Week 2 preview: After holding Wawasee to 20 yards rushing, Valley looks to stop Fisher, Northfield
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Tippecanoe Valley (1-0, 0-0 Three Rivers Conference) at Northfield (1-0, 0-0), 7 p.m.
The Valley defense blanked Wawasee 26-0 last week, holding the Warriors to 20 yards rushing and recording their eighth shutout since the start of the 2019 season.
“I think overall, I thought we played pretty well defensively,” Valley coach Stephen Moriarty said. “Our defensive line seemed to get stronger as the game progressed, and Noah Prater had an outstanding game at middle linebacker. He led in tackle points, flew around the ball and really set the edge for the defense. The other thing too is we had a couple picks from Landon Durkes, so I was pleased with the overall effort of the defense for sure.”
Moriarty said the defense has changed from a 4-3 to a 4-2-5 defense. Durkes is a strong safety making his first start. Trenton Marshall and Wade Jones are the other safeties. Nate Parker, Markus Bernicky, Cody Black and Mason Young are four cornerbacks who rotate into the game. Alex Parsons also saw time in the secondary.
“We’ve changed defenses a little again this year, going to the 4-2 look, and it seems like our guys are picking it up pretty quickly,” Moriarty said.
Offensively, Moriarty used Nate Parker and Cody Eastgate “about 50-50” at quarterback against Wawasee. Valley ran the ball 42 times and passed it five times against Wawasee. Parker had 18 carries for 101 yards and two touchdowns, and he stays in the game at running back when Eastgate is under center.
“It just depends on what package we’re running that day,” Moriarty explained.
Now Valley will try to move the ball against a Northfield defense that beat Bluffton 21-0 last week. That was Northfield’s first win over Bluffton since 2017.
“Their linebackers,” Moriarty said when asked what impressed him about Northfield’s defense. “They really have talented linebackers with 34 (Jordan Kinsey) coming back from last year. They fly well. It’s going to be hard to run some of our base offense because of the way they scrape so hard and fill the open windows. They’re a very good defense.”
Offensively, Mason Fisher ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns against Bluffton, and he gets help from a stable of senior running backs that includes Kinsey, Joseph Delgado and Jaxton Peas.
“It’s the same stuff they’ve always ran with the midline and veer, and they’ve got the quarterback power this year,” Moriarty said. “Their quarterback moves very well. They’re going to want to try to get him the ball as much as they can.”
Since the start of the 2019 season, Northfield is 0-3 against Valley and 21-10 against everybody else. They have allowed 30 points per game to Valley during that time while also notching five shutouts during that time.