Week 4 preview: Valley wary of Manchester’s speedy Ream, Gaerte
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Manchester (1-1, 1-0 TRC) at Tippecanoe Valley (3-0, 2-0), 7 p.m.
The Tippecanoe Valley football team’s offense had their ability to adjust tested against Peru last week.
The Tigers sacked Valley quarterback Branson McBrier for a safety in the first quarter and faced their first deficit of the year. They responded with 22 unanswered points.
And when Peru got within 22-9 in the third quarter on a Matt Roettger touchdown run, Jamasyn Virgil replied with a 68-yard touchdown run. It was one of four Virgil touchdown runs on the night.
Valley went on to win 45-9 to avenge a loss to Peru last year.
Not only is Valley 3-0 for the first time since 2007, but their 131 points scored is their most through the first three games since 2007.
Valley had 349 yards of offense last week – 210 yards rushing and 139 passing.
Picking up Peru’s near-constant blitzing, Valley coach Stephen Moriarty credited the offensive line for “hanging in there.”
“I would say yes outside of the tackles,” Moriarty said when asked if that was his team’s best rushing performance of the season. “At the beginning of the game, we didn’t have much success running inside. We had to attack the outside a little bit more. So that helped us in the second half open up a little bit of both (inside and outside running). But I would say the ... running game was about the best outside the tackles we’ve had in awhile.”
The pressure might be more on the Valley defense this week when they host Manchester. Valley hasn’t lost to Manchester since 2014, and that includes a 48-18 win at Smith-Bibler Memorial Stadium, Home of Death Valley Football last year.
But Manchester has big play threats in quarterback Brock Casper, running back Braxton Ream and wide receivers Seth Gaerte and Dylan Stroud. Ream and Gaerte are known for their big-play ability.
“He is a special back,” Moriarty said of Ream. “When he gets in the open field, it’s going to be very tough to catch him. Same thing with Gaerte. Both of them are back, and both of them have given us trouble in the past. This by far will be the best offensive team we’ve faced all year. With all the weapons that they have, it’s going to be hard to contain them.”