With the recent rains and forecasts calling for more of it today, tonight’s area football games could be sloppy affairs.
CMA, Bremen and John Glenn are all looking to carry their winning momentum over to tonight’s contests with Brebeuf Jesuit, Culver Community and Triton, while Culver, LaVille and Triton look to get back on the winning track with home games versus Bremen, Glenn and Knox.
Minimizing the turnovers and capitalizing on the other teams’ mistakes look to be key in what are likely to be poor field conditions.
CULVER MILITARY (3-1) vs. BREBEUF JESUIT (3-1)
All of a sudden, Culver Military seems to have found Lafayette Central Catholic’s number.
After bringing the Knights’ 48-game win streak to a screeching halt in 2012, the Eagles repeated the feat against Class 2A No. 1 LCC last Friday as Pierre Byrne broke a 7-7 tie with a 41-yard touchdown run at the 5:59 stop of the fourth quarter, and Kyle Bennett picked off a Ty Preston pass at the LCC 36, then returned it to the Central Catholic 27 with 2:10 to go in the fourth frame to give CMA the final possession and seal a 14-7 win on the road in Lafayette.
“Really the key was great defense. Our defensive game plan really played out like we hoped it would, and I give a lot of credit to (defensive coordinator) Kevin Danti and the defensive staff for really putting together a game plan that would really minimize some of the talent that LCC has,” said CMA football coach Andy Dorrel. “I was really proud of the guys for making a long road trip, getting off the bus and being ready to play football. I was really pleased with how well our kids managed the road trip and got off to a fast start in Lafayette.”
The Eagles have their work cut out for them again as they host 3A No. 2-rated Brebeuf Jesuit. The Braves suffered their first loss of the year with a 38-31 defeat to 6A Indianapolis Tech last week, but Dorrel still sees plenty to worry about in his team’s final home game of the season as the Academies close down Oliver Field for renovations in advance of the 2014 season.
“They’re still a viable opponent,” said Dorrel with a chuckle. “We’ve always had trouble with Brebeuf. They’ve always had an aggressive defense and come hard with a lot of pressure. They’ve got a great tailback, a great quarterback so they really have some weapons on offense. Pound for pound they’re much bigger than us, but our athletes are about even so it’s going to be a great high school football game.”
Key to this week’s game is finishing drives. The Eagles finished with 326 offensive yards against Central Catholic but scored just once — both Byrne TDs — and Dorrel is hoping to parlay more possessions into scores tonight.
“LCC’s defense is very sound as is Brebeuf’s, so what we have to do is to try and figure out a way we can be more successful moving the ball through the air,” said the CMA boss. “We had a really nice rushing game last week against LCC, but we didn’t put the ball in the end zone. We just failed to execute in the red zone, and that almost cost us the game. But the fact of the matter is that we learned that we have to be able to finish our drives; we learned how important every possession is in a game like this. When you have two teams that are evenly-matched, every possession counts, whether on offense or defense. We told our guys if we’re going to be a great team, why wait? Let’s be great now, and that’s kind of the approach we’ve taken this week.”
BREMEN (2-2, 1-1 NSC) at CULVER (2-2, 1-1 NSC)
Last week’s Northern State Conference home match-up with Triton turned into a 52-7 rout, and Bremen head coach Bob Holmes voiced some concerns after the game that his players might let up in this week’s practice.
But the Lions haven’t had any letdowns so far, and it’s left Holmes hopeful for tonight’s match-up at Culver Community.
“They came to work this week ready to work, and that’s probably the most important part of this week,” said Holmes. “After a good win, young kids tend to want to take it easy and think that they’re unbeatable, but our kids came back with the thought process that we still have a lot of things that we need to work on. That’s very refreshing that they understand the concept that we have a long way to go in this season.”
Culver may have finished on the wrong side of a rout of its own last Friday — a 62-0 shutout on the road at New Prairie — but with the NSC front-running Cougars ranked fifth in the 4A polls, Holmes isn’t putting a whole lot of stock in the Cavs loss.
“More than anything I think that we as a coaching staff understand how good of a coach Andy Thomas is. He always has a great game plan each and every year he plays us and when he plays anybody,” said Holmes. “We know that he’s going to come in and take away some of our strengths, and we’re going to have to execute some parts of our offense that we probably haven’t done extremely well with yet. It also presents a challenge for us because we have to have more variety this week and we have to have a lot more offense in our repertoire.”
One item of concern for Holmes and his staff is his team’s ability to defend against the option. Bremen struggled against the offense in a 27-7 loss to New Prairie in Week 3, and he’s hoping his team can take some lessons from that loss into its Week 5 contest.
“I thought our big problem against New Prairie, an option team, was our inability to focus hard and do our job on a defense that gets stressed by the option because they force you to play assignment football. Andy’s team is going to do that extremely well, and that was definitely a glaring weakness for us in Week 3,” said Holmes.
