2017-06-16 / Sports

Vikings holding firm in tough region

By Josh Cruse

KeAndre Jones is part of a deep and talented running back group for Spring Valley. KeAndre Jones is part of a deep and talented running back group for Spring Valley. Overview: In the maiden voyage into 5A, Spring Valley proved it belonged in a tough region playing White Knoll, Lexington, Blythewood, and Dutch Fork. The Vikings improved under coach Robin Bacon from six wins to eight wins and had a first round playoff win.

Offensively, the rushing attack provided the wind to the Spring Valley sails, gaining 265.9 yards per game.

Defensively, the Vikings’ results were mixed. They gave up 3.4 points more per game but surrendered nearly six yard less.

Quarterback: Quincy Hill, Alex Herrera

Quincy Hill returns under center for Spring Valley and was the leading rusher in 2016. While most don’t want a quarterback to lead the team in rushing, it works for Spring Valley’s option attack. Hill will have to continue to improve his decision making in Bacon’s system. He will also have to improve as a leader on the field.

Quincy Hill led Spring Valley’s offense in rushing and throwing in 2016. Quincy Hill led Spring Valley’s offense in rushing and throwing in 2016. Alex Herrera played on the junior varsity in 2016. He has experience as a wide receiver as well.

Running back: Jaylon Morris, Marcus Simpson, Alex Haigler, Tate Iaulualos, KeAndre Jones, Anthony Wilson, Quanard Cox, Jacquez Terrell

There is talent and depth aplenty at running back for Spring Valley. All the backs bring something different to the field. Jaylon Morris is a physical player who can also catch the ball.

Marcus Simpson is a smaller back but runs the ball hard.

KeAndre Jones is another big back who is hard to bring down. Despite being 6’-1”, 230 lbs., Jones has great speed. Alex Haigler is an outstanding player who provides depth. Anthony Wilson transferred from Hammond and impressed Bacon during fall camp.

Tate Iaulualos adds another physical element to the Spring Valley rushing attack. Tate Iaulualos adds another physical element to the Spring Valley rushing attack. Quanard Cox has both speed and the ability to make defenders miss.

Tate Iaulaulos is a difference maker in the backfield. He is a physical player who is hard for defenders to get on the ground. An old-school type fullback, Iaulualos also provides speed at the position.

Wide Receiver: Zach Williams, Rashaad Williams, Jacobie Elkins, Jalen Geiger, Jamal Williams

Both big targets from last season graduated and leave room for someone to step in and give Spring Valley options in the passing game.

Jacobie Elkins saw a lot of action on varsity a season ago.

Zach Williams, Rashaad Williams, Jamal Williams, and Jalen Geiger all transferred from Cardinal Newman. Rashaad and Jamal Williams have great leaping ability and with their size, 6’-1” each, can make for good targets for Hill. Geiger is another big target who has been a pleasant surprise for Bacon.

Spring Valley takes the field against Irmo in 2016. Spring Valley takes the field against Irmo in 2016. Offensive Line: Matthew Branch, Craig Cash, Shaun Wiley, Donovan Toomer, Aidan Long, Max Shropshire, Reggie Stewart, and John Crim

The biggest concern for Bacon in 2017 is the offensive line. While it is one of the strongest groups Bacon has had while at Spring Valley and has a great deal of potential, the experience factor is lacking with this unit.

Both Craig Cash and Matthew Branch return after solid 2016 seasons.

The potential of this unit sits with a good junior class. It begins with Max Shropshire who has good football pedigree. His father played six years in the N.F.L. with the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles.

Aidan Long has come along well and could see some playing time. Shaun Wiley is a converted fullback. Reggie Stewart and John Crim are athletic and physical.

Robin Bacon enters his third year at the helm of Spring Valley and looks to improve in a tough region. Robin Bacon enters his third year at the helm of Spring Valley and looks to improve in a tough region. Defensive Line: Max Shropshire, Matthew Branch, John Crim, Craig Cash, Jordan Hamilton, C.J. Barnes

Many of the starters on the offensive line will also play on the defensive line. Jordan Hamilton provides depth, while C.J. Barnes can play any position along the defensive line and also linebacker.

Linebacker: Channing Tindell, KeAndre Jones, Ajani Tonge, K’onte Brown, Darrian Jennings

There is no doubt Channing Tindell is the leader of this unit. The thirdyear starter is the only returner from 2016. He is also attracting a lot of attention from Division I universities.

KeAndre Jones is a big, physical athlete standing at 6’-1” 230 lbs.

Ajani Tonge, K’onte Brown, and Darrian Jennings are all vying for starting roles.

