Photo Courtesy of Darci Walters
Week 3 Keys: Unfamiliar Foe
By Baylen Hite | 107.3 WRSW
After facing maybe the most familiar opponent in Tippecanoe Valley Football history last week, the Vikings will switch gears and face a first time opponent in the Twin Lakes Indians.
Despite Twin Lakes struggling for the better part of the last 10 seasons have good reason to believe sustained success is on the horizon for a program that has not won a sectional title since 2002.
The reason for that hope? New head coach Kevin O’Shea who joined the team last winter after breaking a sectional drought at North Central, and before that winning 5 state championships at Laffayette Central Catholic.
O’shea inherits a young team led by sophomore QB Ethan Need and the Indians have won their first two games of the year. This is big in of itself considering this group didn’t accomplish that in 10 tries last season finishing (1-9).
Needless to say this is a team trending in the right direction making it a challenging matchup for Valley this week. There are some things the Vikings can do though to ensure they start their season (3-0).
With two brand new teams facing off so often we see the team that can understand the others behaviors get out to an early advantage. The Vikings must learn on the fly and try to develop a plan to slow down the spread offense that will be shown by the Indians.
With a sophomore QB at the helm of the offense and a new defense for Twin Lakes. Tippecanoe Valley must stay consistent and let their opponent make mistakes. Chances are if you let an inexperienced team try and force something you will be able to take advantage but once you let them get comfortable they are playing with nothing to lose.
Those are all the known dangers of a young team playing with house money. Valley must come in and identify just what Twin Lakes wants to do and take that option away early. I like my chances with an experienced group adapting like TVHS against an inexperienced group like Twin Lakes.
Wear Down Twin Lakes
The Vikings were masterful a week ago with substitutions throughout a heated battle against Rochester. On defense 21 different players registered a tackle. 21 different players! That type of balance production is almost unheard of at a class 3A school.
These rotations are a credit to coach Stephen Moriarty and his coaching staffs ability to understand their players. Valley must continue to build on this throughout the season and especially tonight. With that kind of ability to mix and match players throughout the game ensure that your key players stay fresh all game long.
If Tippecanoe Valley can continue to match production at every level deep into the 4th quarter they will be able to wear down a younger team like Twin Lakes.
One week ago against the Zebras Cody Eastgate delivered his best performance as gunslinger for the Vikings. He was able to weave through pressure and extend plays to make throws. Eastgate’s ability to get the ball in the hands of Wade Jones and Nate Parker was the difference against Rochester.
This will be the case tonight as well. All three scores that the Twin Lakes defense has allowed this season have been passing touchdowns. Valley will have its opportunity to dial up the pass against the Indians.
Tonight would be a great night to see the two big tight ends get out in space. Landon Durkes and Kyler Johnson could be primed for big games with all eyes on Wade Jones out wide. Valley’s offense has looked as balance as can be in the first two weeks of the season.
Other Notes and Storylines to Watch
After last Friday’s game, Nate Parker crossed the 2,000 career rushing yard threshold. He’s the first to do that since Bryan Wong (2004). He has rushed 286 times for 2,068 yards (7.23 ave). That makes him ranked #9 all time in TVHS history and has the highest yards per carry average of any of the 2,000+ yard rushers.
Home Field Advantage
The last Viking home loss in the regular season was on 9/14/2020. Lost 18-21 against Peru. Tippecanoe Valley will hope to defend their home field in the first game of the season at Tippecanoe Valley High School.
Where to listen?
You can listen to the game tonight on 107.3 WRSW with pregame coverage starting at 6:30 pm. Join Baylen Hite, Micah Lukens and the legendary Rita Price from Smith-Bibler Memorial Field.