Battle of defenses with CMA, Northridge

Michael Bocker leads the Eagle offense on Friday night at Culver Academy
Rusty Nixon
Sports Editor

*See Thursday's Pilot News for a complete rundown of Friday's games*
It has all the makings of a classic slug fest as Northridge will make the trip to Culver to take on the CMA Eagles for a 7 p.m. start at Oliver Field at the Academy.

A victory at Bunge Field in Bremen a week ago for the Eagles sets up a round one match up with the undefeated Raiders.

“The road has been very good to us, and I was proud of our kids who were able to showcase how much better they've gotten over the year against a quality team like Bremen,” said CMA head coach Andy Dorrel. “We were fortunate to get some breaks early and take advantage of them.”

On paper the Eagle offense has been more prolific than Northridge but that might be by design for the Raiders.

“As you look at their scores they aren't giving up a lot of points and they are scoring enough to win,” said Dorrel. “They are deliberate and conservative on offense and I say that because they know exactly what they want to do and they do it very well. It's extremely effective.”

The place you see the similarities is on the defensive side of the ball. CMA has given up an average of just nine points a game, the Raiders only 11. Both teams backbone is their defense.

“Defensively they tackle well, they run to the ball well,” said Dorrel. “They've faced big teams. They've faced teams with speed. They've answered the bell every single time. They are a team that isn't going to beat themselves we know we are going to have to play a complete football game.”

Dorrel feels his Eagles have prepared for the challenge.

“I think we have a good game plan,” said Dorrel. “I like our kids, I feel good if we can control the things that we can control. I think ultimately it's going to come down to who makes the fewest mistakes and who can capitalize on one or two big plays. That could win this game.”

“We're going to do what we do and leave it all out there to hopefully face a round two opponent.”

The keys for either team are really very few.

“We need to get a little momentum on offense,” said Dorrel. “It's a huge confidence builder for us if we can get out there and get on the board early and allow our defense to get to work. We need to force some turnovers that will be huge.

“It's a long football game a lot of things can happen,” he said. “We've battled back this year from being down to come back and win, they've done the same thing. I think it's two teams that are going to slug it out.”