CLINTON >> The number of points Valley Regional/Old Lyme posted against Morgan weren’t nearly as important as the number the visiting Warriors allowed.
Faced with defending arguably the Pequot Conference’s top running back in Morgan junior Jake Ward, Valley Regional/Old Lyme responded with a valiant defensive effort.
The Warriors held Ward to just 90 yards, well below his average, and the defense forced two turnovers in routing the Huskies 51-6 in a battle of teams that both entered unbeaten Friday at the Peters Complex.
“If you can contain him to 100 yards and under, you’ve done something,” Valley coach Tim King said.
Ward entered averaging 240 yards per game and had rushed for more than 1,200 yards and 20 touchdowns on the season.
“He’s a great running back,” King said. “I’ve said it before, I said he’s fun to watch but he’s a pain to coach against. I said that, and I still say it. Everything you do, you try to devise a scheme around to try to stop him. Our defensive coordinator, Paul Ginter, he’s done a great job. He doesn’t get enough credit, every year we have a tough defense.”
Sophomore Jared Roche made a 20-yard field goal and junior Chris Jean-Pierre scored on an 8-yard run to give the Warriors (6-0) a 10-0 lead after one quarter. Jean-Pierre also made two interceptions.
“I just have to give all the credit to my coaches,” Jean-Pierre said. “They put everyone in the right spots.”
The Valley defense, often underrated, is allowing less than 10 points per game.
“In the news I feel like we don’t get enough publicity, but that’s fine by us,” Jean-Pierre said. “All we have to do is show up and play Warrior football, that’s it.”
Touchdowns runs of 5 and 2 yards by junior Justin Cheverier in the second quarter gave the Warriors a 24-0 lead at halftime. Morgan (5-1) quarterback Alex Lipka, who finished completed just 5 of 18 passes for 23 yards, threw both of his interceptions in the first half.
“(Valley) is a good team. We’re a good team, too, we just didn’t show it,” Morgan coach Mike Eagle said. “We flat out stunk tonight. Some of that has to be attributed to them, but a lot of it is attributed to us. We routinely shot ourselves in the foot. We never established any pace, we never established the ground game like we’re used to doing. We didn’t make plays. We had plays, we had opportunities. We’ve been making them all year and we just didn’t make them tonight.”