Kankakee Valley’s Tyler Birky turns in an effort for the record books
By Steve T. Gorches 648-3141 or firstname.lastname@example.org August 22, 2012 11:08PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 7:55AM
If anyone knows about having a running back go crazy in a high school football game, it’s Brad Stewart.
The second-year Kankakee Valley head coach was an assistant at Lowell for many years, and he watched several standout backs carry for the Red Devils while putting up some ridiculous numbers at times.
He got to witness another one of those eye-popping games in the Kougars’ season-opening 49-39 victory over Rensselaer in the annual Cracker Barrell rivalry contest between the Jasper County schools.
And based on what longtime KV sports enthusiasts have told Stewart, it was a record-setting night for his newest workhorse back, Tyler Birky. The senior had 27 carries for 340 yards and five touchdowns. The scoring runs ranged from 2 yards to 59 with 42- and 43-yarders in between.
“According to some who have been here a while, it could be a record,” Stewart said. “Three years ago Dylan Patrick had a big game against Highland.”
That was on Oct. 8, 2010, but Patrick had 291 yards rushing in that game, meaning Birky’s effort is unofficially a KV record.
But it wasn’t quite a Lowell-like workhorse theme.
“We actually had four guys in double-figure carries,” Stewart said. “but it was Tyler’s night. You stick with what’s working.”
In fact, Joel Boden also cracked the 100-yard mark with 105 on 13 carries.
Birky’s effort could be considered a surprise based on last year’s stats. He had 650 yards the whole season with six TDs. So he’s well on his way to passing both those — maybe this week when the Kougars face Wheeler, which lost its first regular-season game in more than four seasons last week. That last loss came against KV.
“We gotta play, that’s what it comes down to,” Stewart said.
Youth on display for Munster: With four starters returning for the 2012 season, Munster head coach Leroy Marsh knew he was going to have some early struggles. Falling behind 13-0 to Lake Central in the season opener’s first five minutes didn’t help matters, either.
“I wanted them to fight back just like they did right before half,” said Marsh about his team’s 40-0 loss to LC.
Munster reached the Lake Central 2-yard line before the drive stalled out, thanks in part to an illegal substitution penalty.
“That’s a young mistake that backed us up and took the score away from us,” Marsh added. “But there were some good things (last week); I liked their spirit. There will be better days ahead.”
The schedule doesn’t get any easier with another Duneland Conference power, Chesterton, coming to Munster this week.
Correspondent Dave Melton contributed