WABASH – Tippecanoe Valley shot themselves in the foot on multiple occasions in a tough 30-29 loss at Wabash Friday night in Three Rivers Conference football.
The Vikings held a 23-8 lead, only to have Wabash come all the way back to take a 30-23 lead. Alex Morrison would get Valley within one at 30-29 with a four-yard touchdown run in the fourth, but two tries at the two-point conversion yielded no points.
A host of penalties in the fourth melted off precious clock, and after Bryce Webster fell on a gift fumble with 2:34 to go in the game, Valley couldn’t get a first down on four straight plays.
The Apaches had a stat line for the water cooler discussion, passing for 348 yards but running for negative 80 yards, largely by botched plays in the first half. Devin Higdon had a game to remember in giving Wabash its first win, throwing for all 348 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those scores went to Austin Vinopal, who had 11 catches for 147 yards. Austin Weiland caught a 55-yard touchdown which wound up being the winning score in the third quarter.
Morrison and Tanner Trippiedi had rushing touchdowns for the Vikings (2-6), which managed just 170 yards of offense, but used a 78-yard kickoff return for a score by Cameron Parker. Valley also had a safety to open the game.
The tough end to the week piled on what has been an all-around difficult seven days for the Vikings, which had head coach Stephen Moriarty suspended a week from actions at last week’s Rochester game.
“Pink elephant in the room, we went for two,” stated Valley interim head coach Jeff Shriver Friday night on WRSW’s broadcast. Shriver is holder of the ‘head coach’ title at Valley for the third time in five years. “We might be playing overtime right now, and I take full responsibility for that as a coach. The guys at practice, even last night, know that we couldn’t snap the ball, we couldn’t hold the ball and we couldn’t kick the football. So we weren’t feeling very confident in the kicking game.
“Our kids have not had an easy time at Tippecanoe Valley the last four years of the football program. Counting this time, this is the fifth head coach in four years for our seniors. I am so proud of them for hanging through adversity. If you look at this game tonight, it did not turn out our way by one point, but we came out and play football and I am so proud of that.”
Week nine of the regular season in the Three Rivers Conference is the championship week for the two divisions, which will have Northfield and Southwood battling for the title. The trickle down for the remainder of the conference will have Valley hosting North Miami in its final regular season game. The Vikings play at Peru in the first round of the Class 3-A sectional.