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Vikings’ defense needs to step up vs. Tartans

Symmes Valley Vikings’ defensive back Levin Cade (21) knocks a pass away from a South Gallia receiver during an earlier game this season. (Robert S. Stevens & The Gold Studio of Ironton)

Symmes Valley Vikings’ defensive back Levin Cade (21) knocks a pass away from a South Gallia receiver during an earlier game this season. (Robert S. Stevens & The Gold Studio of Ironton)

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

WILLOW WOOD — Size, speed and an explosive offense.

Doesn’t sound good to an opponent.

A stingy defense with some speed and quickness.

Doesn’t sound good to an opponent.

Those are the sounds that will be heard when the Symmes Valley Vikings host the Sciotoville East Tartans on Friday in a key Southern Ohio Conference I game.

East (3-3, 0-1) averages 34 points a game on offense but is allowing 37.5 per contest. The Vikings (3-3, 1-1) score 23 points a game but have allowed just 17 points a contest.

“We have to use technique and stay low. We have to swarm the ball and play disciplined defense,” said Vikings’ coach Rusty Webb.

The Tartans offense centers around sophomore running back Akia Brown (5-10, 170) and junior wingback Michael Stiltner (6-1, 160).

Two weeks ago, East outlasted Rock Hill 66-53 as Brown ran 19 times for 254 yards and four touchdowns. Stiltner added 200 yards on 15 tries and had three scores.

Freshman quarterback Ethan Gifford (5-10, 180) scored twice in the win.

“They changed their offense to a double wing (after losing 42-6 to South Point) and it’s the same offense as Northwest. They have a couple of better athletes than Northwest. Stiltner and Brown are pretty good,” said Webb.

Brown ran for 80 yards on 18 carries and Stiltner added 47 yards on 16 attempts in last week’s 35-6 loss to Oak Hill.

The Tartans trailed just 21-6 after three quarters despite missing two key linemen.

The East offensive line is led by Ohio State verbal commit Tyler Gerald (6-5, 310) and Nick Basham (6-4, 285).

Gerald — a junior — missed last week’s loss to Oak Hill due to the flu while Basham — a senior — was out with a staph infection.

Both are expected to play against the Vikings.

“They are definitely going to have the size advantage. They are definitely the biggest team we’ve seen all year. We hope we can use our speed. It’s going to be a challenge but it’s one our kids are looking forward to the challenge,” said Webb.

Symmes Valley and Sciotoville East both remain in playoff contention in Region 25 of Division VII and each have one loss in the SOC.

“This is a big game. We’re hoping to build off the momentum from the Green game,” Webb said of last week’s 42-0 win over Green.