Secondary: Jacobie Elkins, Marcus Simpson, Anthony Wilson, Jalen Geiger, D.J. Skelton, Ajani Tonge, Jaylon Morris

This was another unit hit hard by graduation, so the secondary will break in plenty of new talent.

Jacobie Elkins saw action last season in nickel situations.

Marcus Simpson was a backup last year at corner back but still got experience on the field.

Anthony Wilson and Jalen Geiger impressed Bacon during spring practice. The Vikings’ coach said he is excited about the potential of both players.

D.J. Skelton has experience at quarterback, wide receiver, and safety. Jalon Morris is an option at safety. Kicker/Punter: Alex Herrera

Spring Valley has been fortunate in recent years with the kicking game. The next in line is Alex Herrera, who has the potential of kicking field goals from as far as 50 yards away. Bacon wants to fine tune his punting and kicking.

Ideally, the Spring Valley coach wants to find another option in the kicking game, as Herrera’s athleticism makes him hard to keep off the field.

Final Analysis: Life in region V-5A is never easy, but Spring Valley finished second last season and had big wins over Lexington, Blythewood, and Irmo.

Offensively, the formula isn’t going to change, and the Vikings have experience at both quarterback and running back. For an offense that has averaged over 265 yards on the ground over the last two seasons, a deep running back stable will only make Spring Valley more dangerous.

Ball security and controlling the clock will be critical especially in region play when the Viking defense will have to go up against the Dutch Fork, Lexington, and Blythewood offenses.

While there are no easy games in region, there has been a lot of change as Blythewood and Lexington enter the 2017 season with new coaches.

To prepare for the late-September and October opponents, Spring Valley will again face a tough non-region schedule featuring Fort Mill and Sumter.

The Vikings would like to bring home the region title they felt slipped through their fingers in 2016. Bacon’s goal is for his team to finish in the top three in the region.

Key Vikings

1. The running backs- There are many leaders in this pack like Tate Iaulualos who could be the key to the offense, but the group as a whole will be vital considering Spring Valley’s option attack. It is filled with players who provide contrasting styles. Some are quick and fast like Anthony Wilson and Marcus Simpson. Some are big physical backs like KeAndre Jones and Jaylon Morris. What may be more important than the individual talents is the depth of the group. Considering the offense runs on shrinking the clock, fresh legs will be a valuable commodity late in many games.

2. Channing Tindall- Tindall has big shoes to fill, both in the linebacking core and on the defense. The three-year starter is the lone returner at linebacker from 2016 and will have to provide leadership on a young defense which has to replace a fair share of starters on all levels. Tindall is being sought after by a number of Division 1 schools and should play a key role in the defense’s success.

3. The offensive line- This is the biggest area of concern for Bacon. The group has talent and potential but lacks experience. In an option-based offense, the offensive line is as important as the running back and quarterback. A rising junior class adds excitement for the future. However, players like Max Shropshire, Aidan Long, and Reggie Stewart may have to grow up quickly for the offense to reach its potential in 2017.

5-year win trend
2012: 8
2013: 12
2014: 6
2015: 6
2016: 8

2016 Regular Season Stats
Rushing offense 265.9
Passing Offense 78.8
Total Offense 344.7
Total Defense 341.6

2016 Stat leaders
Passing: Quincy Hill, 761 yards
Rushing: Quincy Hill, 857 yards
Receiving: Cameron Thomas, 248 yards
Tackles: Da’Prince Haynes, 128

Points per game:
Spring Valley: 29.3
Opponents: 27.3

2017 Schedule

Aug. 18 at Fort Mill
Aug. 25 vs Lower Richland
Sept. 1 at Richland
Sept. 8 vs. Sumter
Sept. 15 at Lexington
Sept. 22 vs. White Knoll
Oct. 6 at Irmo
Oct. 12 vs. River Bluff
Oct. 20 at Dutch Fork
Oct. 27 vs. Blythewood

2016 Results

Fort Mill 21-13 W
Lower Richland 35-32 W
Richland Northeast 49-48
(4OT) W
Sumter 22-36 L
Lexington 34-28 W
White Knoll 7-38 L
River Bluff 45-21 W
Dutch Fork 19-30 L
Blythewood 40-33 W
Irmo 24-17 W

West Ashley 55-18 W
Conway 0-14 L

Head Coach:
Robin Bacon
(3rd season)
Overall record: 50-80

Offensive Coordinator:
Rick Crumpler

Defensive Coordinator:
Mike Harrell

2016 record: 8-4
2016 playoffs: lost to
Conway 14-0 in the second round of the 5A

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