ASHVILLE — Bend but don’t break would be a term to describe the effort turned in last week by Teays Valley’s defense, which yielded Logan 267 yards of total offense but just seven points in a 10-7 non-league win.
“We gave up some yards between the 30s, but once Logan got down to the 25 or so, our kids really tightened on defense and did a good job,” Teays Valley coach Mark Weber said. “The one touchdown Logan did score we ended up aiding with several penalties on that drive.
“We’ve become a defense-first team over the last three years, because defense is something you always have. Offense can come and go. It also seems like, in the early going of the season, that our defense is ahead of our offense.”
While Weber acknowledges the Vikings’ defense-first mindset, he also knows they need more out of the offense than the 72 yards produced a week ago.
“Logan was a tough matchup for us, because they were a lot bigger than us up the middle and we struggled establishing the inside run,” Weber said. “We need to solidify a few things on offense, like blocking, and also probably look to run to the edge more.
“We’re going through a number of injuries right now and one area it’s affected is our number of skill kids out on the ends. We probably would have looked to open it up a little more last week, otherwise.”
Weber complimented his team on their ability to pull out close games — a 14-0 win over Chillicothe to open the season and last week’s 10-7 victory over Logan.
“We’re playing with a lot of grit and doing the little things needed to pull out these close games in the fourth quarter,” Weber said. “I’m really proud of our kids. We may not be quite as big as some of our past teams, but these kids have a resiliency about them and a lot of football fight.”
The Vikings (2-0) travel to Canal Winchester (2-0) on Friday in a battle of early season unbeatens.
Since renewing the series with their former Mid-State League Buckeye Division rival, the Vikings fell 33-7 in 2017 and were edged 14-7 last season.
Realignment into the Capital Division has helped revitalized Canal Winchester’s program after going a combined 6-34 in its first four seasons in the Ohio Capital Conference.
The Indians went 6-5 in 2017, qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2012, and followed that up in 2018 by going 9-1 and winning the Capital Division title. Canal Winchester, however, did not make a return trip to the playoffs, due to a strength of schedule where its nine wins came against schools that went a combined 29-61.
“They’ve kinda grown into being an OCC school and they’re obviously playing with a lot of confidence with what they’ve done the past couple of seasons and the start they’re off to this season,” Weber said of the Indians.
Canal Winchester is off to a 2-0 start this season, defeating Thomas Worthington 35-17 and edging Olentangy Berlin 24-21 last week.
The two teams combined for just 392 yards of total offense last week — with the Indians turning in 218 yards.
Canal Winchester 6-foot-1 senior quarterback Jack Beeler completed 7 of 16 passes for 38 yards.
The Indians did average a healthy 4.5 yards per carry, rushing 180 yards on 40 carries, and were led by 5-9 senior Tyler Toledo covering 94 yards on just seven carries and scoring a touchdown.
“Canal Winchester really has a couple of nice backs in (Toledo and Stephan Byrd),” Weber said. “The Toledo kid is on you right now, so our kids have to be prepared to tackle.
“A lot of their experience is in their skill kids and they do a nice job of running and throwing the football.”
Berlin was held to just 85 yards rushing on 39 carries, a paltry 2.2 yard average, and completed only 5 of 24 passes for 89 yards.
“They’re kinda like us with being a defensively led team. That’s a pretty good defense they have,” Weber said. “They have good size on the line, speed at linebacker and in the secondary, and their overall defense is similar to Big Walnut.
“It’s going to be important for us to do the fine details well, no turnovers and few penalties.”