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  • Val T.

Week 5 preview: 3A, No. 15 Valley seeks first win over Culver Academy since 2010


Sports Editor, RTC

Culver Academy (2-2) at Tippecanoe Valley (4-0), 7 p.m.

Nate Parker had 1,375 yards rushing last season on 7.0 yards per attempt last year, which would be considered.

He has improved that to 9.8 yards per carry on 55 carries this year.

Last year, he had 12 receptions. This year, he already has nine, and he has tacked another 187 yards of receiving to his 539-yard rushing output.

Parker ran for four touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass in a 53-0 win over Tipton last week, and the 4-0 Vikings received their first Associated Press poll votes this week, taking the No. 15 spot.

Parker is No. 6 on Valley’s all-time rushing list with 2,345 rushing yards, according to Valley football historian Micah Lukens. He is six yards away from passing Lee Swihart and moving into the top five.

His 7.56 yards per carry average for his career is better than any of the runners ahead of him on the all-time list.

“I think with being older, you get a little wiser, and I think he’s understanding the offense more and being a little bit more patient with his blocks and letting things care of themselves in front of him and letting his offensive line work a little bit, like when they’re pulling,” Valley coach Stephen Moriarty said. “And getting there and then finding a seam. And I think his vision has improved a little bit. I think he’s improved his vision of the field as he’s gotten older, and I think that helps him because he still has the same running style where he’s hard to bring down.”

After beating more familiar foes Wawasee and Rochester to start the season, Valley is facing its third straight addition to the schedule in Culver Academy. They are coming off wins over Twin Lakes and Tipton, first-time opponents.

Moriarty was asked how the coaching staff has adapted to the new schedule.

“I feel like I watch more film now than I have in the past few years, just because of the fact that it’s a new opponent,” Moriarty said. “And learning what their offensive schemes are, getting in certain situations that you get to that same coach every year, it’s just like the TRC playing against us and you get into that groove and you know what we do. These guys, we ‘ve got to see and dive into what’s their philosophies on fourth-and-short, do they like to go for it, and things like that as we go through.

“So it’s been very exciting to be honest as a coach because you’re getting that new experience and a new team to prepare for, so it’s something you haven’t seen in awhile … or ever.”

Valley and Culver Academy are meeting for the first time since the Eagles won 16-0 in the 2020 season opener at Smith-Bibler Memorial Field Home of Death Valley Football.

In fact, Culver Academy has won the last 11 meetings between the teams, which includes 10 regular season meetings and a 2014 sectional quarterfinal.

Valley has not beaten Culver Academy since 2010.

Culver Academy is coming off a 39-31 overtime loss to Fairfield last week.

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