Steve Ogden (Wauwatosa, Wis./West H.S.) had two touchdown receptions and more than 200 yards worth of catches for Valparaiso on Saturday afternoon, but it was not enough as Mason Webb kicked a 24-yard field goal with 1:40 left to lift Morehead State to a 16-14 victory over the Crusaders at Brown Field.
Ogden had nine catches for 226 yards, a career high, for the game, Valpo’s home finale. His 86-yard touchdown catch down the right sideline with 1:33 left in the third quarter put Valpo in front 14-13 after the Crusaders had trailed 13-0.
“I thought Steve had a really good performance today,” head coach Stacy Adams said. “Our game plan was to pass, we just did not make enough big plays.”
Valpo’s defense held the Eagles most of the fourth quarter. Morehead State (6-2, 4-1 PFL) drove to the Crusader 31 with just over 10 minutes to play, only to be turned away on downs. After the visitors got the ball back with just under seven minutes to play, Valpo forced a three-and-out.
The punt, however, was fumbled, allowed Morehead State to recover at the Valpo 42 yard line. Eight plays later, Webb connected on the field goal to put the Eagles in front.
Valpo had one last chance as John Popper (Dublin, Ohio/Coffman H.S.) returned the kickoff to the Crusader 40. Two plays later, David Hyland intercepted a pass, the third Eagle pick of the day, to seal the victory.
Defense was the story of the opening quarter, as neither team could find the scoreboard. Morehead State broke through first, with 8:36 left in the second, as Jerrod Pendleton caught a six-yard pass from Brian Yost. Tom Oswald (Cary, Ill./Cary-Grove H.S.) blocked the point after try, his third blocked kick of the season.
On the next possession, Rick Cornelius plunged in the end zone from one-yard out to increase Morehead State’s lead to 13-0. Valpo responded before halftime with a seven play drive set up by Popper’s kickoff return to the Morehead State 39. Ogden caught a 27-yard touchdown pass over the middle on a 4th-and-15 play to cut the lead to 13-7 at the break.
“We had a hard fought game,” Adams added. “We played very well both offensively and defensively. We just came up on the short end of the scoreboard.”
Valparaiso finished the game with 325 yards of total offense compared with 313 for Morehead State. The Crusaders managed just 21 yards on the ground, though. Warren Arnold (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein H.S.) completed 17-of-36 attempts for 304 yards, most of which were to Ogden.
Brian Yost was 12-of-25 for 158 yards for the Eagles. Pendleton led guests on the ground with 81 yards on 15 carries
. “Good teams bounce back,” Adams concluded with. “We look at it as having a two-game season now.”
Valparaiso (4-5, 1-4) will head to Jacksonville next Saturday for an 11 a.m. kickoff against the Dolphins. All the action will be carried live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network.