PDT Sports Contributor
The Valley Indians (7-1, 2-1) and Minford Falcons (4-5, 0-3) will go head to head Friday night in the week 10 rivalry game these two teams have grown accustomed too throughout the years. Coach Brent Daniels of Minford and Coach Darren Crabtree of Valley know each other very well, and both know how important a win would be for their team.
“One thing we know is that we aren’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs,” Daniels said. “It’s down to the bumps and bruises, we have quite a few banged up right now but it’s always a big rivalry football game so I don’t think our kids will have any problem getting ready for the game.”
Minford currently sits at 13 in the playoff point standings within the Division V, Region 17 bracket. A an upset win over the Valley Indians and some helpful losses from teams ahead of them could spell a playoff berth for the Falcons despite and 0-3 conference record thus far.
The Valley Indians are in a different boat, however, as they have already guaranteed themselves a playoff berth and are now looking to solidify a first round home game.
“We already qualified for the playoffs,” said Crabtree. “But you don’t want to limp into the playoffs. One the reasons to come out and finish strong is to keep building, to be better than last week. We have to give ourselves a good chance, get a win, and come out and finish with one loss on the season to assure a home playoff game. That would be a big plus.”
Valley is coming off a heartbreaking 35-13 loss at the hands of the Wheelersburg Pirates. Coach Crabtree hopes to fix the problems his team had against the Pirates in this last week of the season in order to prepare for the playoffs.
“We have to get back to work and try to reestablish things,” Crabtree said. “Hopefully we do a better job up front and run the football better than we did last week. Against Wheelersburg we didn’t get a chance to do a lot of things that we wanted. We were unsuccessful with both the run and the pass. We have to get back to basics and try to do more offensively.”
“Against Minford, our game plan is all about matchups,” Crabtree continued. “They use a lot of different formations and we must recognize what they are doing and fundamentally be better tacklers. Last week we missed out on some tackles and a couple interceptions as well. We have to force them into mistakes and eliminate the big plays. Last week we gave away two plays of 50-plus yardage. You aren’t going to be successful in too many games giving away plays like that.”
Minford is coming off its own loss to the Waverly Tigers, 26-14. Thus far Minford is winless in the conference, but one of the losses came in a triple overtime nail biter against the West Senators that ended 12-9. The week before the Falcons lost another overtime game, this time 12-6 at the hands of a playoff caliber Bishop Ready squad. Luck has not been with the Falcons so far, but with an upset win and a little help they could find themselves in the playoff picture.
Coach Daniels blames the losses on a lack of execution in big moments coupled with an injury bug that has seemingly plagued his team this year.
“For the most part we’ve not executed in our losses as well as we would have liked too,” admitted Daniels. “Still, the kids are in there battling and doing the best they can. We are lacking on the numbers, and the depth in certain areas because of the injuries that have hit us pretty hard the last few weeks. Despite that, they’ve usually done a good job at coming out and trying to battle back. “
Now the Falcons host the Indians, with the playoffs on the line and Coach Daniels has to try to utilize his defense in order to stop the Valley offense.
“We have to make sure our coverages and alignments are correct against (Valley quarterback Brian) Rolfe,” said Daniels. “For the most part, our defense has been solid all year. We have to be in the right position. We have to worry about our execution against them, offensively, we have to stay on blocks and find the right holes when we run.”
In the last five seasons, Valley owns a 4-1 advantage over the Falcons in this week 10 rivalry game. Despite that, games are usually close and the atmosphere is always tense. Coach Crabtree promises another great game on Friday.
“We’ve had a good week of practice despite the bad weather,” Crabtree said. “The kids are excited because this is a rivalry that’s gone on about 26 years, and its week 10 of the season. It’s always a big game, there have been some great outcomes over the years regardless of the two team’s records going into it. We have a couple things we have to work on and an opportunity to finish 8-1 and assure a home playoff game. It’s going to be exciting.”
The Minford Falcons host the Valley Indians Friday Night. The game kicks off at 7 p.m.
Reach Derrick Parker at dcparker@live, or on twitter @dc__parker