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Vikings prepare for Malvern’s spread offense

Symmes Valley’s Jordan Fulford follows the blocking of teammate Grant Foster (51) during a game earlier this season against Chesapeake. The Vikings host Malvern at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the first round of the Division VI Region 23 playoffs. (The Ironton Tribune / Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

WILLOW WOOD — So far this season, the Malvern Hornets have been having a ball. Shawn Ball, that is.

The Hornets’ 6-foot-1, 205-pound junior quarterback has been the main weapon in their spread offense that has put them in the Division VI playoffs for the fourth straight season.

Stopping Ball will be the main focus of the Symmes Valley Vikings as they host Malvern at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Region 23 quarterfinals.

Ball has been a weapon both with his legs and arm. He has rushed 234 times for 1,101 yards and scored nine touchdowns. He has also completed 143 of 226 passes for 2,152 yards and 26 touchdowns with just eight interceptions.

“Their quarterback is tough and he’s a strong kid. It’s hard to get him on the ground,” said Vikings’ coach Rusty Webb. “Ball makes things more difficult. He’s a good athlete.”

The two teams met last season in the first round at Malvern with the Hornets winning 43-0 behind quarterback Doug Wood who ran for 147 yards and passed for another 144.

The Vikings (9-1) are a more veteran team this season and Malvern had to replace eight starters on offense and defense. Webb is hoping last year’s experience and his team’s maturity will be the difference.

“We hope our playoff experience helps us because we’ve played on the big stage (the playoffs). We have seen them and we’ve got a lot of kids back and that should help, but knowing what they do and stopping it is still a big difference,” said Webb.

The Hornets do return a couple of receivers including 6-4, 170-pound junior Travis Tucci — nephew of the head coach Dave Tucci — who caught three touchdown passes last season.

Tucci leads Malvern (7-3) with 48 receptions for 890 yards and 12 touchdowns. Teammate Max Kapran (6-5, 175) has 39 catches for 590 yards and six scores while Sean Kettering (6-1, 215) is next with 32 grabs for 463 yards and four TDs. Also in the mix is Clay Davis (6-5, 175) with 21 receptions for 177 yards and four scores.

“They have a nice scheme and they run it well. They’ve got those tall receivers and they cause a lot of mismatches in the secondary,” said Webb.

Ball gets a little help in the running game from Kapron who has 32 attempts for 146 yards and Marcus Johnson with 24 carries for 108 yards.

Symmes Valley is virtually the opposite of Malvern, preferring to keep the ball on the ground and put together time-consuming drives to limit their opponents’ scoring chances.

Evan Herrell is the Vikings’ leading rusher with 1,048 yards on a mere 69 carries or more than 15 yards an attempt. He also has four catches — three for touchdowns — for 215 yards.

But the Vikings have plenty of balance in the backfield.

D.J. Miller had 521 yards on 49 carries, Jacob Patterson 396 on 52 tries, quarterback Cody Myers 288 on 43 attempts, Hunter Boggs 280 on 51 rushes, and Alec Herrell 286 on 24 carries.

Myers is 33 of 62 passing for 760 yards and nine touchdowns. He has yet to be intercepted. Miller has seven catches for 213 yards and Patterson also has seven receptions for 92 yards and two scores.

Malvern is averaging 31.9 points per game but has allowed 25.9 a contest.

“They run a 50 front and they move a little bit. They’re inexperienced, but they are very, very active,” Webb said of the Hornets’ defense.

Symmes Valley Offense

No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Gr.

12 Jordan Fulford TE 5-10 170 Jr.

70 Jordan Wells LT 6-04 270 Sr.

56 Garrett Foster LG 6-00 215 Sr.

53 Caleb Holderby LG 6-00 200 So.

51 Grant Foster C 6-00 200 Sr.

50 Josh Holderby RG 6-04 205 Sr.

56 Garrett Crawford RG 6-00 230 Jr.

79 Nick Clay RT 6-03 280 Jr.

4 Scott Dial TE 5-06 145 Jr.

24 Bo Arthur TE 5-11 205 Jr.

8 Cody Myers QB 5-08 165 Jr.

22 Evan Herrell RB 5-11 170 Sr.

44 Jacob Patterson FB 5-11 180 Sr.

13 Hunter Boggs RB 6-03 205 Sr.

9 D.J. Miller RB 5-10 160 Fr.

66 Eli Ash PK 5-09 215 Fr.

Symmes Valley Defense

No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Gr.

