As Week 3’s match-ups get under way tonight, Bremen and Culver Community are looking to build on their first wins in Week 2, while Culver Military is hoping to respond from a its first loss, a disappointing 28-20 defeat in a lightning-postponed game at NorthWood Saturday.
BREMEN (1-1) VS CLASS 4A No. 9 NEW PRAIRIE
The Lions broke into the win column last week with a reprisal for last year’s defeat at the hands of Tippecanoe Valley. Bremen’s defense rose to the occasion, holding the host Vikings to just 95 rushing yards. Perhaps even more importantly, the Lions held their focus for four quarters — despite a 40-minute lightning delay in the fourth. And the team showcased some depth in the win as well.
“Our defense played extremely well. Their offense only scored on a blocked punt where they had a short field,” said Bremen football coach Bob Holmes.
“We learned how to play four quarters. The most important thing for us is to control our brains, and that’s going to be the biggest task for us all year. We played four consecutive quarters focused, and we’re going to have to continue that if we want to be successful in the future. We also played a lot of guys — some of the number twos that we were rotating in stepped up and did a nice job for us. We rotated three guys through at tailback, a couple guys through the fullback position and three or four receivers, and everybody made plays.”
The Lions are going to need all their weapons again this week as the team faces a stern test in Class 4A No. 9 New Prairie. The Cougars are off to a 2-0 start with a 48-7 shellacking of 5A LaPorte and a come-from-behind victory over 3A No. 4 Marian, 28-21, last week.
Led by senior fullback Wade Young and senior quarterback Zach Brassell, New Prairie’s option offense will force the Lions’ defense to stay honest.
“They’re a very good football team. You’ve got to be a pretty good football team to beat a 5A LaPorte 48-7 and then turn around and beat number four in 3A Marian. We’re going to have our hands full this week,” said Holmes. “They force you to play assignment football, and that means we have to be disciplined and we can’t take a play off or that means they’ll be standing in the end zone.”
However the Northern State Conference-opening match-up plays out, Holmes says his team is up for the challenge.
“We like a challenge early in the season,” he said. “We start out with 4A Plymouth, 3A Tippy Valley and then we go to 4A New Prairie. It really lets us know where we’re at and gives us something to work for to get better each week going towards the tournament. Our goal is to play well in the tournament, and hopefully our tough schedule lends itself to that.”
CULVER COMMUNITY (1-1) VS TRITON (1-1)
After a tough 18-6 loss to West Central in Week 1, Culver Community needed something to go its way in Week 2. The Cavs traveled to Union Mills to face South Central last Friday, and they finally got rolling with a 32-21 win over the host Satellites. Now they’re hoping to carry some of their newfound confidence over into this week’s Northern State Conference match-up with a Triton team looking to rebound from its first loss of the year versus Northfield last week.
“We needed a win in the worst way. We just needed good things to happen after a tough loss in Week 1 to validate all the hard work, all the preparation that we put into it,” said Culver head coach Andy Thomas. “I was disappointed in how we started. We kicked off to them and they got the ball and ran in down the field and scored, so we kind of didn’t have a lot of urgency to start with. But once we got into the first series — we scored on a big play and then we had a three and out — I think our kids could kind of feel that we had a better team. “
Triton is a team that Thomas and Culver know well, but with a new twist under first-year head coach John Johns. The Trojans seem reinvigorated by their new boss, and the Cavs will look to limit the big play as a key to earning their second straight win tonight.
“I see a lot of similarities,” said Thomas of this year’s Trojans lineup. “Triton has always had athletes. They’ve always been a dangerous team. They’ve always had three or four kids that can score from anywhere on the field. We’re definitely going to have to contain their athletes and not give up the big play and make them earn everything they get.”
Like Glenn and Culver Military, Culver was chased off the field by lightning last Friday night and was forced to return to the field Saturday. Between that and the Labor Day holiday, there have been some disruptions to the Cavs’ schedule, and Thomas is anxious to see how his team responds at home Friday.
“It was tough conditions to play in. They chased us off the field on Friday; we had a long delay and ended up coming home and then went back up there at 10 in the morning for a 10 a.m. start and got chased off twice again on Saturday. So it was basically a 24-hour odyssey, and I was proud of the way our kids handled themselves,” Thomas said.
“We definitely were sluggish on Tuesday. I think part of that was getting out of the routine. We took Monday off. That’s the first time I’ve done that, but after what we went through on Friday and Saturday, I thought that was appropriate for us mentally. But how are we going to handle it? I don’t know. We’ll see on Friday. I know that we can’t kind of wait around and let things happen. We’ve got to play with more urgency.”
CMA (1-1) vs
Like its neighbors down the way, Culver Military also saw its usual Friday night routine disrupted by lightning and was forced to file back onto the bus to head for NorthWood last Saturday morning, en route to a 28-20 loss to the Panthers. Unlike the Cavaliers, however, it was business as usual for CMA Monday, and head coach Andy Dorrel is hoping that return to normalcy will pay off in tonight’s Week 3 match-up with visiting Buchanan, Mich.
“We felt that we did everything in trying to put our kids in a position to have the right mindset to get ready to go on Saturday morning, and we didn’t play like that,” Dorrel said. “I think consistency does play a big role in football. You want to play well from one week to the next, you want to play well from one series to the next, you want to play well from one rep to the next. We weren’t able to maintain that consistency from Friday night to Saturday morning, but we were back at it on Monday. We got to work and got rolling. We had school on Monday, so it was just a regular day for us, so we were able to get back on schedule.”
Key to this week’s match-up is the Eagles’ ability to contain DI prospect Doug Freeman at fullback. Inside linebacker Nick Mahalak — who was sidelined with injuries early last season — finished with 10 tackles and five assists at NorthWood last week, and Dorrel is hoping that break-out performance can carry over to CMA’s cause this week. The Eagles coaching staff will also look to avoid getting out-schemed by the visitors.
“Buchanan’s got a great fullback or tailback in Doug Freeman. I believe he’s got four Division I offers already. He’s very special. He has great speed, he has great size and strength, and we need to be able to keep him under control,” said the CMA skipper.
“They do a really good job of scheming defenses and bringing a lot of pressure and making it tough on offenses so we’re really not quite sure what to expect on defense, but we know that we’re going to get a heavy dose of Doug Freeman on the offensive side.”
Still reeling from the early loss to the Panthers, CMA’s schedule isn’t going to get any easier headed into games at Class 2A No. 1 Lafayette Central Catholic and at home versus top-ranked 3A Brebeuf Jesuit in Weeks 4 and 5. So getting back on the winning track will be important tonight.
“I won’t tell our kids this, but this is really a must-win game for us,” Dorrel said. “We have to get back on track because we have Lafayette Central Catholic next week and then we have Brebeuf the week after that, and both of those schools are number one in their classes, so we’ve got our hands full and we really need to have some positive momentum going into those games and really do some things well to get our swagger back on the offensive side of the ball.”
In other area action…
John Glenn (0-2, 0-1 NSC) will host area rival Knox (1-1, 0-0 NSC) in a bid to break into the win column after a tough 6-0 loss to Jimtown last week in which the Falcons seemed to make some strides, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Meanwhile, LaVille looks to improve on a strong 2-0 start — its first such start since 2009 — under first-year head coach Will Hostrawser as the Lancers hit the road for Elkhart in an NSC-opener at Jimtown (1-1, 1-0 NSC).