And as with all area teams, the weather tonight is another possible concern.
“I think another factor could turn out to be the weather,” said Holmes Thursday. “They’re calling for a bad day tomorrow, and whenever you have bad conditions whoever capitalizes on turnovers and has the least mistakes, that momentum is critical.”
GLENN (2-2, 2-1 NSC)
at TRITON (1-3, 0-2 NSC)
Two weeks into the season, Glenn found itself at 0-2 under first-year head coach Dave Sharpe. Fast forward to this week, and the Falcons are sitting at an even 2-2 mark with plenty of momentum to spare.
Glenn has been dominant during the past two weeks, outscoring Knox and LaVille by a combined 70-16 margin. The Falcons are looking good on both sides of the ball and want to keep improving against a Triton squad trying to recover from a disappointing loss at Bremen last week.
“We truly feel we have 11 solid players on each side of the ball. We don’t have a true MVP on either side, it’s just we don’t feel like we have any weak links,” said Sharpe Thursday. “That’s why we as a coaching staff love coaching this group, because of number one how hard they play, number two how much they love to play and number three, how well they play together. It’s been a fun season so far, and we’re looking forward to another fun night tomorrow.”
Key to tonight’s match-up is how well Triton’s linebacker corps are able to perform. On the other side of the ball, the Falcons will look to contain Triton quarterback Grant Stichter, tight end Jayden Mosie, and sophomore back Jeremy Jones, who finished with 48 rushing yards against Bremen last week.
“We think that Triton has four pretty good linebackers, so I think that we’re going to have trouble moving the ball, particularly wide — their linebacking corps really flies to the ball really well we’ve noticed. Offensively we’re very impressed with their quarterback. Their tight end (Jayden Mosier) we think is a really great football player — he kind of busted loose in the Culver game in the second half — and then they have two good running backs,” said Sharpe. “Triton’s definitely gotten our attention, and it’s going to take a total team effort to play a good game against them.”
Also key could be some nagging injuries on the Glenn roster. While no one is seriously injured, those small hurts have forced some lineup changes that could wind up being critical tonight. So far, so good, though, says Sharpe.
“We’ve got a little bit of confidence right now. We’re a little banged up, we’ve got a lot of nagging injuries and we’ve been treating those in practice all week so we’ve been putting guys in spots that are maybe not quite as accustomed to but they’ve done a great job of adjusting to our nagging injuries that we’ve had,” he said.
LaVILLE (2-2, 0-2 NSC) vs. KNOX (1-3, 0-2 NSC)
After a 2-0 start to the season, LaVille has hit something of a skid with back-to-back losses to Jimtown and John Glenn. The Lancers look to apply the brakes as they host Knox in an NSC contest tonight.
While LaVille may have suffered a 29-9 setback versus Glenn last week, what head coach Will Hostrawser saw wasn’t all bad. He liked the way his team started in the loss, and, besides, the Lancers have gotten a crash course in physical football the past two weeks, which can only help them tonight.
“I think mentally we got a good dose of reality that we can compete with teams, and we don’t need to go out with the mentality of fearing the game,” said Hostrawser. “I thought last week our kids seized the opportunity in the first drive — we marched down the field on a very good John Glenn team and punched it in, so that was a positive for us. Then our offense went kind of stale the rest of the way, and that’s a credit to John Glenn. They played well on the defensive side of the ball I thought, and they adjusted to some of the things that we were doing. So we did a good job there.”
LaVille’s defense will need to stop Knox quarterback Drew Dan’s passing game and running back Eric Dan’s rushing attack if they hope to have success tonight. The Lancers secondary was tested in Weeks 1 and 2, and their ability to stop the run was challenged in the past two weeks’ match-ups with Glenn and Jimtown. All that’s left is to apply the lessons they’ve learned against a versatile Redskins squad.
“They’re a very good ball club in terms of they have a very strong quarterback that can throw the ball consistently. He’s very good scrambling as well so we’re going to have to contain him. They can spread you out and finesse you down the field or they can line it up tight and come right at you, so they’re a very versatile ball club in that regard,” Hostrawser said.
While tonight’s NSC contest is likely to swing in favor of the team that can make the most of its opportunities in the wet, muddy conditions, Hostrawser doesn’t see anything too different from weeks past — the game’s going to be largely determined up front, he says.
“I think this game’s going to be no different than any other game in that you’ve got to control the line of scrimmage, and the team that does that consistently on both sides of the ball is going to have the upper hand,” said Hostrawser. “Of course the weather is going to be sloppy. We were outside in it today getting used to the wet footballs and holding on to them and throwing them around a little bit seeing what we could and couldn’t do. I’m sure they’re doing the same thing over there. Ball security is going to play a big part of it, and you’ve got to take advantage of the mistakes that the other folks give you.”