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  • Val T.

Week 10 preview: After suffering first loss to Southwood, Valley seeks to rebound vs. Tigers

BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

Class 3A, Sectional 28 quarterfinal: Tippecanoe Valley (8-1) at Peru (3-6), 7 p.m.

(winner plays Guerin Catholic-Oak Hill winner in semifinals)

Did Gage Overbey make his 20-yard field goal attempt with nine seconds left against Southwood last week?

Valley fans might have thought he made it, but the officials said he missed it, and it was the difference between Valley winning the Three Rivers Conference title outright and them sharing the title with the Knights and Rochester.

“It did appear to be in from our vantage point, but they said that it just was outside the goal post,” Valley coach Stephen Moriarty said. “It’s difficult to say when (the goalpost) is straight up above. … It’s just kind of a weird angle for us. We thought it was in, and they had other thoughts.”

Valley outrushed Southwood 288-84 – Nate Parker had 240 yards and four touchdowns by himself – and committed no turnovers.

“Nate was asking for the ball, and we gave it to him quite a bit,” Valley coach Stephen Moriarty said. “I think we did have others that got touches but not as much as Nate did. That’s part of our focus this week is to try to get the fullback the ball a little bit more up the middle and maybe to work a little bit on our passing game to improve it to help with the run game in general.”

But the Knights scored 15 straight points to start the second half to grab a 21-12 lead, and they stayed ahead from there.

Valley allowed an 83-yard touchdown pass from Cole Winer to Mo Lloyd and a 52-yard touchdown pass from Winer to Isaiah Sutton.

“It was definitely the big plays that got us,” Moriarty said. “They just got behind our secondary a little bit and were able to connect on a couple deep passes which in turn hurt us quite a bit. … Mo Lloyd and Sutton are both fantastic and very fast.”

Valley, who dropped out of the Associated Press Class 3A poll after receiving votes every week of the season, will try to rebound against a Peru team in the sectional quarterfinals.

Valley beat Peru 41-22 on Sept. 2 at home and will now travel to Bengal Memorial Stadium. Valley has won four of their last five meetings against Peru, though the Tigers did snap a four-game losing streak with a 19-18 win over Manchester last week.

Moriarty said he thinks the loss will help the players “refocus.”

Junior quarterback Matt Roettger and junior fullback Alex Ross each had 132 yards rushing against Manchester. Those two had 25 yards rushing combined in the Sept. 2 game at Valley.

Ross also stars on defense from his linebacker spot.

Moriarty also noted that defensive end Braxton Strong, who missed the regular season meeting due to injury, will be back.

In fact, he said that Peru’s gap-control defense is not unlike Valley’s.

“Ross does a good job on defense flying around to the ball,” Moriarty said. “He’s very effective. He does a good job, and also having Strong back – he plays a good d-end – last time Strong wasn’t there, he was injured, and he’ll be back this time.”

Moriarty said that running back-safety Wade Jones’s status is uncertain. Jones has missed the last two games. Moriarty declined to specify the injury that forced Jones to miss the Southwood game.

If Valley wins, they will host their semifinal game against either No. 12 Guerin Catholic or No. 3 Oak Hill.

“Focus on the little things,” Moriarty said of the practice objective this week. “Simplify everything.”


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