Jones in all 3 phases: 44 yards receiving, 2 interceptions, 65-yard punt
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
WALKERTON — Tippecanoe Valley senior Dalton Alber had been one of the offensive guards creating holes for backs like Nate Parker, Brandon Stiles and Trent Marshall to run behind through the first seven games of the season.
Against John Glenn Saturday, he was one of those backs, and Alber returned to his fullback roots to rush for 42 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Class 3A, No. 5 Vikings to a 37-14 win over host John Glenn at Hostrawser Field.
Valley improved to 8-0, and they did so without Parker, who missed the game due to a foot injury. Parker ran for 236 yards and three touchdowns on 40 carries in a win over West Lafayette last week, and he also had an interception and a fumble recovery on defense. Parker has moved up to second on Valley’s all-time rushing list. He is 39 yards away from 3,000 for his career, a milestone that only 1980 Valley grad Tim Alspaugh has reached.
John Glenn fell to 4-4.
Even without Parker and sophomore fullback Grady Moriarty, who is out for the season with a broken leg, Valley had 253 rushing yards. No Valley running back had more than 47 yards rushing, but four different Valley backs had at least 40 yards – Marshall, Alber, Stiles and quarterback Cody Eastgate.
Eastgate also had two touchdown runs, one on a 1-yard quarterback sneak in the second quarter and one on a 17-yard naked bootleg in the third quarter.
“We knew Nate was out all week,” Valley coach Stephen Moriarty said. “We were trying to heal him up. We did a trial run on Thursday. He got the green light, but he was just still a little tender. So we decided to bench him tonight, and then hopefully we’ll see if he can come back next week and see if he can get that record of Alspaugh’s.”
Meanwhile, Valley held John Glenn to -14 yards on the ground. That included a 28-yard loss on an errant snap over punter A.J. Lubelski’s head on John Glenn’s first possession of the second half. Lubelski ran to the loose ball lying on the goal line and kicked it out of the back of the end zone for a Valley safety.
Wade Jones had two interceptions on defense, one of which he returned 26 yards to set up a 3-yard Alber scoring run in the third quarter. He also had a 34-yard reception on a third-and-19 play on offense to help set up a touchdown where he made an acrobatic catch while falling down near the sideline and another 10-yard catch on a drive that led to a Valley score. He also had a 65-yard punt.
Jones studied the tendencies of John Glenn quarterback Chase Miller on film leading up to the game. He wanted to prevent John Glenn senior receiver Ty’Ronn Larkin from big plays running the slant. Jones said he discovered the Falcons specialize in three specific routes – slant, post and corner.
“When it comes to football, film, it’s very important,” Jones said. “You’ve got the physical part, but you’ve also got the mental part. You’ve got to prepare yourself for the game. When it comes to watching film, it’s really important to watch the formations and what kind of routes they run out of those formations. The quarterback, he liked to look at his receivers the whole time, so I knew going into the game wherever he focuses his eyes on, that’s where it was going to be.”
Defensive tackle Cameron Mason also had an interception
Mason Kobelt had a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown with 1:39 left in the first quarter for John Glenn, but Chase Miller missed a potential game-tying extra point, and Valley still led 7-6.
Valley then scored 30 unanswered points. John Glenn’s only offensive score came on Miller’s 29-yard touchdown pass to Julian McMahan with 26.2 seconds left.
“I think our defensive line play tonight was fantastic,” coach Moriarty said. “Of course, with Landon Durkes and Brock Derf and Issiac Ramsey stepping up and filling in for Grady, he had a fantastic night of coming up and especially sniffing out the screen at the end of the game there, I think altogether the guys sticking to the plan too. Knowing the defensive calls and sticking with it, they did a good job.”
Valley forced a John Glenn three-and-out possession to start the game and drove 64 yards in nine plays for the opening score. Kyler Johnson had a 19-yard reception along the far sideline on a well-located pass from Eastgate on third-and-5, and Alber followed with a tone-setting run from a power-I formation two plays later – a 22-yard rumble over three John Glenn defenders before he was stopped at the 1.
He scored on the next play to make it 7-0.
“It was very exciting,” Alber said of playing fullback again. “It brought back some memories from last year carrying the ball. We put it in early in the week because we knew Nathan Parker wasn’t going to be playing with us this week, so we had some roles to fill, so we had to try that out.”
Coach Moriarty said the coaches used that as motivation.
“When linemen run the ball, the linemen get excited,” coach Moriarty said. “And to see him just start pounding and driving like he used to just really did lift up the team, and they were pretty pumped up right off the bat.”
After Kobelt’s interception return, Valley’s next drive was 11 plays, all runs. Jones had an 11-yard run, and Marshall had a 10-yard run before Alber scored from the 3.
Mason’s interception and Jones’ 34-yard catch led to Eastgate’s quarterback sneak touchdown.
Jones also had a 10-yard reception on a wide receiver screen, and Stiles had a 12-yard run before Eastgate faked out the Falcon defense and went around the left perimeter and was barely touched on his way to the end zone.
Jones’ second interception gave Valley the ball on the John Glenn 9 with 2:06 left, and Alber capped the drive, which came one play after John Glenn was called for pass interference in the end zone.
“We knew (Friday) that he officially wasn’t going to play today,” Jones said. “But we have a lot of depth on our team, so a lot of those players stepped up and really showcased today, so I’m proud of all of them.”
Alber is also an all-state defensive end who had a hand in limiting Kobelt on the ground. Kobelt had 113 yards rushing in his previous game, but Valley held him to three yards Saturday.
“Being physical because they’re physical,” Alber said of stopping John Glenn’s running game. “Going out there and hitting them and doing your job. … (They were) very physical, and they were never out of the fight. All the way to the fourth quarter, they were always in it, and they were just going out there and playing football like us.”
Moriarty was asked about John Glenn’s physical style and what that said about how Valley plays.
“Oh my word, yeah. They just hit the whole game, and they just kept coming. …But we are pretty tough and pride ourselves on not getting outhit.”
Valley 37, John Glenn 14
Valley 7 14 16 0 – 37
John Glenn 6 0 0 8 – 14
TV – Dalton Alber 1 run (Gage Overbey kick)
JG – Mason Kobelt 40 interception return (kick failed)
TV – Alber 3 run (Overbey kick)
TV – Cody Eastgate 1 run (Overbey kick)
TV – Safety, Lubelski kicked ball out of end zone
TV – Eastgate 17 run (Overbey kick)
TV – Alber 3 run (Overbey kick)
JG – Julian McMahan 29 pass from Chase Miller (Brody King pass from Miller)