Asher McGriff (55) celebrates returning a pick-6 | Photo Courtesy of Darci Jordan Walters
Week One Debrief: Tippecanoe Valley Football
By Baylen Hite | WRSW 107.3
The dust has settled and Tippecanoe Valley Football is (1-0) after week one. With the Bell Game up next I want to take a look back at what stood out the most in the Vikings 23-12 opening night win over Wawasee.
Special Team Spectacular
Sophomore Gage Overbey was a difference maker for the Vikings on Friday night. Overbey accounted for 11 of Valley’s 23 points including 3 made field goals. Overbey nailed a school record 46 yard field goal that would have been good from 50+ yards. This set the tone for the unit and at the time extended the lead to 13-0.
Even on kickoff the impact of Overbey’s leg was felt often times finding the end zone or lofting the ball high enough to allow the Vikings coverage team to zero in on Wawasee’s return unit.
Wade Jones made his impact felt on the punting unit, and with onside kick coverage hauling in two returns on a pair of Warrior onside kick tries.
All of this bodes well for the rest of the season with Valley knowing they can flip the field and score from extended range compared to most special team units in the state. Being able to practice these things in week 1 is invaluable film for the Vikings as they prepare for the gauntlet of their independent schedule. With tighter games sure to be ahead Valley has set a foundation in one of the most overlooked areas of a team.
Defense Forced the Issue and the Turnovers
While it is not always sustainable, anytime you can force four turnovers in a game your team’s chances of winning improve greatly. Valley provided a healthy dose of turnovers throughout Friday’s game intercepting the ball four times.
Senior Wade Jones did Wade Jones things hauling in 2 interceptions. Sophomore Wes Parker grabbed one in his first varsity start. Then junior Asher McGriff took a tip-6 all the way to the house on a 67 yard touchdown return (credit Landon Durkes with the assist). The most impressive aspect of the return was the speed that McGriff showed on the return. After that play Valley was in complete control of the game.
The Vikings would love to get four turnovers a game every game. That number though will be hard to capture but what we do know is so far the defense played as advertised on Friday night. We heard during the offseason the excitement about this unit from coach Stephen Moriarty and now we know why.
Full Four Quarter Performance
It’s not a secret that last season the Vikings starters saw limited time because of lopsided scores. In 8 of their 9 wins Valley won by more than two touchdowns. With many of those games featuring a running clock. If the Vikings want to be able to compete in a super competitive sectional 28 they need to play more full games.
Rotations were a key factor in the game as well. The Vikings were able to mix and match to keep players fresh, another thing that they didn’t get many chances to do last season. Two players stood out in particular, Cam Mason and Kolyn Grossmen. Mason who is returning from an injury was hard to keep off the field according to coach Moriarty and Grossmen seemed to make an impact when he was on the field.
Friday was a peek into what that might look like and the Vikings answered the call. There were some cramps, soreness, and overall fatigue but the boys held up and these battles will bode well for the future.
All in all Valley has some areas to improve on heading into week two but the results from week one give the Vikings plenty of things to work on as the season progresses.
ICYMI: Area Results and News
Some other notes from Friday’s action that you might have missed.
Future Valley Opponents
Week 2: Rochester took down Wabash 56-7 scoring on 7 of their first 8 possessions.
Week 3: Twin Lakes took down Northwestern 37-14 in the first game of the Kevin O’Shea era at Twin Lakes
Week 4: Tipton lost against South Adams 20-3 in the first ever meeting between the two programs.
Three Rivers Conference
Maconaquah beat Southwood for the first time in 35 years 40-27 in their first meeting since 2019.
Whitko ended a 15-game losing streak (dating back to September 17th, 2021) with a 20-0 win over Prairie Heights.
Peru beat 4A Logansport 42-28 taking down the Berries in the first game for coach Chris Makowski.
Northern Lakes Conference
Plymouth won their first game in 1,029 days beating Calumet 27-8.
Warsaw came back to beat Michigan City on the road 17-13.
Mishawaka took down Mishawaka-Marian 44-12.