PDT Sports Contributor
Coach Daren Crabtree and the Valley Indians are set to face off against the Grandview Heights Bobcats on Saturday, Nov. 14, at Chillicothe Hernstein Field in Chillicothe, Ohio at 7:00 p.m. Grandview Heights is the third seed within Valley’s Division VI, Region 21 bracket and the winner will go on to advance to the regional finals.
Valley is coming off a 23-0 victory against the Chesapeake Panthers. The Indians managed to shut down the run heavy attack of the Panthers, effectively negating much of their offensive momentum. Crabtree noted that Grandview Heights has a very similar offensive scheme to Chesapeake.
“We played very well defensively last week,” said Crabtree. “Grandview Heights runs a very similar offense. They feature a lot of misdirection, a lot of motion, and they definitely look to run the ball early and often. I think that fact that we did play so well last week is going to give us a lot of confidence coming into Saturday.”
Grandview Height’s running attack accounted for 391 yards in their first round playoff victory against Hannibal River, a game they won 56-15 despite completing only one pass. Crabtree looks to use virtually the same defense against the Bobcats as he did last week against the Panthers.
“We are probably going to use a similar defensive scheme,” said Crabtree. “We just have to recognize their formations. At this point in the year teams become tendency oriented, and our job is to be disciplined and be able to read the offense. They are going to use a lot of motion and misdirection to confuse us and we have to combat that by being good tacklers and getting multiple defenders to the football.”
On defense, Grandview Heights limited Hannibal River’s leading rusher to just seven yards despite him totaling 1,200 on year. The Indians ran very well last week, but are prepared to lean on the passing attack more against the Bobcats.
“It is important we stay balanced,” said Crabtree. “We ran the ball better last week than we have all year, we didn’t have to rely on the passing game much. We want to have success running the ball, but coming into this game we are going to have to have more out of the passing game than we did last week. Brian Rolfe has been doing big things all year so I’m sure he will come out ready.”
A year ago, Valley beat Grandview Heights 27-21 in a very similar second round playoff game. In that game, Rolfe looked brilliant tallying 254 yards and passing for three touchdowns.
“Rolfe is a three year starter. This is his third time being in the playoffs and that experience is a huge factor for us. Every time we asked him to he comes out and makes big plays. Blake Howard is healthy now, too. Last year he was banged up against Grandview Heights, and his year he’s been hurt a bit as well. Now he’s finally healthy and it’s up to him and Brian to carry our offense.”
The 8th seed in the Region 21 bracket, Fredericktown upset the 1 seed in the first round of the playoffs. The winner of this game will be the odds on favorite to win out their bracket, but Coach Crabtree isn’t getting too excited yet.
“All we can do is continue to play one week at a time. It doesn’t matter what seeds are left or who’s won, we have to play our best game. If we are fortunate enough to win we will see who we play next. All we are doing is trying to go get a win Saturday. We will see what comes after.”
Reach Derrick Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @dc__parker