Tennessee Valley Vipers Take on Heavy "Load"

Chris YowAnalyst IJune 5, 2009

Tennessee Valley has its work cut out Saturday night.

The Vipers had their five-game winning streak snapped by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last week in their 48-34 road loss. Tennessee Valley fell to 6-3 on the season, but look to bounce back this upcoming week against division foe Kentucky.

Kentucky will bring a load with them on the trip. Former New York Giants quarterback and University of Kentucky star, Jared Lorenzen a.k.a. "J. Load," "The Hefty Lefty," "The Pillsbury Throwboy," or "The Round Mound of Touchdown," will lead the Horsemen into battle at the Von Braun Center.

Lorenzen has been very good in his play this season, splitting the duties with Justin Rascatti.

With 43 touchdowns to just six interceptions, Lorenzen is as good an af2 quarterback as you will find. And his listed 285-pound frame makes him hard to bring down in the backfield and when he is on the run.

He has rushed for 173 yards and 16 touchdowns for the year in nine games.

Assisting Lorenzen with the quarterbacking duties is Rascatti, a second-year player out of James Madison. Rascatti has not necessarily split the snaps, but in his eight games this season has completed 62-of-90 passes for 12 touchdowns and just one interception.

The favorite target for the duo seems to be 6'6" wide receiver Lonnell Dewalt. Dewalt has amassed 24 touchdowns on 71 catches, both of which lead the Horsemen.

Defensively, the Horsemen have improved over the last two weeks, giving up just 48 and 39 points. However, the previous seven games were tough on the Kentucky defense. Overall the Horsemen have given up 58 points a contest.

Tennessee Valley counters the Horsemen attack with a defense giving up just 40.8 points per game. Last week, the Vipers held the number two scoring offense in the league to just 48 points.

The defense has been shaken up the last three weeks and it will continue to get crazier as ironman Bradly Chavez has been placed on team suspension and is unlikely to return the rest of the season due to personal issues.

Who will pick up the slack Chavez will leave behind has yet to be seen, but the Vipers have been very quick to plug in players at any position under head coach Dean Cokinos.

Offensively, the Vipers have been plugging wide receivers for the last five weeks, however, this week Tennessee Valley will have their full arsenal of threats on the ends.

Michael Johnson, Chris Bocage, Jeremy Grier, and Larry Shipp will all be available for the passes from Kevin Eakin.

Eakin, who has thrown for 48 touchdowns and just six interceptions this season, has played very well in the last six games, sans two drives last week at Wilkes-Barre, in which he completed 0-of-8 passes in consecutive drives.

The Vipers acquired quarterback James Pinkney from Manchester as well, although he has yet to report.

Tennessee Valley will have a challenge stopping the Horsemen offense and with the recent success of the Kentucky defense, could pose a challenge to the Vipers' offense.

The VBC has been kind to the Vipers this season thus far. Tennessee Valley has won by an average of 32.5 points at home and has only committed two turnovers.

Will the Horsemen be able to conquer the Vipers in the friendly confines of the VBC? The question remains until 7:30 pm CDT Saturday night.

Pit Prediction:
Kentucky Horsemen 41
Tennessee Valley Vipers 50

Key Players
Kentucky Horsemen - QB Jared Lorenzen, WR Lonnell Dewalt, DB Matt Forbes
Tennessee Valley Vipers - QB Kevin Eakin, DE Eric Scott, DB Desmond Foster