By Baylen Hite
News Now Warsaw
Not all undefeated records are built the same. That can be said for Death Valley football this year as they have navigated a treacherous schedule without a blemish entering their final week of the regular season.
Saturday night’s win against John Glenn is a microcosm of that principle. The Vikings have played without one of their top tacklers and second-leading rusher, Grady Moriarty, for three weeks, and learned last week that leading rusher Nate Parker wouldn’t be able to play against the Falcons.
The Vikings executed their “can do” attitude and made the preparations to beat the Falcons 37-14 on a cold night in Walkerton. Let’s take some time and break down just how they did it.
Dalton Alber, the “Shape-Shifter”
It is hard to put into words what Dalton Alber has meant to Death Valley football in his 4 seasons playing in the Kelley Green and Bright Gold. The word selfless comes to mind. Alber, who for three seasons was a fullback who collected over 700 yards rushing and nine touchdowns, was asked to move to left guard at the beginning of the year.
Instead of complaining, Alber stepped up and stepped in. He has anchored that group all season long but on Saturday he was asked to return to the running game. He did so flawlessly, in true fullback fashion, running the football nine times for 42 yards and hit pay dirt three times.
LG1, DE1, or FB1? It really hasn’t mattered where Dalton Alber plays each game. He always makes an impact.
Balanced Ground Game
With Alber in the mix, the Vikings relied on a number of players to tote the rock. Eight different players carried the football for Death Valley, with four players gaining 40 yards or more. It’s really unique in class 3A to see a team with this much balance but that is what has made the Vikings so dangerous this season.
Sectionals are looming and state power Bishop Chatard is waiting in the first round. It will be important for the Vikings to continue to build on their running game balance.
Peek into the Future
Not having Nate Parker affected all three phases for Tippecanoe Valley. When a player goes down, it opens the door for someone else to step up.
On special teams, freshman Owen Omondi was set to return for the first time this season and he made an impact with a great 35 yard return after Glenn reeled in some momentum from a pick-6. If you watch Valley each week Omondi is a name that you might have heard as a future impact player for the Vikings. After a great kick return and a 14-yard punt return, he might have a role moving forward this year permanently.
Teams typically plan to kick to freshmen on special teams. Something tells me after watching the game on Saturday, opposing coaches will have a different game plan in mind on kickoff.
Week 8 News and Notes
1. Coach Moriarty is now one victory away from 50 career wins. His record through seven seasons is 49-24.
2. The Vikings controlled the clock again on Saturday night. They possessed the football for 36 minutes and only allowed the Falcons to have it for 17 minutes.
3. The Vikings will play Bremen on Senior Night. The Lions sit at (4-4) on the season and WR Tyrus Graverson is 2nd in the state in receiving yards with 962 yards.
Photo Courtesy of Darci Walters