line. A 36 yard pass from Zinke to Elliot got the Vikings 1st and 10 at Jamestown's 11, but a personal foul moved it back to the 27, which VCSU couldn't recover from, ending the drive on downs.
"There were just too many of those kinds of penalties on both sides," McCulloch said. "We've got to eliminate those plays. It's a high intensity game, this rivarly, but we've got to eliminate some of those penalties."
Jamestown got the ball left with a minute and a half, and ran a quick drive, scoring on a pass from Gus Ramasco to Alex Hernandez with three seconds left.
Valley City was led offensively by Taylor Cino, who had 79 yards on 17 attempts. It was the second week in a row that Cino has led the Vikings. He put up 120 yards against Dakota State last week after having 26 combined yards in the first two games.
"Taylor's just taken a new attitude," McCulloch said."Taylor's attitude of running the ball hard and physical, it's just been a great dimension for us and he's running with confidence."
Zinke finished 8-18 for 104 yards with Elliot (2 catches for 38 yards) and Ken Eliacin (3-32) as his top receivers.
Johansen led Jamestown's rushers with 169 yards on 24 carries and Matt Mithaugen had 55 yards on 11 carries. Ramasco finished 13-33 with 120 passing yards.