Jeff Horton (Saint Louis, Mo./Lutheran North H.S.) set Valparaiso's career rushing record while also scoring four touchdowns and Steve Ogden (Wauwatosa, Wis./West H.S.) had more than 200 yards receiving as the Crusaders defeated Wisconsin Lutheran 54-0 on Saturday afternoon in the season opener for both schools in Milwaukee, Wis.
Horton broke Joe Pahr's (1949-1951) school record that was more than 50 years old for career rushing with his 169 yards on 20 carries. Horton now has 2,337 yards one game into his senior season, bettering Pahr's mark of 2,326 yards. He also tied the school's touchdown record with four scores, equaling a mark set by five previous Crusaders.
Ogden hauled in five passes for a career-high 202 yards and two touchdowns. He had 20 catches for 445 yards last year.
The Crusaders found the scoreboard first in 2006 as Horton broke a tackle from six yards out to scamper into the end zone with 5:25 to play in the opening quarter. Valpo put pressure on a Warrior punt which went for just eight yards to set the Brown and Gold up on the Wisconsin Lutheran 39-yard line to start the drive. Horton carried five times on the drive for 32 yards before capping the drive with his 15th career rushing touchdown.
Wisconsin Lutheran appeared poised to answer with a score of its own, driving to the Valpo 20 before facing a fourth-and-seven. The Warriors elected to go for the first down, but Ryan Koepke (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead H.S.) sacked quarterback T.J. Bodnar. Valpo answered going deep on the first play with a 57-yard pass from Ryan Doerffler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia H.S.) to Ogden, taking the ball to the Warrior 16-yard line. Three plays later, Horton found pay dirt again, scoring from two yards out on the final play of the first quarter to make it 14-0 Brown and Gold.
The Crusader defense came up big again on the next WLC possession, forcing a three-and-out. Valpo then went to work again, marching down field. An 11-play, 76-yard drive was capped off yet again by a Horton touchdown run, this time from one yard out as the Crusaders increased the lead to 21-0.
Three and outs were the order of the first half for the Valpo defense, giving the Brown and Gold field position throughout the first half. Another stop gave the Crusaders the ball at midfield and Doerffler immediately hooked up with Ogden with a 50-yard touchdown strike on the first play to make it 28-0 Valparaiso with 4:31 to play in the second quarter, a lead the Crusaders would take into the locker room.
Valpo came out the first half and immediately struck again. Doerffler hooked up with Ogden for a 58-yard touchdown pass, pushing the redshirt-sophomore over 200 yards receiving in his hometown.
Horton took over on the Crusaders' next possession, with Horton surpassing the school rushing record on a 36-yard run down to the five yard line. His next carry found the end zone, his fourth of the day, tying Valpo's school record for touchdowns in a game with four.
Mike Krieg (Romeo, Mich./Romeo H.S.) tacked on a 25-yard field goal, the first of his career, with 2:51 left in the third to increase the lead to 45-0. Valpo added a safety when the Warriors snapped the ball through the end zone on a punt attempt.
Freshman Dennis Batiste (Missouri City, Texas/Hightower H.S.) capped off the scoring with a 25-yard touchdown run with 3:32 left in the game, the first of his career.
Valpo's defense limited the Warriors to just 70 yards in total offense, including just two via the ground. The Crusaders racked up 503 yards of total offense themselves.
Defensively, Koepke led the way with seven tackles, including three for loss. Mike Olsen made 13 tackles for Wisconsin Lutheran (0-1).
The victory is Valpo's second straight in a season opener and the Crusaders' first shutout since a 41-0 blanking over Wisconsin Lutheran in 2004. Valpo also recorded its first season-opening shutout victory since a 13-0 triumph at Alma in 1982. The margin of victory was the most in a shutout since a 54-0 win against Hillsdale in 1951.
Valparaiso (1-0) will come home to Brown Field next Saturday afternoon for the Crusaders' home opener against Trinity International. Kickoff is set for noon with all the action carried live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.