It’s what rivalries survive on.
Friday night state-ranked No. 3 Valparaiso will play host to No. 9
Chesterton in a game that has become the talk of Northwest Indiana this
week. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
“For us, from an environment standpoint, it’s very similar to a
Championship-level game,” Chesterton coach John Snyder said. “I think there
will be that many fans.”
Valpo is doing its part in setting up Pop Warner Night and Meet the Vikings
“I think the guys are really excited,” Snyder said. “This is what you play
high school sports for, to be in the big arena and the big games. It won’t
be any different than going there two years ago and that was a lot of fun
That night, the defenses dominated the game as the Trojans picked up a 12-0
victory. That probably won’t be the case Friday.
“I think the biggest difference in the teams is that their defense is
probably better than our defense,” Snyder said. “So, whichever team gets the
most stops throughout the game is going to be the key.”
The Vikings offense is driven by their running attack led by Bryon Duncan.
Duncan has carried the ball 47 times for 302 yards and three touchdowns.
Andrew Kittridge had carried it 48 times for 237 yards and three TD’s.
“Offensively, Valpo is really solid and sound,” Snyder said. “They are going
to line-up double tight and play smash-mouth football. Their line is better
than it’s been the past couple of years too.
“Duncan is pretty good and he’s a different style of back from what they had
last year. They let the big blockers get out in front and then stay patient
until they see the crease.”
In the passing game, Valpo quarterback Paul Andrie is 31-for-66 for 568
yards and nine touchdowns. Dan Hummel leads the team in receptions with nine
for 186 yards and three TD’s.
“Their big pass plays have come in play action because you have to stop the
run,” Snyder said. “Their run sets up their pass. They’ve show the
capability to throw it.”
Defensively, the Trojans are giving up 176 yards on the ground and 91 yards
through the air per game.
“I think we have to take away their strength,” Snyder said. “Valpo is off
tackle toss, play-action and boot. We have to take away the toss play first.
You have to take Duncan and Kittridge away on the perimeter where you’re a
missed tackle away from a big play.”
When the Trojans have the ball, they’ll have to find a way to attack a
defense that has allowed just 213 yards per game through four contests.
“Defensively, they are always where they are supposed to be,” Snyder said.
“You can’t trick them. You have to be more physical than them and beat them
at the point of attack. What makes them very good against us, and has in the
past, is they keep us off their linebackers.
“The teams that have had success against them have run right at them and
that’s our strength.”
The Trojans are averaging 328 yards per game on the ground led by
quarterback Jon Watson who has carried the ball 54 times for 395 yards and
five touchdowns. Nate Majcher had carried the ball 28 times for 266 yards
and three scores.
“Their style of defense puts pressure on their outside linebackers and we
have to make sure we put pressure on them too,” Snyder said. “They don’t
have a weak player. Normally, you can find one and exploit them. That’s not
the case with Valpo.”
Through the air has been the biggest improvement offensively for the Trojans
since last season. Watson has completed 17-of-31 passes for 288 yards and
Andrew Bobrowski and Justin Jenks have been Watson’s favorite targets with
five receptions each, while Kody Galloway has caught four balls.
“Great players make great plays in game’s like this,” Snyder said. “We have
some of those guys like Watson, Majcher and Bobrowski who have got to do
that for us. Offensively, we are doing some good things.
“Valpo has had a lot of success stopping us in the past, but I feel good
about our game plan going in.”