12 Jordan Fulford DE 5-10 170 Jr.

24 Bo Arthur DT 5-11 205 Jr.

56 Garrett Foster DT 6-00 215 Sr.

53 Caleb Holderby DE 6-00 200 So.

51 Grant Foster ILB 6-00 200 Sr.

44 Jacob Patterson ILB 5-11 180 Sr.

13 Hunter Boggs OLB 6-03 205 Sr.

34 Alec Herrell OLB 5-08 165 So.

5 Tyler Rowe OLB 5-11 175 Fr.

22 Evan Herrell RB 5-11 170 Sr.

4 Scott Dial TE 5-06 145 Jr.

8 Cody Myers S 5-08 165 Jr.

9 D.J. Miller S 5-10 160 Fr.

51 Grant Foster P 6-00 200 Sr.

Malvern Hornets Defense

No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Gr.

7 Shawn Ball DE 6-01 205 Jr.

68 Chad Lee DT 6-03 250 Jr.

52 Erik Myers DT 6-03 235 Sr.

65 Kevin Fessenmeyer NG 5-08 170 Jr.

74 Brian Merritt DT 6-01 265 Sr.

70 Jeff Burwell DT 5-09 245 Sr.

25 Logan Sellers DE 6-04 190 Jr.

32 Brady Weber LB 6-02 205 So.

28 Erin Hain LB 5-09 160 Sr.

10 Marcus Johnson CB 5-08 165 So.

11 Tyson Tucci CB 6-00 140 Jr.

14 Travis Tucci S 6-04 170 Jr.

12 Max Kapron S 6-05 170 So.

5 Jeremy Lynch P 6-01 180 Sr.

Malvern Offense

No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Gr.

12 Max Kapron WR 6-05 170 So.

42 Clay Davis TE 6-05 175 Jr.

65 Kevin Fessenmeyer LT 5-08 170 Jr.

68 Chad Lee LG 6-03 250 Jr.

70 Jeff Burwell DT 5-09 245 Sr.

52 Erik Myers DT 6-03 235 Sr.

74 Brian Merritt RT 6-01 265 Sr.

85 Sean Kettering SL 6-01 215 Sr.

14 Travis Tucci WR 6-04 170 Jr.

7 Shawn Ball QB 6-01 205 Jr.

32 Brady Weber FB 6-02 205 So.

5 Jeremy Lynch FB 6-01 180 Sr.

85 Sean Kettering PK 6-01 215 Sr.

Symmes Valley Vikings

2010 Football Scores

Vikings 39 Southern 13

Vikings 43 River Valley 0

Vikings 27 Chesapeake 12

Vikings 46 Manchester 25

Vikings 41 Northwest 6

Vikings 34 Green 7

Vikings 54 Sciotoville 22

Vikings 13 Oak Hill 40

Vikings 34 Notre Dame 0

Vikings 53 South Gallia 12

Record: 9-1 (3-1 SOC)

Computer: 4th Region 23 of Division VI

Head Coach: Rusty Webb

Malvern Hornets

2010 Football Scores

Malvern 25 United 40

Malvern 34 Waterloo 27

Malvern 38 East Canton 39

Malvern 41 Garaway 21

Malvern 14 Ridgewood 55

Malvern 24 Newcmerstwn 13

Malvern 17 Strasburg 10

Malvern 37 Tuscy Cath. 21

Malvern 54 Conotton Val. 7

Malvern 35 Sandy Valley 26

Record: 7-3

Computer: 5th Region 23 of Division VI

Head Coach: Dave Tucci