AKRON – A much-improved North Miami squad did just about everything it wanted to Friday night, crushing Tippecanoe Valley 55-13.
The Warriors scored on its first nine possessions and ran the ball with reckless abandon. It took North Miami less than two minutes to get its first score, with Jeff Eckrote taking an option and rumbling 23 yards to paydirt. After a Valley punt, Eckrote ran around the left side for 54 yards, setting up North Miami again. Shane Holden then finished off the drive with a six-yard run for the 14-0 lead.
Valley would get a touchdown back. Following a Desean Heckman kickoff return to the North Miami 43, a roughing the quarterback penalty put the Vikings in business. Alec Craig later found Chris Secrist for 22 yards, Secrist finishing the play with a nice dive to the goal line. A missed extra point left the score 14-6.
But the game would get no closer, in fact, it became a blowout very quickly.
Trevor Linn, Eckrote and Holden all scored on rushing touchdowns in the second quarter, and a 34-yard Conner Hanaway field goal at the buzzer pushed the game to a 38-6 mark at the half.
“We knew coming into this game if we were going to be competitive with them we would have to stop the run,” stated Tippecanoe Valley head coach Darin Holsopple. “It’s kinda been the same story all year. We didn’t make tackles. There were a lot of times we made good contact on the ball carrier, we just didn’t bring them down. Once again it showed up on the scoreboard.
“We were not able to stop their run at all tonight.”
Linn would add another rushing touchdown in the third quarter as did quarterback Zane Briggs. Hanaway’s 20-yard field goal made it 55-6.
Heckman had the lone Valley highlight of the second half, scoring on a 65-yard run on the first play after Hanaway’s field goal.
North Miami dominated the line of scrimmage, generating 405 yards of rushing offense on 50 carries. Eckrote led the Warriors with 142 yards and Holden added 101. Briggs also threw for 77 yards, giving his team 482 total yards for the night.
Valley was held to 173 total yards, 135 of which came on the ground – 65 on Heckman’s one scoring run. Heckman ended up with 90 yards on six carries.
“We struggled tonight,” Holsopple said. “We had trouble getting guys open. We had trouble finding guys. All around, offensively and defensively we struggled tonight.”
North Miami (3-0, 2-0 TRC) is off to its best start since 2007, when it started 7-0. The Warriors will host Southwood next week. Tippecanoe Valley (0-3, 0-1 TRC) hadn’t lost at home to North Miami since 2009, and now has a huge hurdle to clear with Northfield waiting next week.