For the first time since the 2017 season reached its climactic conclusion, the Valparaiso University football team will take the field with a game atmosphere at Brown Field on Saturday.
The annual Valpo football Spring Game will get underway at 11 a.m. as the Crusaders use a modified scoring system again this season with a format that pits the offense (Gold) against the defense (Brown). For the second straight year, the event will be divided into three contests.
The game will begin with a fourth-down challenge comprised of 18 snaps. The contest will feature various fourth-down situations – 4th-and-1, 4th-and-2, 4th-and-3, etc. The defense will get one point for each stop and the offense will receive one point for each conversion. The team with the most points at the conclusion of the segment will be declared the winner.
The second challenge will be a red-zone scrimmage with six drives starting at the 20-yard line. The offense needs to score 26 points in the six drives to win, while the defense wins if it can hold the offense below 26 points.
The final leg of the event will be the offense vs. defense scrimmage with a modified scoring system. The scoring system is outlined below. Special teams segments will be held between each of the three challenges.
Head coach Dave Cecchini said the team has enjoyed a successful spring season.
“We’ve been healthier this spring than we have in the past,” Cecchini said. “We’ve had a couple kids banged up, which isn’t uncommon. It’s been the best overall in the last few springs from an execution standpoint. In the past, there was sometimes a considerable drop off when you went from the first team to the second team. The drop off is not nearly as significant this year. It’s impressive to see how far we are on both sides of the ball in terms of schematics. We’ve been executing our schemes at a very good clip with very few mental breakdowns.”
Valpo has completed 12 practices and will have an additional practice on Friday in advance of Saturday’s spring game and one more on Monday to round out the spring. However, there’s something a little different about Saturday’s event compared to the other 14 practices.
“You have a crowd with more of a gameday atmosphere,” Cecchini said. “You’re looking for guys to step up in the spotlight and show they are ‘gamers’ who can make plays in pressure situations. We’re looking at who can step up and show us something we haven’t seen so far this spring.”
Cecchini also outlined staying healthy as a priority on Saturday with the considerable live work that will take place during the event. One position of interest is quarterback, where four players will see action with starter Jimmy Seewald sitting out the spring with an injury.
“The red shirts will be off and our quarterbacks will be live for the spring game,” Cecchini said. “We’ve had a good chance to see all four players take snaps this spring, and they each bring something different to the table. It will be interesting to see where the depth chart ends up at that position."
1 Point for an accepted offensive penalty
1 Point for a defensive stop (resulting in a Punt) or 2 points for a stop on 4th down
2 Points for a missed FG attempt
3 Points for a turnover that is whistled dead
6 Points for a turnover returned for a TD
1 Point for an accepted defensive penalty
3 Points for a made FG
6 Points for a TD
1 Point for a successful PAT
2 Points for a successful 2 pt. conversion