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Vikings renew playoff series with Shadyside

Symmes Valley’s Luke Leith (3) hauls in one of his two touchdown catches in a 22-16 win over Northwest last Friday that gave the Vikings the SOC title and a berth in the Division 7 playoffs. (Kayla Niece of Kaptured By Kay Photography)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

WILLOW WOOD — It’s been 30 years since the Symmes Valley Vikings enjoyed their first unbeaten season and first-ever playoff appearance.
Merril Triplett was the head coach and the Vikings posted a 10-0 record. Their first playoff game was a trip to Shadyside.
Three decades later, the Vikings are 9-1 and back in the playoffs for the 12th time and the opponent is once again Shadyside.
The Vikings lost the first meeting 26-14 and the two teams met again in 2005 when they lost 38-6.
Once again, the Vikings will be facing a talented Tigers’ team led by sophomore tailback Wyatt Rieman (60, 175) and sophomore quarterback Rhys Francis (6-0, 160).
Reiman has ran 158 times for 1,191 yards and 21 touchdowns and also caught 23 passes for 530 yards and six more scores.
Francis is 89-of-158 passing with seven interceptions for 1,679 yards and 12 touchdowns.
That means the duo has combined for 2,870 of the team’s yardage. Also in the picture is senior Kelly Hendershot (5-10, 160) with 29 receptions for 402 yards and three TDs.
“It’ll just come down to if we can handle their speed,” said Vikings’ coach Rusty Webb. “(Francis) has a nice arm and they have some nice weapons. We’re going to have to get a pass rush on them.”
Symmes Valley has surprised everyone this season with their record and capturing the Southern Ohio Conference I title.
But Shadyside (7-3) poses the biggest threat this season.
“There’s no one on our schedule who has a passing game like theirs. We’ve faced passing teams but not with the different formations. We have to recognize what the formation is and get aligned quickly.,” said Webb.
“They have a nice solid line. They have a nice mix of older kids and sophomores. They are very athletic.”
Symmes Valley will try to utilize its time-consuming ground game to eat clock and keep the ball away from the Tigers’ offense.
Junior Josh Ferguson leads the Vikings with 1,126 yards on 108 carries for a 10.4 yards per carry average. He has scored 11 touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Jack Leith has 90 rushing attempts for 512 yards for a 5.7 average and six touchdowns. Although he hasn’t been asked to throw very often, he has been effective when he does by completing 14-of-31 attempts for 208 yards and five TDs.
“They are a 4-3 base. They are more of a read and react team. They do very little blitzing. We’re going to have to really execute well. It’s the same system they used when we played them in 2005,” said Webb.
Kickoff is 7 p.m.

Symmes Valley Offense
TE 3 Luke Leith 6-02 165 Jr.
82 Christian Gilbert 5-10 175 Sr.
T 65 Dwayne Eplin 5-11 200 Sr.
78 Preston Counts 5-10 225 So.
G 50 Eli Patterson 6-00 180 So.
C 72 Tanner McComas 5-11 265 So.
G 51 Gavan Yates 6-0 240 So.
T 75 Kayson Adkins 5-10 235 Jr.
T 78 Preston Counts 5-10 225 So.
54 Issac Ross 5-10 185 So.
TE 2 Caleb Mullins 6-01 210 Jr.
QB 7 Jack Leith 6-04 170 Sr.
FB 4 Derek Crum 5-07 190 Jr.
9 Levi Niece 5-06 165 So.
RB 1 Josh Ferguson 5-10 175 Jr.
RB 29 Ethan Patterson 6-00 255 So.
RB 34 Nick Strow 5-10 160 So.
PK 51 Gavan Yates 6-0 240 So.

Symmes Valley Defense
DE 82 Christian Gilbert 5-10 175 Sr.
DT 65 Dwayne Eplin 5-11 200 Sr.
44 Toby Smathers 6-03 205 Sr.
DT 75 Kayson Adkins 5-10 235 Jr.
DE 50 Eli Patterson 6-00 180 So.
ILB 51 Gavan Yates 6-0 240 So.
ILB 2 Caleb Mullins 6-01 210 Jr.
4 Derek Crum 5-07 190 Jr.
OLB 7 Jack Leith 6-04 170 Sr.
OLB 34 Nick Strow 5-10 160 So.
CB 1 Josh Ferguson 5-10 175 Jr.
CB 29 Ethan Patterson 6-00 255 So.
S 3 Luke Leith 6-02 165 Jr.
P 51 Gavan Yates 6-0 240 So.
Shadyside Offense
TE 43 Sam Merryman 6-03 190 Sr.
6 Ryan Florence 6-00 173 So.
OT 58 Mason Geraud 6-03 310 Jr.
51 Matt Lucey 6-00 193 Sr.
G 65 Ryan Cain 5-07 200 Sr.
C 72 Logan Crozier 5-10 285 Sr.
G 56 Cam Brown 6-01 206 Jr.
32 Gage Joseph 5-11 210 So.
OT 63 Caleb Davis 5-11 237 Sr.
WR 10 Kelly Hendershot 5-10 160 Sr.
23 Jordan Joseph 5-10 164 Jr.
11 Mason Vannest 6-00 156 So.
4 Alec Shepherd 6-01 157 Jr.
QB 3 Rhys Francis 6-00 160 So.
RB 44 Jacob Visnic 5-11 220 Jr.
45 Jakob Klug 5-11 178 Sr.
TB 25 Wyatt Rieman 6-00 175 So.
PK 1 Angel Velasquez 5-03 125 Jr.

Shadyside Defense
DE 43 Sam Merryman 6-03 190 Sr.
DT 32 Gage Joseph 5-11 210 So.
DT 65 Ryan Cain 5-07 200 Sr.
56 Cam Brown 6-01 206 Jr.
DE 6 Ryan Florence 6-00 173 So.
LB 25 Wyatt Rieman 6-00 175 So.
LB 44 Jacob Visnic 5-11 220 Jr.
LB 45 Jakob Klug 5-11 178 Sr.
CB 23 Jordan Joseph 5-10 164 Jr.
CB 3 Rhys Francis 6-00 160 So.
4 Alec Shepherd 6-01 157 Jr.
S 10 Kelly Hendershot 5-10 160 Sr.
S 11 Mason Vannest 6-00 156 So.
P 10 Kelly Hendershot 5-10 160 Sr.

2019 Symmes Valley Vikings
Sym. Valley 14 South Gallia (1-9) 12
Sym. Valley 37 Fairfield Christian (0-10) 0
Sym. Valley 6 Chesapeake (4-6) 49
Sym. Valley 50 Fairview, Ky. (3-6) 6
Sym. Valley 47 Sciotoville East (2-7) 6
Sym. Valley 7 Green (5-5) 0
Sym. Valley 38 Eastern (4-6) 14
Sym. Valley 39 Sciotoville East (2-7) 8
Sym. Valley 33 Notre Dame (0-10) 0
Sym. Valley 22 Northwest (6-4) 16
Record: 9-1

2019 Shadyside Tigers
Shadyside 33 Martins Ferry (6-4) 7
Shadyside 21 Mogadore (9-1) 28
Shadyside 44 Magnolia, W.Va. (0-9) 8
Shadyside 27 Wheeling Catholic (5-4) 31
Shadyside 27 Shenandoah (8-2) 0
Shadyside 40 River (6-4) 6
Shadyside 21 Vinton County (5-5) 0
Shadyside 6 Bellaire (7-3) 12
Shadyside 35 Bridgeport (1-8) 8
Shadyside 49 Monroe Central (4-6) 24
Record: 7-3