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Penn hands Valpo a mighty lopsided loss

Valparaiso quarterback David Hittinger runs ball during home game against Penn Friday August 23 2013. | Michael Gard/For Sun-Times Media

Valparaiso quarterback David Hittinger runs the ball during a home game against Penn on Friday, August 23, 2013. | Michael Gard/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 25, 2013 6:13AM



VALPARAISO — It’ll be back to the drawing board for Valparaiso High School.

The Vikings got an early season look at a team they could see in sectionals and the scenery wasn’t pretty.

Penn manhandled Valparaiso 49-7 Friday in the season opener. There was nothing particularly special about this opener for the Vikings except perhaps the play of quarterback David Hittinger.

Good news for the Vikings? They have lots of time to try to figure out the problems, which are multiple at this point. Penn rushed for 310 yards — at will basically — and passed for 62 yards, all of them in the first half. Quarterback Zach Oakley was a mystery for the Kingsmen, rushing for 78 yards and generally keeping the Viking defense off balance.

The one time Valparaiso did break through and score, with the help of a personal foul call on the Kingsmen, they gave the touchdown right back on an 88-yard kickoff return by Tim Deal. The only Vikings score of the night was a 7-yard pass from Hittinger to Michael Rastovic in the third quarter. The Vikings also threw four interecptions — three by Hittinger — and one by backup JP Kunze.

The off night for the Vikings was hard medicine for Valparaiso coach Dave Coyle to swallow.

“We never got into a rhythm from top to bottom,” he said. “It was upsetting to watch. It was frustrating. We didn’t have any special teams. That was something we had to have. This is not indicative of what these seniors stand for.”

Penn scored first on a 1-yard touchdown run by Zach Oakley with 2:39 left in the first quarter. That capped off a quick six-play, 38-yard drive for the Kingsmen. The big play was a 23-yard pass from Oakley to Nate Miller.

Penn actually wasted one on the previous drive, coughing up the football on the goal line.

The second quarter was a carbon copy of the first. Penn opened with a 3-yard touchdown run by Khali Fleming with 10:41 left. That score came on a 32-yard, four-play drive set up by an interception from Deal.

The last score of the half was a 4-yard run by Fleming. Penn dominated every offensive stat in the first half, with Oakley completing his first five passes for 48 yards.

Penn rushed for 132 yards and Oakley finished 7-of-9 passing for 67 yards.

The Vikings didn’t make a first down until the second quarter. They finished with 21 yards rushing and Hittinger was 5-of-11 passing for 34 yards with two interceptions.

Hittinger rebounded in the second half, rushing for 58 yards while generally keeping plays alive with his feet.

But his arm and legs were about the extent of the Valparaiso offense. The other rushers combined for 17 total yards running.

Tyler Carpenter led Penn with 102 yards on the ground.



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