Week 2 preview: Valley seeks first 2-0 start since 2007 against Northfield
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Northfield (0-1, 0-0 TRC) at Tippecanoe Valley (1-0, 0-0), 7 p.m.
The Valley offense spread the wealth in a 42-7 win over Wawasee last week. Five different players scored a touchdown and no individual player had more than 96 yards of offense.
“I think we knew coming into the game with the heat that we were going to have to pass around the ball quite a bit,” Valley coach Stephen Moriarty said. “I’m trying to make sure that we didn’t wear down Jamasyn (Virgil). Braden was going to be a key because we need him on defense so much.”
Meanwhile, the defense held Wawasee to 164 yards of offense, and while 57 of those yards came on one pass play in the fourth quarter, Valley had assumed a 36-0 lead by that point.
The win was Valley’s first in a season opener since 2010, and pollsters noticed: Valley is ranked No. 17 in this week’s Class 3A poll after receiving no poll votes last week.
“It’s nice to start out on a positive note,” Moriarty said. “You’re not having to do damage control and try to pick their spirits back up. It’s almost the opposite at this point: Keeping them focused for this week against Northfield, that’s the one challenge we’ve had.”
If they stay focused, they might achieve their first 2-0 start since 2007, when they were a top five team under coach Jeff Shriver for much of the season before eventually finishing 8-2.
Northfield brings back senior quarterback Jake Halderman, senior running backs Jayden Goshert and Jacob Snyder and three starting offensive linemen from last year’s team that went 6-4. Coach Brandon Baker, who guided Northfield’s softball team to the 1A state title in June, is back on the sidelines for his ninth season.
Look for Northfield to run the midline with the fullback as well as the veer.
“I think they run their offense very well,” Moriarty said. “It’s a program offense. It’s that type of offense that’s meant to slow you down and hurt you in the middle. Lull you to sleep, you’d say, when all of a sudden they go outside. This is a very, very well coached team. Always are with Baker.
“This one makes me nervous. I’ll be honest with you. Always playing him does, and it always seems like a game. With their experience on the offense and on the defense too, we’re going to have a hard time stopping them.”
Northfield lost at home to Bluffton 20-7 last week. It marks the fourth straight year that Northfield has lost their season opener to Bluffton.
Valley has won the last two meetings with Northfield, including an 18-10 win in Wabash County last year. They have also won their last three TRC home games.