Vikings need to regroup

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Missouri Valley College football team finishes its schedule against Heart of America Conference North Division foes Saturday, and not a moment too soon.

The Vikings, for the first time in head coach Paul Troth's 16 season, have gotten off to a 1-4 start.

"Not in a very good place," Troth admitted. "That's not where we thought we'd be, but it is what it is."

Valley gave a better account of itself last week during a 37-24 loss at No. 8 Grand View than it did the previous week against Peru State.

"We put ourselves in position, but we have to make some plays" down the stretch, Troth said. "Hopefully, we can build on that and continue to get better."

If there's one opponent against which the Vikings can heal it's Culver-Stockton, which they have beaten in 61 of 69 meetings.

"It's not the typical Culver-Valley match-up," Troth conceded. "The team that does the right thing the most often will come out on top."

In other words, which team least shoots itself in the foot.

The Wildcats (0-5) are not a pushover, though. A year ago, the Vikings needed 21 fourth-quarter points to pull out a 49-30 decision.

This time around, Valley will seek to contain junior quarterback Jalen Jones, who is averaging 198.3 combined rushing-passing yards per game.

Culver, like MVC, is banking on a young offensive line, which is completely composed of freshmen.

"Hopefully, we can take advantage of that a little bit," Troth said, "but they're talented freshmen."

The 'Cats use a 3-3 stack defense which tries to create confusion.

"It's important to make sure we don't get confused up front and do things correctly."

Valley (1-4) hasn't been consistent offensively, despite a gunslinging quarterback in sophomore Jake Bridges and talented skill position players.

After this game, the Vikings have a "bye: week before opening the South Division at home against an Avila squad which has shown improvement.

"We need to win badly," Troth declared, meaning a victory -- whether badly played or not. "If we can go into the bye week with a win, it will help.

"The alternative is not one you want to think about."

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