By Mike Deak
AKRON – Short of a natural disaster, it’s about the only way these two teams wouldn’t play each other.
Valley athletics announced Wednesday afternoon that the annual Bell Game with Rochester was canceled. Rochester is dealing with COVID issues within its football program, which prompted the abrupt call-off of the game.
Rochester will get the weekend off, as well as next week with it having to cancel its game with Peru. Valley will now head to North Judson to take on the Class 1-A No. 7 Blue Jays (4-0). It will be North Judson’s homecoming game, and the first meeting between the two teams since the 2003 season when Valley won at North Judson 21-0. That was the final game of a seven-year run between the Vikings and the Blue Jays, where Valley won four of the seven contests.
Valley and North Judson also met in the 1979 playoffs in the semi-state, where the Vikings won 63-6 en route to a state championship.
“We are disappointed, no doubt, and it’s unfortunate that we can’t play Rochester,” said Tippecanoe Valley athletic director Aaron Butcher after making the announcement online. “We always look forward to playing them and we looked to keep The Bell at Valley like its been the past three years. But, we’re excited to get the opportunity to play a very good North Judson team.”
Tippecanoe Valley enters this weekend 4-0 overall and is the last undefeated team in the Three Rivers Conference with a 3-0 mark. The cancellation of the Rochester-Valley game will not be made up, and will not affect the conference record for either team, it just becomes a ‘off week’ in the TRC standings. To be eligible for the TRC football title, a team must play five conference games.