Week 3 preview: Without injured Cisneros, Valley will try to avenge loss to Peru
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Tippecanoe Valley at Peru, 7 p.m.
The Tippecanoe Valley football team has set a high standard for itself.
They have beaten Wawasee and Northfield by a combined score of 86-20 and are 2-0 for the first time since 2007. They have not trailed at any point so far.
They had four scoring plays over 50 yards, and three different players – Jamasyn Virgil, Braden Shepherd and Karl Parker – had a hand in those big plays.
Still, the evidence of the high standard that it is setting for itself is that coach Stephen Moriarty wants to see better offensive line play. Specifically, he said the offensive line didn’t pick up Northfield’s blitzers well.
“That’s the right assumption,” Moriarty said when asked if his team’s speed was a factor. “I mean, I don’t think we blocked well up front this game, but luckily, our speed helped us out quite a bit to get those open plays and to get the opportunities that we had just so we could get in scoring position or score in general. … I am very proud of the (offensive line). We’ve just got some room to improve here these next couple weeks to get better to take it to the next level. … We just have room for improvement all the way around.”
Moriarty and the Vikings found out that any improvement will have to occur without senior fullback-inside linebacker Joel Cisneros, who is out with a season-ending shoulder injury.
But if they do improve, Valley hopes the better offensive play will show itself against a Peru team that beat them 21-18 at Smith-Bibler Memorial Field, Home of Death Valley Football last year and a team that held Whitko to less than 150 total yards last week in a 39-7 win.
Moriarty said Valley must corral quarterback Levi Strong, who he said is also Peru’s top running threat. He said Peru’s offense is “very explosive with a lot of weapons.”
Defensively, Moriarty said Peru will show both a 3-4 look and a 5-2 look. In the 3-4, they might move the outside linebackers to the line to make it look like a five-man front. Moriarty said offensive linemen must be prepared and alert because they will have differing assignments on each play depending on Peru’s defensive formation.
Moriarty described the locker room atmosphere as “focused” and credited the seniors for keeping it focused. He admitted that Valley “overlooked” Peru last year.
“We’re going to have to stop the things that hurt us last year,” Moriarty said. “They had a lot of yards against us last year. And to focus on those and to slow their quarterback is going to be a big key for us if we want to win the game.”
In addition to Cisneros, Kyler Johnson will also be out for two weeks with an injury.