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  • Val T.

Week 10 preview: Valley hopes undefeated season won’t be railroaded at Garrett

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Sports Editor, RTC

Class 3A, Sectional 26 quarterfinal: Tippecanoe Valley (9-0) at Garrett (4-5), 7 p.m.

Concerns have been few for the Class 3A, No. 7 Vikings this season.

They have marched through their schedule with an undefeated record, and they are in the top 10 in the state in both scoring average (46.7 ppg) and defensive scoring average (7.8 ppg). They are also sixth in the state in scoring margin.

Still, Southwood quarterback Mo Lloyd threw four touchdown passes last week, but Valley also picked him off three times.

Getting Braden Shepherd back after a one-game absence due to a leg injury might help in the pass defense, but Valley coach Stephen Moriarty hopes for better pass defense moving forward.

“Not having Braden at 100 percent, and then the other thing is being able to cover in sticky mud was kind of difficult coming up,” Moriarty said. “But I’ll tell you this: Those are things we will fix come this week. Very frustrating sometimes giving up that many yards. We made some good plays … but there are some things to clean up before we head to Garrett.”

While Valley looks to extend their undefeated season, Garrett is simply trying to avoid their fourth consecutive losing season. Still, Garrett has three wins over Class 4A competition – New Haven, DeKalb and Angola – while Valley has only one win over higher class competition (Wawasee).

Garrett is coming off an 8-0 loss last week to Central Noble, but Moriarty noted that the field conditions were so abysmal as to be not very helpful in preparation.

Garrett relies on the combination of sophomore quarterback Aaden Lytle and junior running back Robert Koskie. Lytle’s athleticism and poise in the pocket are his standout traits, according to Moriarty.

“He got a lot of carries,” Moriarty said of Koskie. “He runs the ball hard. Their sophomore quarterback is very talented, and they have a lot of big receivers. Most of them are like 6-0, 190. Their offensive line too is senior-dominated with quite a few big guys that can move. I think we’ll have to play a good game to compete with them. This will be the best team we’ve seen all year, I would say.”

Valley lost to Garrett 27-14 in the 2011 sectional in their most recent meeting. The last three times Valley has won the TRC title with an undefeated conference record, they have gone on to lose their first sectional game all three times: 2006 to Mishawaka Marian, 2004 to Culver Academy and 1994 to Jimtown.

(Winner plays the Mishawaka Marian-South Bend Washington winner in the semifinals on Oct. 29.)

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