Bulldogs stay close 3+ quarters before Vikings win Regional 23-6 over CP
A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith
|Crown Point Bulldogs sophomore left guard Kyle Milly (72) gets ready in pregame warm-ups for the Class 6A, Regional Championship Game between the Crown Point Bulldogs and the Valparaiso Vikings at Valparaiso High School, on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. (All photos by Frank Sprankle, except as noted below.)|
|Valparaiso Vikings junior quarterback C.J. Opperman (12 - in middle with white right sleeve) gets loose before the Class 6A, Regional Championship Game with Crown Point. C.J. had a bit of a rough night, completing only one pass for 3-yards, throwing an interception and taking a sack for a 13 yard loss. But Opperman directed his Vikings to a 23-6 win over the Bulldogs.|
|The Valparaiso Vikings student section braves the cold before Class 6A, Regional Championship Game between the Crown Point Bulldogs and the Valparaiso Vikings at Valparaiso High School, on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. The game began with the temperature at 29-degrees, and dropped to the low 20s be game's end. Wind chills made it feel like mid-teens.|
|Crown Point and Valparaiso players shake hands after the Vikings’ 23-6 Regional win 11-09-2018. (Photo by Dave Woodworth)|
|Senior linebacker Tyler Bukur (21) and senior running back Jesse Harper (1) celebrate with fellow Vikings teammates and their student section after defeating the Crown Point Bulldogs 23-6 in the Class 6A Regional Championship Game on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018 at Valparaiso High School.|
|Valparaiso Vikings Head Coach Bill Marshall addresses his team after defeating the Crown Point Bulldogs 23-6 in the Class 6A Regional Championship Game on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018 at Valparaiso High School.|
|Valparaiso Vikings senior free safety Reece Crossin (17) and senior wide receiver Alex Burda (9) display the Class 6A Regional championship engraved plaque after the Valparaiso defeated Crown Point 23-6 in the Class 6A Regional Championship Game on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018 at Valparaiso High School.|
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Friday, November 9, 2018 - 29 degrees, feels like 17 degrees (at kick-off), Class 6A Regional at VALPARAISO, Ind.
Qtr: VALPARAISO (7-0)
Jackson Kurth, 1-yard run. 40-yard drive, 6 plays. 2:39 min. time of possession
(TOP). Liam Shepherd kick. 2:35
CROWN POINT (6-7) David O'Toole, 76 pas from Will Pettit. 73-yard drive, 3 plays. 0:57 min TOP. Kick wide left. 1:31 left.
2nd Qtr: VALPARAISO (10-6) Liam Shepherd, 19-yard field goal. 66-yard drive, 5 plays. 2:21 min TOP. 6:02 left.
3rd Qtr: No scoring.
Jackson Kurth, 2-yard run. 45-yard drive, 8 plays. 3:44 min. TOP. Fake kick and
2-point pass play failed. 8:09 left.
VALPARAISO (23-6) Jesse Harper, 5-yard run. 50-yard drive, 6 plays. 2:53 min. TOP. Liam Shepherd kick. 4:22 left.
CROWN POINT (22 carries, 10 yards, 0 TDs, 0
fumbles): Scott Mills (HB) 21 carries, 16 yards; Will Pettit (QB) 2-(-6)
yards (2 sacks).
VALPARAISO (48 carries, 298 yards, 3 TDs, 0 fumbles): Jackson Kurth (HB) 32 carries, 203 yards, 2 TDs; Jesse Harper (HB) 13-90 yards, one TD; Antonio Osorio (WR) 2-18 yards; CJ Opperman (QB) 1-(-13 yards, one sack).
CROWN POINT: Will Pettit (QB) 4 of 15, 103 yards, one TD, 0 interceptions.
VALPARAISO: CJ Opperman (QB) 1 of 9, 3 yards, 1 interception.
CROWN POINT: David O’Toole (WR) 1-76 yards, TD; Felix Meeks (TE) 1-24 yards; Scott Mills (HB) 2-3 yards, fumble.
VALPARAISO: Jesse Harper (HB) 1-3 yards.
CROWN POINT (1) Sam Krutz (FS)
CP (0) VALPARAISO (1).
CROWN POINT: 3-25 yards; VALPARAISO: 5-30 yards.
CROWN POINT: 113 yards, 2 first downs, 1 turnover.
VALPARAISO: 301 yards, 17 first downs, 1 turnover.
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If momentum meant anything for the Crown Point Bulldogs and the Valparaiso
Vikings heading into the Class 6A Regional Championship Game; it featured the
Bulldogs making their third straight appearance on this stage, while the
Vikings, winners of the Duneland Athletic Conference, had knocked-off powerhouse
Penn the previous week.
