By Baylen Hite
News Now Warsaw
This game is being tabbed as the Valley game of the Century according to Valley historian Micah Lukens. That’s a tough bill to live up to, but Death Valley football will have every opportunity to do that in a top ten match-up against West Lafayette.
In a season that has included so many firsts, the Vikings will take on the second-ranked West Lafayette Red Devils. West Lafayette has had a storied tradition, including a state championship in 2018 and lengthy list of Division 1 talent alumni.
With so much in front of them, how will Valley respond to the challenge? Let’s break down the keys that can lead Tippecanoe Valley to win No. 7.
Easier said than done but this trip will be Valley’s longest trip of the season. The Vikings will travel 82.8 miles south or about a 90-minute bus ride to Gordon Straley Field. The Vikings are in a unique position where they will have to come off the bus fresh. There are strategies to this, such as taking a break midway to stretch and get loose. To be honest though there is no good way to shake this and it’s hard to practice.
I’m sure coach Moriarty and his group have thought about this and will do their best to keep the boys fresh and ready to go. The other motivator is that this is the biggest game of the year for Valley. The Vikings must come off the bus spry and ready to hit.
If the Vikings come off the bus ready to hit, it could be a tone setter that shakes off the rust early in the contest.
No Fly Zone
Without a doubt, the Red Devils’ passing attack is the most poised Valley will face all season long. Senior quarterback Carson Kitchel has thrown for nearly 1,500 yards through 6 games. The Red Devils often choose quantity over quality on plays to blitz their opponent and wear them down on defense. Kitchel has found his lead receiver Benny Speaker 32 times this season for 461 yards. A match-up that the Vikings will have to be keen on without a doubt.
Look for Wade Jones, Cody Black, Wes Parker, and Nate Parker all to be tested early in the secondary. Two players to watch for Valley are Trent Marshall and Iasiac Ramsey who will team up to help with the production lost from Grady Moriarty going down last week.
Sometimes the best way to attack a great passing attack is to get to the quarterback early. Could Dalton Alber, and Cameron Mason be the answer to assist the secondary? Only time will tell. One thing is certain though the Vikings have to keep the ball out of the air tonight.
Be the Hunter, not the Hunted
Even though Valley is the higher ranked team. Tonight represents a great opportunity to pounce early and attack a perennial power in the state of Indiana. This is a game that could solidify Valley as a state contender moving forward in the 21st century.
While this is just a regular season game with no conference or postseason implications, it feels like more. This would without a doubt be the biggest win for the Vikings under Steven Moriarty.
Personally, there isn’t much more to be said. If this game doesn’t get you excited, you simply don’t love football. Tonight, a top-ten team will rise and another will fall. Only time will tell when that football is kicked off in West Lafayette at 7 p.m.
Where to Listen?
Tune in to 107.3 at 6:30 for pregame coverage from Gordon Straley Field. Join Baylen Hite, Micah Lukens, and the legendary Rita Price for the game.