Philo next challenge for Indian Valley
Nov 15, 2013 12:59 AM
BY JIM HAYNES
Times-Reporter sports writer
MIDVALE The Indian Valley High School Braves had several goals as a team at the beginning of the season.
Two were to host a first-round playoff game and win it.
After a thrilling 25-21, come-from-behind victory over Bloom-Carroll on Nov. 8 at Kelley Field, the Braves (9-2) aren’t satisfied.
They travel to Byesville’s Meadowbrook High School to play Philo High School in a Division IV regional semifinal at 7:30 tonight.
The Electrics (9-2) advanced by beating John Glenn 30-7.
The Braves’ first-ever home playoff game had an ominous start — Bloom-Carroll returned the opening kickoff 85-yards for a score.
It may have been a blessing in disguise. In the words of Indian Valley’s versatile wideout, Logan Ryan, “that fired us up even more”.
The teams traded the lead throughout the game, as momentum shifted. The Braves took the lead for good on a halfback pass from Jake Davis to Ryan. But it wasn’t until Ryan intercepted the Bulldogs’ desperation pass at the goal line, that the Braves could celebrate.
“It was a huge win for our program and this community,” said a relieved Braves mentor, Matt Lancaster, after the game. “The fight in these boys tonight was impressive. They never quit. After that opening kickoff, and after they (Bloom-Carroll) scored late, they never quit, and now we are playing in Week 12.”
The Braves have another tall task tonight.
The Electrics feature a do-it-all quarterback in Zak Sheridan.
Much like Indian Valley quarterback Brady Byers, Sheridan can beat you with his arm and his legs. He had nearly 1,000 yards passing and almost 600 yards rushing in the regular season. Last week against John Glenn, Sheridan rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns. As a team, the Electrics rushed for 258 yards last week, compared to Indian Valley’s 257 yards.
If Sheridan isn’t doing his antics with the ball, chances are speedy running back Nathan Delozier has it.
“They are a solid club top to bottom,” said Lancaster, “They are big up front on the line and they feature a stud quarterback and a couple nice running backs. It’s going to be a good game.”
The Philo defense is tough against the run, as they held the Muskingum Valley League leading rusher Blake Atkins to just 55 yards on the ground last week.
On the season, the Electrics have held four opponents to seven points, while also posting one shutout one the season.
Indian Valley’s best defense may be their offense.
Featuring a more than balanced running attack with the likes of Davis (1,768 yards), Byers (971) and Ryan (740), the Braves will look to control the ball offensively with long, clock-eating drives.
Last week, the Braves were very effective throwing the ball as well. Byers connected on all nine of his pass attempts for 145 yards and a touchdown, while Ryan was the recipient of seven of those passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Perhaps the biggest completion last week came on the game-winning drive for the Braves, as Byers found Brady Cotsmire on a 40-yard pass over the middle, putting the Braves deep in Bulldog territory.
“We just need to be efficient on offense and block well up front.” said Byers. “If we play our style of ball, I like our chances.”
Reach Jim at 330-364-8425 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @JamesEricHaynes