In the end, the Vikings' running game dominance produced two clinching touchdowns in the final 8 minutes of the 4th quarter to claim regional glory with a 23-6 win over Crown Point on Friday, Nov. 9 at Valparaiso High School.
Valparaiso will now host the Carmel Greyhounds in the Class 6A northern semi-state match-up. Carmel defeated Fort Wayne Snider at home 20-6 in their regional meeting.
The Vikings improve their overall season mark to 10-2, while the Bulldogs' season ends at 5-7.
It also marks the second time in 2018 that these teams have match-up with Valparaiso having defeated the Bulldogs 38-7 at home on Sept. 21.
In their second meeting of the year at Valparaiso and playing with temperatures in the 20s all night, the Bulldogs made it a competitive first three quarters. But early on, the Vikings marched downfield on their opening possession of the game, marching 75 yards down to the Bulldog one-yard line. But after back-to-back false start penalties, Valparaiso junior quarterback C.J. Opperman pass of 3rd-and-Goal from the CP 6-yard line was intercepted by Crown Point senior free safety Sam Krutz.
For Krutz, the pick marked his third of the season, and he returned the ball to Bulldog 16-yard line. But CP went 3-and-out and the Vikings took over at the Bulldog 40-yard line after a punt and short return.
The following Vikings 6-play drive led to points as senior tailback Jackson Kurth rushed for a touchdown from a yard out with 2:35 left in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs responded on their next possession and cut into the lead as sophomore quarterback Will Pettit found the hands of junior wide receiver David O’Toole for a 76-yard touchdown pass down the Vikings home sideline on third down and 13 from the Crown Point 24-yard line.
Pettit connected on his eighth touchdown pass of 2018, while O’Toole had his lone TD on 24 pass receptions for 326 yards on the year.
However, senior kicker Jack Mumaugh missed the extra point attempt.
The Vikings held a 10-6 lead at halftime courtesy of a 19-yard field goal with 1:32 left in the 2nd quarter by sophomore kicker Liam Shepherd.
In the second half, the two teams battled to a scoreless third quarter. But the Bulldogs struggled to move the ball across midfield, while the Vikings answered with two fourth quarter touchdowns. Kurth’s second of the night from two yards, out followed by Harper’s five-yard rush to put the game out of reach.
Both Kurth and Harper now have 11 touchdowns apiece this season.
“They came out ready to play,” Opperman said on the Bulldogs effort. “We started out slow, but we pushed through, it was about overcoming adversity.”
The win marks Valparaiso’s seventh regional title, having last accomplished this feat in 2010.
It also extended the Vikings' winning streak to 10 games, having dropped the first two games of the season to Penn and Mishawaka on the road.
“We knew we were a team of destiny after those two losses because everything that we did was controllable, everything our kids knew, they knew they were capable of,” said Valparaiso head coach Bill Marshall.
For Marshall, he’s in his first full season as head coach, after having served at the helm in the 2017 sectional championship loss to Penn following the resignation of Dave Coyle.
“I could not ask for a greater group of young men. I could not ask for a greater support staff and coaching staff,” Marshall said. “It’s been a blessing after everything this program and community has gone through. It’s huge for these kids. I could not be more proud of them.”
With this week’s semi-state match-up, it will mark the fourth all-time meeting between Carmel and Valparaiso.
The Vikings defeated the Greyhounds for the 1975 Class 3A State Championship, the lone state title in Valparaiso history.
The two schools also met in a home-and-home week two match-up in 2011 and 2012, with Carmel having won both contests.
DOG NOTES: Until this regional meeting, the previous time the Bulldogs and Vikings played in the postseason was Oct. 28, 2012. Meeting as members of then Class 5A, Sectional 1, the Crown Point defeated Valparaiso in a 23-15 home win in the opening round of that year’s tournament.
Having suffered their third straight regional title game loss, the Bulldogs have been outscored in each of these games 26-5. Besides the defeat against Valparaiso, this also includes the 2016 and 2017 regional contests, both losses to Penn.
With this loss, it snaps Crown Point’s skid of winning back-to-back games. At no point in the 2018 season until after the sectional tournament had the Bulldogs won consecutive games.
A Special Message From USA-365.com/Indiana-Sports.com: With the regional loss to Valparaiso, this ends our coverage of Crown Point Bulldogs football for the 2018 season.
On behalf of everyone at USA-365.com and Indiana-Sports.com, we would like to thank our sponsors, the Crown Point High School athletic staff, the players and coaches of the Crown Point Bulldogs football team, and all our listeners.
Valparaiso's next opponent: