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Big plays give Dave Coyle first big win as Valpo coach

Valparaiso's Michael Rastovic sprints downfield against Trojans ChestertFriday September 20 2013. | Michael Gard/For Sun-Times Media

Valparaiso's Michael Rastovic sprints downfield against the Trojans at Chesterton on Friday, September 20, 2013. | Michael Gard/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 22, 2013 6:12AM



CHESTERTON — Valparaiso coach Dave Coyle doesn’t have much context for big wins as the head coach.

He went through plenty of them as an assistant for Mark Hoffman.

But Coyle didn’t have to think one second about the importance of the Vikings 21-14 victory over Chesterton Friday.

It was the most significant win of his young career, which is now 16 games old.

Consider that the Vikings were playing with a backup running back and an offensive line that has three new players on it.

Consider that virtually no one expected the Vikings, who really haven’t won a game that was unexpected in the last season-and-a-half, to beat the Trojans.

Then consider the fact that the Trojans outgained Valparaiso by more than 100 yards on the ground, and it’s easy to understand the exuberance that Coyle felt after the game.

This was big.

“It’s been a couple of years,” Coyle said. “It’s a huge win for us. It’s an attitude. We have to learn to win those games. We have to have the belief and step out and win them.”

Like many big wins, it was a big play that solidified the victory for the Vikings.

David Hittinger, who had played conservatively all night, never once throwing it down field for three quarters, turned the game around when he hit Jack Andrie for a 50-yard touchdown pass.

The throw was the perfect call for the moment.

The Vikings had just stopped a Chesterton drive and the Trojans were back on their heels after a 20-yard punt.

Hittinger said they had been waiting for the right time to make that call. Offensive coordinator Sam Bernardi and Hittinger had noticed that the safeties were starting to creep in.

Andrie was so wide open — by at least 10 yards — that he was able to wait a second or two for the ball, which was slightly underthrown.

“He made a great catch,” he said. “The kid is heckuva player.”

Coyle said he had nothing to do with the call. He was busy prepping the defense and he totally missed the play.

“Give Sam Bernadi all the credit for that one,” he said.

Hittinger called the victory a “big step in the season. We got our confidence back. Hopefully, we can keep rolling and get another one next week.”

The other big play of the night came when Drake Barton intercepted a Cole Teal pass at the 30 with 3:45 left.

The Trojans were on the move, chewing up clock and gaining traction with a couple of first downs when Barton stepped in front of Teal’s pass on third-and-long and ran it back into Chesterton territory.

Chesterton coach Mark Peterson said his team will just have to move on.

“It’s a great rivalry,” he said. “I don’t want this game to define our season. We have four more important games left on our schedule.”

Sophomore running back DaCota Overland led the Vikings with 108 yards rushing on 22 carries. Cole Teal (98), Avery Beeks (98) and Tyler Gillespie (94) led a balances rushing attack for the Trojans.



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