LAPORTE | David Hittinger broke tackles, threw stiff arms and did just about anything else he could come up with to move the ball all over Kiwanis Field Friday night.
The Valparaiso quarterback ran in two touchdowns and accounted for 152 yards of offense -- including a 50-yard touchdown scamper late in the first half -- as the Vikings knocked off LaPorte 24-13 in the Duneland Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
“There are a lot of guys out there that are bigger than me, and I don’t want to get hit,” Hittinger said. “I’m just running for my life.”
The Vikings led 7-0 late in the second quarter when the Slicers chose to throw instead of running out the clock deep in Valparaiso territory. With the clock stopped, the Vikings were able to conserve their three timeouts for a drive that began on the 50-yard line. It turns out Hittinger didn’t need the timeouts as the senior broke off a long touchdown run by catching the LaPorte linebackers off-guard on a 50-yard touchdown.
“Anytime you get the chance to run the two-minute drill, that’s something that I love to do,” Hittinger said. “I just get the ball, and I run. I’m just going off instincts when I see the field in front of me.”
The Vikings (1-2, 1-0 DAC) overcame a number of personnel losses on the offensive side of the football to run up 238 yards of offense, including a 76-yard rushing night from DaCota Overland.
The sophomore wasn’t anywhere near the depth chart when training camp began and worked his way to third-string by the season opener. By Friday night, Overland was the starting running back and played like one against the Slicers (0-3, 0-1).
“I didn’t want to be nervous, and I didn’t want to make any mistakes,” Overland said. “I just concentrated on running hard whenever my number was called.”
Hittinger delivered the highlight of the night early in the third quarter when he turned a drive-killing sack into a 21-yard gain by dancing his way through the LaPorte defense. Overland followed up that play with an 18-yard touchdown, the first of his varsity career.
“We have three seniors that started as sophomores, and they talked about how scared they were when they first started,” Valparaiso coach Dave Coyle said. “They talked to our guys and said they were nervous, but that they all stepped up when we asked them to.”
LaPorte received a pair of rushing touchdowns from Eric Mazany and Drake Sanders late in the fourth quarter. Starting running back Charles Salary ran for 42 yards in the first quarter but missed the rest of the game with a sprained ankle.