Week 10 Keys: Vikings vs. Trojans a Battle of Epic Proportions

Photo Courtesy of Darci Walters

Game Information
1st Round of Sectional 28 | First-ever meeting in program histories
(9-0) #3 Tippecanoe Valley vs. (9-0) #1 Bishop Chatard | @ Bishop Chatard
Listen on 107.3 WRSW at 6:30 pm for pregame coverage from Indianapolis.

By Baylen Hite
News Now Warsaw

Throughout the season, Death Valley Football has completed a series of goals: Beat their rival Rochester, takedown state power West Lafayette, and navigate an independent schedule littered with first time opponents on their way to an undefeated season.

What’s left out there? Well the answer is easy but maybe more complicated than it seems.

For the Vikings postseason success hasn’t been easy to come by. Death Valley hasn’t won a sectional since 1992. The last time they got further than a sectional was 1979 which happened to be the last time they won it all.

Aiming for a state championship might be a little bit advantageous for a program that hasn’t gotten there since the late 70s. Anybody who has been around this team, though, knows how they feel about their chances.

Bottom line is this team has what it takes to spend the holiday weekend in Lucas Oil Stadium. Friday night represents a monumental challenge against the most decorated high school football program in Indiana.

Bishop Chatard has won a state best 16 state championships. Just how good have they been in the postseason? Chatard is 28-1 in sectional openers since 1994. Their only loss came to Roncali in 2000. Not a single player stepping foot on the gridiron on Friday night was born the last time that happened.

Let’s break down what the Vikings need to do to win on Friday night and make a little history along the way.

Forget the Rankings

Everyone across the state seems to forget Valley is the 3rd ranked team in the state, according to the AP Poll. Most of the pundits haven’t even given the Vikings a fair chance. While Chatard deserves every bit of respect across the state, Valley deserves some as well.

No one outside of those halls in Akron believed they would be able to handle themselves outside of the Three Rivers Conference. Well, look where they are now. Their record is unblemished and they’re a top-three team in the state.

Despite that No. 3 attached to their name, it seems like not many are predicting this game with such implications. Valley must use the same mentality getting ready for this game. Just like those across the state, toss out the rankings and remove them from the equation.

Pressure, Pressure, and Pressure

While both teams will be under pressure for obvious reasons. This type of pressure must be applied at the line of scrimmage.

Throughout the season, Valley has been able to pester opposing quarterbacks, racking up 26 sacks and 60 tackles for losses.

It will be up to the Vikings to get through an offensive line that averages 251 pounds and 6’3. That’s the largest O-line by average that the Vikings have faced all year. The second closest in size was Culver Academy. In that matchup Tippecanoe Valley tallied 8 sacks. Even half as many as that would be more than Chatard has given up all season long.

If the Vikings can chase down Chatard quarterback Aiden Arteaga, they should be in prime position to move on to the second round of sectional play.

RTB (Run The Ball)

Death Valley’s identity all season long has been predicated on running the ball. Through nine games, they are averaging 319.4 yards per game on the ground. What’s even more impressive has been their balanced approach.

While Nate Parker racked up 1,155 yards in seven games, he has been out since week 7. Wyatt Hart, Brandon Stiles and Dalton Alber have kept the train rolling.

Hart carried the load a week ago, carrying the ball 18 times for 183 yards and four touchdowns. All of those were career highs for the junior.

Dalton Alber returned to his pre-2023 form running the ball. In two games, Alber has been the goal line workhorse. The former fullback has tallied 15 carries 74 yards and 5 scores in two weeks.

Regardless of who runs the ball Friday night, they will need to match the team’s season average to control the game and the possession. If they do it could be the difference between a win and a loss.