No. 9 Grand View visits Valley

Friday, September 20, 2019
The Vikings are hoping to create some running room for junior Briquez Alvies against one of the HAAC's toughest defenses. (Chris Allen/Democrat-News)

Since joining the Heart of America Conference in 2015, Grand View has beaten the Missouri Valley College football team in the Battle for Odin's Helmet.

If the Vikings don't improve from last week's performance, the Norse god's statuette will return to Des Moines following the clash at Gregg-Mitchell Field. Valley (2-1) trailed Culver-Stockton 34-7 at halftime, a polar opposite of its first two games of the season, and suffered a 40-28 loss.

Head coach Paul Troth admitted his team "didn't play very well," while the Wildcats did. He doesn't think that reflected fundamental issues, but there were concerns.

"We couldn't get pressure on the quarterback, didn't cover very well and gave up big plays," he said. "The teams were similar to a year ago," a 26-16 Valley victory. "The difference was we didn't play well."

The ninth-ranked Grand View Vikings (3-0) are capable of capitalizing on small mistakes by good opponents, so MVC will have to be in top form contend. Valley played about as well defensively as it did all of last year, and still lost the meeting in Des Moines, 20-14.

Grand View (3-0) has allowed only 10 points during its first three games, including a 20-3 decision at No. 8 Baker two weeks ago. The Vikings' defense is slightly different than it was last year.

"They're bringing more pressure," Troth explained. "They have cornerbacks who are excellent are coverage and eliminate everybody they meet."

Not only is Grand View strong on both defense - second in the HAAC with 177.0 yards allowed per game -- but a run-pass balance on the league's second-best offense (462.7 yards per game) that gives opposing D's fits.

"Their linemen are always big and physical," Troth explained GVU's success. "They execute the running game better than Culver-Stockton, but they can also throw it."

Even a change in coaches doesn't seem to matter. Mike Woodley guided Grand View during the program's first 11 years, including a national championship in 2013 among seven playoff appearances, went to Mount Mercy to start up its program. After serving on his father's staff from Day One, Joe Woodley has smoothly taken the reins.

"They're awfully good. It presents a tremendous challenge for us," Troth conceded. "We've got our work cut out for us."

Contact Chris Allen at callen@marshallnews.com

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