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Vikings hope line is an advantage against Beallsville

Symmes Valley’s Garrett Foster (54) grabs hold of a Trimble runner and makes the tackle during last week’s 28-19 win over the Tomcats. Symmes Valley plays Beallsville at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Division VI Region 23 semifinals at Athens High School. (The Ironton Tribune / Courtesy Robert S. Stevens of The Gold Studio in Ironton)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

 

WILLOW WOOD — Does size matter? The Symmes Valley Vikings are about to find out.

The Vikings will have a decisive size advantage up front as they play the Beallsville Blue Devils at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the Division VI Region 23 semifinals at Athens High School.

However, head coach Rusty Webb doesn’t know for sure what the size advantage will mean until they line up and play.

“They’re not very big, but they are quick and they get after it,” said Webb. “They’re very good at what they do. They’ve been undersized all year and it hasn’t bothered them.”

Symmes Valley (10-1) will have Grant Foster (6-1, 220) at center, twin brother Garrett Foster (6-0, 215) and Caleb Holderby (6-1, 220) at the guards and Nick Clay (6-2, 280) and Kyle Wells (6-1, 280) at the tackles.

The tight ends are Austin Baldwin (6-4, 210), Scott Dial (5-8, 155) and Jacob Graybeal (6-1, 165).

Beallsville (9-2) uses basically the same players on the offensive line that they use on defense.

The unbalanced line has center Kyle Groves (6-0, 180), inside guard Bryant Arnold (6-1, 195), outside guard Dustin Norris (5-10, 225) and the tackles Dalton Secrest (6-1, 230) and Aaron Thompson (6-3, 200).

“The thing you can’t see is their strength. They’re strong kids,” said Webb.

The Blue Devils rely on the passing of quarterback Teryn Jarrett and the running tandem of fullback Grahamm Dauch and tailback Brandyn Heath.

Jarrett (6-1, 160) is 102 of 196 for 1,422 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has been intercepted just three times after throwing 16 picks last year.

Heath has 135 carries for 1,149 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has also caught 32 passes for 379 yards and three scores.

Dauch has 757 yards on 117 carries and 12 touchdowns despite missing the first game of the season.

The top receiver is tight end Ricky Turbaugh with 32 receptions for 572 yards and six scores. Matt Burke has 27 grabs for 393 yards and four TDs.

“They’re a very balanced team on offense and they’re very athletic. They run the ball well and their backs run hard. They’re very similar to Trimble but they do it out of a different formation,” said Webb.

Of course, the Vikings aren’t just size. They have plenty of speed and skilled players of their own.

Alec Herrell has 1,214 yards on 123 carries and 10 touchdowns to lead a balanced backfield.

D.J. Miller has 919 yards on 115 carries with 15 TDs, Tyler Rowe has 307 yards on 28 tries and six scores while quarterback Cody Myers has 668 yards on 122 attempts and five touchdowns while hitting 25 of 55 passes for 426 yards and four TDs.

Beallsville will try to stop the Vikings’ offense with a defense led by Groves, Heath and Thompson.

Groves had 12 sacks, Thompson has seven sacks and Heath had four interceptions, four sacks and three forced fumbles from his linebacker spot.

The teams have one common opponent after the Blue Devils played Sciotoville East last week in the first round of the playoffs.

Beallsville won 27-14 just four weeks after the Vikings routed East 42-12.

The winner advances to the regional finals to play the winner of Zanesville Rosecrans and New Washington Buckeye Central.