AKRON – The Culver Military Academy football team spoiled Scott Bibler’s return as head coach of Tippecanoe Valley, Friday night in Akron.
Serving as the head coach of the Vikings from 1990 to 2005, Bibler moved over to become Jeff Shriver’s assistant for eight seasons, before retaking the reins this season.
Looking for career win No. 99, Bibler instead had to deal with a 36-13 loss.
“Right now, it doesn’t feel so good,” Bibler said in jest about being back as head coach of the team. “But, it does feel good to be back, and I’m glad to work with the kids.”
In his return, Valley was outgained 343 yards to 153, as the team looks to replace graduated offensive weapons such as quarterback Ben Shriver, wide receiver Tanner Andrews and running back Nolan Sponseller.
In his first varsity start, sophomore quarterback Alec Craig showed Johnny Manziel-esque athleticism, but looked more to the rush than not, completing 7 of 15 passes for 76 yards and a pick, while also leading the team with 35 rushing yards.
“We just have to help him build some confidence, and he’s going to get there,” Bibler said of the 6-foot, 160-pound QB. “He’s a good athlete. We’re going to continue to work with him.”
Best when rolling out of the pocket, Craig’s best drive came on the opening drive of the fourth quarter, just after CMA went on top 28-7.
Beginning at Valley’s own 40, Craig directed the squad down the field, completing both pass attempts to senior tight end Jonah Mikel for a total of 22 yards, while also scrambling for a 29-yard gain, which was accompanied with a personal foul against CMA.
Junior Nick Feldman ended the drive with a two-yard touchdown run, cutting the lead to 28-13, but that was as close as Valley would get.
Following the Vikings’ touchdown, CMA senior quarterback Jesse Brownfield completed his next six attempts, throwing for 87 yards and a touchdown in the final quarter.
In his first varsity start, Brownfield was 14 of 26 for 131 yards and two scores.
For much of the game, CMA’s passing attack struggled, but its running game did not, tallying 212 yards on 38 carries, led by senior Rune Kirby’s 146 yards and three touchdowns.
Stopping the run was a problem for Valley a year ago, and early-season injuries have already made things tougher on the defense.
Having already lost sophomore linebacker Dakota Myers in summer camp, Valley freshman Bryce Webster, who had been rotating in at defensive end, was injured at practice this week, as was junior linebacker Andrew Lee.
Thinning out the defense even more, Bibler lost two more players Friday, including 2013 All-Three Rivers Conference lineman Austin French.
“It was a hot, humid night and we had a couple guys go down,” Bibler said. “(Senior Austin) French got hurt, and he’s a key player for us on the offensive and defensive line. Then, (senior defensive end) Daulton Cover went down. We’re young, and we had to get even younger.”
Along with Feldman’s score in the fourth quarter, Valley’s other was achieved by senior Aaron Hoffman in the second quarter, which gave the Vikings a 7-6 lead with 6:33 remaining in the half.
The score capped off Valley’s longest drive of the night, covering 70 yards in 12 plays and 5:31.
Valley will look to even its record this Friday at Bremen, a team that dropped its season opener 56-18 at Plymouth.
“We’re young in a lot of areas, and we’re building,” Bibler said. “We’re growing and we’re trying to get better. It showed tonight.
“It’s a building process right now, be we’ll get there,” he added.

CMA    6    8    14    8    –    36
TV    0    7    0    6    –    13
    CMA    TV
1st downs    16    10
Rushing yds    212    77
Passing yds    131    76
Comp-Att-Int    14-26-0    7-15-1
Total yds    343    153
Fumbles/lost    0/0    2/1
Penalties/yds    16/110    6/45
Punts/avg    3/31    6/22
First Quarter
C – Rune Kirby 7 run (conversion failed) 0:09, 6-0.
Second Quarter
V – Aaron Hoffman 4 run (Brandon Webster kick) 6:33, 7-6.
C – Kirby 10 run (Kirby conversion run) 3:24, 14-7.
Third Quarter
C – Kirby 3 run (conversion failed) 7:50, 20-7.
C – Jesse Brownfield 6 pass to Max Arguindegui (Brownfield conversion pass to Ryan Hallenbeck) 0:02, 28-7.
Fourth Quarter
V – Nick Feldman 2 run (kick failed) 10:07, 28-13.
C – Brownfield 10 pass to Rayford Dexter-El (Brownfield conversion pass to Hallenbeck) 1:35, 36-13.
Rushing – CMA, Kirby 16-146, Alex Johnson 12-70, Arguindegui 1-1, Brownfield 9-(-5); Valley, Alec Craig 10-35, A. Hoffman 5-18, Garrett Bell 6-16, Dylan Hoffman 2-8, Brandon Murphy 3-4, Michael Thacker 1-4, Feldman 2-3, Jarred Littlejohn 2-(-2), Daulton Cover 1-(-9).
Passing – CMA, Brownfield 14-26, 131 yds; Valley, Craig 7-15, 76 yds.
Receiving – CMA, Hallenbeck 6-44, Arguindegui 3-31, Wheaton Jackobice 2-31, Colin Dean 1-19, Dexter-El 1-10, Johnson 1-(-4); Valley, Jonah Mikel 3-45, Webster 2-19, Murphy 1-14, Feldman 1-(-2).