Week 6 preview: After beating North Judson, Valley returns to TRC play vs. Whitko
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Whitko (1-4, 1-3) at Tippecanoe Valley (5-0, 3-0), 7 p.m.
The right side of the Tippecanoe Valley offensive line might be the most heralded with guard Wade Melanson and tackle D.J. Estep, and center Grady McGriff is another returning veteran.
But Braden Shepherd’s three big plays in last week’s 26-10 win over North Judson – a 15-yard touchdown run, a 61-yard touchdown run and a 44-yard touchdown reception on a screen – all came to the left side behind newcomers Noah Prater and Evan Maish.
“Me, Evan and Noah, we’ve got a lot of touchdowns together,” Shepherd said after the North Judson game. “We’ve got that chemistry. I don’t know what it is about running to that left side. It seems to be working really well this year. We’re probably going to keep doing it.”
Valley coach Stephen Moriarty complimented his offensive line.
“Going back and watching film, I thought they did much better than what I thought after Friday night’s game,” Moriarty said. “I think North Judson just does a great job of being disciplined. They wrong-arm a lot of things and blow things up. When you wrong-arm a trap, it’s hard to block it. And they do a good job of that. But I thought overall we did pretty well.”
Defensively, Valley allowed only 113 yards and no offensive touchdowns in the win over North Judson. The challenge this week will be stopping a Whitko rushing attack that had over 250 yards against North Miami and scored a season high in points in a 21-14 win.
Still, Whitko is averaging only eight points per game while Valley allows just eight per game.
Tyler Veach figures prominently for Whitko as both a running back on offense and a linebacker on defense.
Moriarty said he and offensive coordinator Carl Weaver grew up around Veach’s father Russ and uncle Jason.
“I think he’s a hard-nosed kid,” Moriarty said of Tyler Veach. “Knowing his family’s history and knowing his dad (Russ), they are athletic, and they are always winners. He seems to move very well, and he finishes everything that he does. He’s good at finishing runs. Blitzing is the same way at middle linebacker. … We’re going to have our eyes up to pick him up this week.”
Valley has won the last four meetings in the series, including a 57-24 win in South Whitley last year. Branson McBrier threw for 273 yards and five touchdown passes in that game. Rex Kirchenstien had 105 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Jamasyn Virgil accounted for 118 yards of total offense and also scored two touchdowns.