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  • Val T.

Better Nate than never: Parker scores late, but Valley commits 4 turnovers in loss to Chatard


Sports Editor, RTC

Nate Parker

INDIANAPOLIS — Aidan Arteaga threw three touchdown passes, and the top-ranked Indianapolis Chatard football team forced visiting Tippecanoe Valley into four turnovers in earning a 40-7 win in a Class 3A, Sectional 28 quarterfinal at Alumni Field Friday.

Daniel Adams and Daniel Shaw each added touchdown runs, and Sam Feeney had a 24-yard fumble return for a touchdown for the Trojans.

Nate Parker averted the shutout with a 6-yard touchdown run for co-No. 3 Valley on the final carry of his prep career with nine seconds left. Gage Overbey tacked on the extra point.

By then, the IHSAA mercy rule was in effect, and there was a running clock.

Indianapolis Chatard improved to 10-0. They will travel to Guerin Catholic for a semifinal next week. Guerin Catholic defeated Three Rivers Conference champion Peru 27-19 in their quarterfinal.

Valley finished the season 9-1. This ended a five-year streak in which they had won a sectional game. They remain without a sectional title since 1992.

Chatard listed 85 players from grades 10-12 on their roster while Valley had 41.

“We got overcome there at the end (of the second quarter),” Valley coach Stephen Moriarty said. “I think we played hard to a point, but just to recover from some of that stuff can be challenging.”

Parker, the No. 2 rusher in Valley history, was playing for the first time since a 35-13 win over West Lafayette on Sept. 29. Parker ran for 236 yards in that game but suffered a foot injury and missed wins over John Glenn and Bremen.

Brandon Stiles, who missed the Bremen game with a foot injury, and Grady Moriarty, who suffered a broken leg four weeks ago, also returned for Valley. However, center and outside linebacker Issiac Ramsey suffered an ankle injury and was hobbled for much of the game.

Valley committed two turnovers in the first quarter. Senior Ryan Keating picked off Valley quarterback Cody Eastgate on the sideline in front of the Valley sideline on the first possession, and Keating recovered a fumble after Parker took a jarring hit on Valley’s second possession.

After both turnovers, Valley’s defense would recover to force Chatard punts.

On Valley’s third possession, they got three first downs and moved from their own 20 to the Chatard 37.

But facing fourth-and-7, Feeney, Chatard’s all-state outside linebacker, snowed Eastgate under for a sack and an 11-yard loss.

Chatard followed with a five-play, 52-yard drive that Arteaga capped by floating a 25-yard pass into the arms of receiver Colin Guy for a 25-yard touchdown.

After a touchback on the ensuing kickoff and a Valley three-and-out, Chatard went on a 10-play, 54-yard drive. Arteaga hit Feeney for four yards on third-and-3, and Shaw carried the ball on the final three plays, including a 19-yard run in which he escaped a tackle attempt from Brock Derf at the line and a 1-yard touchdown run two plays after that.

Then came a high, short kickoff from Jasper Chapman, which touched a Valley player trying to dive for it. Feeney recovered at the Valley 22, and Chatard capitalized this time. On third-and-4 from the 16, Arteaga feathered a pass just over the fingertips of Parker to Guy, who made a diving catch in the back of the end zone with 18 seconds left in the half.

Chatard led 21-0 at halftime.

“We couldn’t stop their pass there at the end,” coach Moriarty said. “They ended up running too quite a bit there at the end.”

Chatard then got the ball to start the second half and drove 73 yards in 10 plays. The Trojans converted a fourth-and-1 from their own 36, and they later got the touchdown on a 22-yard screen from Arteaga to Jack Weybright, who went in reverse motion to get open, split four Valley defenders cut to the left sideline and then cut back inside to avoid Parker.

In a span of 9:33 covering the second and third quarters, Chatard had 24 offensive snaps while Valley had one, and the lead went from 7-0 to 27-0.

“The way they do things, they’re very well-coached, and they’ve got a lot of athletes,” coach Moriarty said. “You know, we can’t cover them all sometimes when we get in situations like that. We played with heart; we just couldn’t overcome it.”

Feeney’s 23-yard fumble return came on a mishandled exchange between Eastgate and a running back and made it 34-0.

Valley varied their offensive looks, giving tight end Landon Durkes a carry behind a bunch formation and running a series of wildcat plays in the second quarter with Wade Jones at quarterback. The wildcat was a response to Cincinnati Elder having success in a wildcat set against Chatard last week.

Also, when all-state linebacker Luke Purichia would blitz up the middle, Valley would be careful to pick it up and run around the perimeter.

Chatard responded by varying their defensive looks and would even shift their defensive linemen a split second before the snap.

“They went into it with a 3-4, and at the end of the game, they switched to a 4-3 and started coming off the corners a little bit, which was tough to stop,” coach Moriarty said. “And they kept switching. They would rotate in and out of fronts. Right before we snapped the ball, they’d shift a little bit, and sometimes that’s hard for us because we haven’t seen a lot of that.”

Adams, the only freshman on a roster of 86 players, ran 11 yards for a touchdown to make it 40-0 with 6:09 left.

With time running out on their season, Valley answered with a seven-play drive, all runs. Parker had three carries for 31 yards, and Dalton Alber had two carries for 15 yards on the drive. Stiles also had a 15-yard run on the drive.

Coach Moriarty later said that his players were determined to get Parker one final touchdown. That score symbolized their love for each other.

“About a half-hour before the game started, I would say,” coach Moriarty said when asked when he knew Parker would be able to play. “So we kind of just wanted to see if he could do warmups, even if he could run on his foot during warmups. I knew in my heart it would be hard to keep him off the field tonight.”

Indianapolis Chatard 40, Tippecanoe Valley 7

Valley 0 0 0 7 – 7

Chatard 0 21 13 6 – 40

First quarter

(no scoring)

Second quarter

IBC – Colin Guy 25 pass from Aidan Arteaga (Jasper Chapman kick)

IBC – Daniel Shaw 1 run (Chapman kick)

IBC – Guy 16 pass from Arteaga (Chapman kick)

Third quarter

IBC – Jack Weybright 22 pass from Arteaga (kick failed)

IBC – Sam Feeney 23 fumble return (Jackson Schroeder kick)

Fourth quarter

IBC – Daniel Adams 11 run (pass failed)

TV – Nate Parker 6 run (Gage Overbey kick)

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