CROWN POINT| Getting into the end zone has been no easy chore for Crown Point in recent weeks.
Tristan Peterson tossed those troubles aside just as he tossed aside the Valparaiso defense, scoring three rushing touchdowns in Crown Point’s 26-3 win over the Times No. 9 Vikings on Friday night.
Peterson ran for 181 yards and each of his three touchdowns was at least 40 yards in length.
“This feels great to be able to put together a rushing game like this,” Peterson said. “The line opened up holes and I just read the blocks.”
Peterson’s big day started in the first quarter when Crown Point coach Kevin Enright dialed up a run through the middle of the line on fourth down. Peterson rumbled untouched for 40 yards and scored Crown Point’s first touchdown since Week 3.
“We’ve been searching for some consistency in our run game and I think we found that tonight,” Enright said. “We ran the ball hard and the guys up front opened up some space.”
The Vikings looked like they were on their way to a hot start when Jake Jatis fumbled near midfield on Crown Point’s first drive of the game. David Hittinger connected with Michael Rastovic for a 40-yard completion three plays later, but the senior receiver was ruled down on the half-yard line. The Bulldog defense toughened up and held Valparaiso to a field goal.
The Bulldogs (3-3, 1-3 DAC) shined again in the second quarter as they blocked a Valparaiso punt which rolled out of the end zone for a safety. The Vikings (3-3, 3-1) looked like they caught a break several plays later on a Crown Point muffed punt, but the Bulldogs came out of the pile with the ball and Peterson scored a 50-yard touchdown on the next play.
Peterson continued to torch the Vikings in the third quarter when he scored on a 44-yard run following Troy Grady’s interception of Hittinger. The Vikings had three turnovers, including two fumbles in the red zone.
“It’s a simple game,” Valparaiso coach Dave Coyle said. “You make mistakes and you can’t win in the DAC. We didn’t take advantage of some opportunities we had and we made too many mistakes.”
In addition to the three turnovers, the Bulldogs were in Hittinger’s face from the start of the game and sacked the Valparaiso quarterback four times, two of which came from senior linebacker Connor Andras.
“It’s a great feeling when we can force turnovers in the red zone,” Andras said. “We come together as a unit when we’re down near the end zone. We know that we can’t break.”