Week 9: Valley can wrap up the TRC, undefeated regular season, but first must stop Winer, Southwood
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Tippecanoe Valley (8-0, 7-0 TRC) at Southwood (6-2, 6-1), 7 p.m.
One week away from a second straight undefeated regular season, the Valley offense continues to hum along.
They have scored 182 points in their last three wins over Whitko, Maconaquah and Wabash. That’s their most points in a three-game span since their state championship season of 1979.
They had 528 yards of offense in a 65-19 win over Wabash last week, and they did so despite senior running back Wade Jones missing the game with a leg muscle injury. Twelve different backs had carries, led by Nate Parker’s 170 yards and three touchdowns.
“I thought our offensive line did a good job this week of picking up the blocks when they had to, and the other thing about it is assignment football and understanding their rules and they communicated well,” Valley coach Stephen Moriarty said. “I was just pleased overall how the o-line played and, of course, the backs finding the holes and being able to get as many yards as they can.”
Jones will be back against Southwood, and his presence might help as Southwood has won six straight games since an 0-2 start. The winning streak coincides with coach Dave Snyder moving Cole Winer from wide receiver to quarterback and Mo Lloyd from quarterback to running back.
Southwood is averaging 51.5 points over their last four games. Winer has accounted for 29 touchdowns – 13 passing, 12 rushing, four receiving.
“I’ll be honest with you,” Moriarty said. “He is one of the better quarterbacks in the conference. He is very athletic. He has an extreme touch on the ball. And being athletic, he runs well. Their run plays that they design for him are good. It’s just overall trying to keep him in the box and making sure that he does not have those lanes to run I think is going to be key for us. And to make sure they don’t go deep to (Isaiah) Sutton and Mo Lloyd.”
Lloyd has 528 yards rushing on 5.6 yards per carry, and Nathan Lehner has emerged as a threat at receiver, highlighted by a 10-reception, 210-yard, four-touchdown effort in a 55-25 win over Peru on Sept. 30.
Valley beat Southwood 56-25 last year but has not beaten Southwood on the road since a 45-0 win on Sept. 7, 2012.
Valley has already clinched a share of the TRC title and can clinch it outright with a win. If Southwood wins, there will be a three-way tie between Valley, Southwood and the winner of the Rochester-Maconaquah game.