Week 9 preview: Valley hopes to stop Mo, keep momentum going in regular season finale vs. Southwood
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Southwood (4-4, 4-3 TRC) at Tippecanoe Valley (8-0, 6-0), 7 p.m.
The Class 3A, No. 7 Vikings moved within a win of an undefeated regular season with a 54-0 win over Wabash last week.
The shutout was Valley’s third in the last five games, and they held Wabash to 102 yards of offense. They had to adjust to some empty backfield sets – in other words, no running backs in the backfield with the quarterback – but made the necessary in-game adjustments.
Valley’s secondary includes cornerbacks Rex Kirchenstien and Braden Shepherd and safeties Hunter Eherenman and Wade Jones. Jones, a sophomore, had an interception return for a touchdown against Wabash.
“Our secondary is fantastic,” Valley coach Stephen Moriarty said. “It’s been such a nice thing to have a veteran secondary that can stop the pass. The one thing is they came out empty, and we weren’t ready for empty. They had not shown it up until they played us, and I was very pleased with our guys being able to switch so quickly into coverage and not get rattled.”
Meanwhile, both Shepherd and Jamasyn Virgil ran for touchdowns, and sophomore Dalton Alber has become an emerging star at fullback and defensive end.
“He’s a special young man,” Moriarty said. “A player like that comes around every few years. He’s got a motor. And he goes hard every play. And at defensive end, he does a very good job of setting that edge. It’s very difficult to block him. And when he runs the ball, he runs it like he’s on a mission. It’s definitely north and south.”
The win has Valley within a win of their first undefeated regular season since 1987 and their first undefeated TRC record since 2006. Southwood, who has beaten Valley in their last six meetings and who drubbed Valley 32-8 last year to clinch their own undefeated regular season, stands in the way.
Stopping Southwood means stopping the big three of quarterback Mo LLoyd, running back Isaiah Sutton and wide receiver Cole Winer.
“He’s a fantastic runner,” Moriarty said of Lloyd. “That’s one of his biggest things in the game. They’ll have kind of that read option, or they call it the read inside zone where if the defensive end can make a play, then he’s pulling it and taking it himself. With his athletic ability, it’s hard to stop a lot of the times. Keeping him in the box is a key factor for our win on Friday night.”
Southwood beat Whitko 35-0 last week. They have not won consecutive games this season.