VALPARAISO- Valparaiso High School is the sectional champion for the first time in eight years.
The Vikings defeated the Crown Point Bulldogs by a score of 16-6 at Viking Field on Friday night in the class 5A sectional #1 championship. It was a cold and snowy night over at Viking Field, or as Valparaiso head coach Mark Hoffman called it, it was a night of “Viking weather.”
“We actually like playing in the cold,” said Vikings quarterback Paul Andrie. “It gets the guys fired up.”
Andrie was 11 for 17 with 153 yards passing, throwing a 34 yard touchdown pass to Dan Hummel in the third quarter. For the second week in a row, the Vikings defense had an incredible performance as well, coming up big after a fumble recovery by the Bulldogs could have changed the complexion of the game.
“Our defense had their backs against the wall, and they played stellar,” said Vikings head coach Mark Hoffman. “When you have the field position and get a turnover in four down territory and hold them to a field goal…this game is going to be determined by things like that, and our defense stepped up again.”
Kicker Sam Ficken’s performance was also a key to the victory. Ficken kicked a 36-yard field goal in the first quarter to put the Vikings on the board first, but it was his punting that got the coach’s attention.
“His punting was phenomenal,” said Hoffman. “Punting against the wind, no returns, a fair catch, it was awesome.”
The defense for the Crown Point Bulldogs also played extremely well, and head coach Chip Pettit was still proud of the season they had.
“I’m not disappointed in the way they played at all,” said Pettit. “We just needed to make a play or two more than we did.”
The sectional champs will host undefeated Mishawaka next week for the regional championship, as the Vikings look to win their first regional since 2002.