Football: Valparaiso’s Matt Mayes, Griffith’s JP Kunze a telling tale of two QBs
By BRANDON VICKREY For Sun-Times Media August 15, 2014 11:24PM
Valparaiso's Collin Vinyard runs downfield during a scrimmage against Griffith on Friday, August 15, 2014 at Valparaiso. | Michael Gard/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 17, 2014 6:15AM
VALPARAISO — Valparaiso coach Dave Coyle took a long look at both players vying for the starting quarterback position during Friday’s scrimmage against Griffith.
Although Coyle hinted he may be close to reaching a verdict, he offered no official word as to who will get the nod under center for next week’s season opener against Penn.
Junior Matt Mayes started the scrimmage at quarterback, airing out a 13-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Johnson to complete the first drive of the night. JP Kunze alternated with Mayes at quarterback throughout the scrimmage.
After the game, Coyle was careful to remain noncommittal about his starting quarterback, while speaking highly of Mayes and Kunze.
“You’ve got sort of a tale of two cities with those two quarterbacks,” Coyle said. “Both of them can throw well. At this point in time, I still want to take a look at the film and make some decisions before we go in one direction or another. That’s still going to be a little bit of a secret until we have a chance to break things down.”
Following the Mayes-to-Johnson connection early in the scrimmage, the Vikings found the end zone three additional times, all through the ground. Colin Ahearn poked the ball across the goal line twice, once from two yards out and again from three yards out.
“I liked the running game,” Coyle said. “I thought that the running backs did a nice job and I thought the offensive line did a super job creating some holes.”
Griffith’s Jacob Cottrell was involved in every Panthers touchdown, rushing for three before grabbing an 18-yard scoring pass from Troy Cullen.
“I wanted to prove that I’m ready to play,” Cottrell said. “I’m a guy that can step up and do it for my team.”
Griffith coach Jim Pickett was pleased with the progress that he saw from his defense. The Panthers limited the Vikings to one score in 12 plays from the Griffith 10.
“Our defense has improved tremendously from where we were last year,” Pickett said. “We’ve still got a long ways to go, but we really focused on that in the offseason. They read their keys well; they flowed to the ball well.”
Griffith and Valparaiso are in similar positions, with third-year head coaches attempting to bounce back from two straight losing seasons. Both coaches were upbeat about what they saw.
“I wanted our defense to come together as a unit,” Pickett said. “I wanted to see some improvement on the defensive side of the ball, and it really worked out well.”