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For several area teams, Week 6 is about sweating the fundamentals and bouncing back.
Nothing takes away the taste of a tough loss like a victory, and no one wants one more than Plymouth.
The Rockies (3-2, 2-1 NLC) suffered a bruising defeat at Elkhart Memorial last week. The Chargers held Plymouthâ€™s run game to a mere 123 yards to snap a three-game win streak and handed the visitors their first Northern Lakes Conference loss of the year 35-0, the first shutout since eighth-year head coach John Barron took the reins in 2004.
Plymouth hits the road a second straight week to take on Wawasee (3-2, 2-1 NLC) this Friday.
â€śAfter coming off a loss like we came off of, weâ€™re not feeling real good about much,â€ť said Barron. â€śItâ€™s really more about Plymouth than it is about Wawasee right now. I hope our kids will play a game where they feel like theyâ€™ve got something to prove. Obviously, last week we had some issues, and I think most of the issues have been dealt with within our program, and thatâ€™s all that really matters at this point. Weâ€™ve just got to get back to enjoying playing the game. Being a part of that last week, that wasnâ€™t any fun for anybody. Wasnâ€™t any fun for the kids, wasnâ€™t any fun for the coaches, and Iâ€™m quite sure it wasnâ€™t any fun for any of the parents or anybody that supports our program. â€ś
â€śWe fell off the horse, weâ€™ve just got to get right back on it,â€ť he added. â€śDuring tough times is when you show your true character, and I think last Friday we hit rock bottom. I think our kids understand it; at least theyâ€™ve heard from the coaches how we feel about it. Itâ€™s up to them now. Theyâ€™ve got to perform.â€ť
Wawasee enters Fridayâ€™s game coming off a big, 20-12 win at NorthWood last week, and the Rockies are stressing fundamentals as they prepare to take on the fundamentally sound Warriors.
â€śWeâ€™re playing a really good Wawasee team that just went on the road and beat NorthWood, and thatâ€™s not easy to do,â€ť said Barron. â€śTheyâ€™re very well-coached, theyâ€™re very sound; I think itâ€™s the best Wawasee team Iâ€™ve seen on film since Coach (Tom) Wogoman took over. They donâ€™t make a lot of mistakes. They very rarely beat themselves, and they beat us last year, so theyâ€™ve proven that they can beat Plymouth. Theyâ€™re a handful for a lot of reasons.
â€śWe went back to basics. This week just boils down to fundamentals and getting back to being tough kids and trusting in each other and believing in each other and what weâ€™re doing. Nothing new, there certainly wasnâ€™t anything added.â€ť
Culver (3-2, 2-1 NSC) is also trying to put a tough loss behind it as the Cavaliers host Northern State Conference foe Knox (2-3, 1-2 NSC).
Like Plymouth, Culver took its first loss since Week 1 last Friday, falling 20-13 in a back-and-forth battle with Bremen, but the Cavs are leaving the past in the past as they get ready for the Redskins, who are coming off a 41-16 win over LaVille.
â€śItâ€™s over with. We havenâ€™t talked about it. Weâ€™re not focused on it,â€ť said Culver head coach Andy Thomas. â€śItâ€™s just on to the next team. It hasnâ€™t been a part of our preparation this week at all. Weâ€™re just ready to move on and ready to get back to football this week. Weâ€™re looking forward to playing Friday.â€ť
While Plymouth and Culver try to right the ship, a young Triton squad (0-5, 0-3 NSC) continues to hunt for its first win at New Prairie (0-5, 0-3 NSC) in a match-up of winless Northern State Conference teams, and the byword of the week is fundamentals.
â€śOur main concern is we are getting better in certain areas of the game, and there are other areas of the game where we still need a lot of work,â€ť said Triton head coach Rodney Younis. â€śWe just keep working on the little fundamental things that we can correct. There are some things that we canâ€™t physically change about our players, but our fundis, we can and thatâ€™s what weâ€™ve been focusing on.â€ť
Although the Trojans sustained their most lopsided defeat of the season against John Glenn, 63-7 last week, one positive development for the team is the return of erstwhile starting senior quarterback Zak Shively after he was sidelined three weeks with injuries. His return should help free junior QB Bryson Mosier up to make some contributions in a variety of roles for Triton.
â€śWeâ€™re still not 100 percent whoâ€™s going to start this week, but Zakâ€™s definitely back so he will be playing at some point at some position,â€ť said Younis.
â€śArm strength is the reason why he was our starting quarterback. Bryson does a really good job, and heâ€™s the type of player that can play basically anywhere. Heâ€™s not outstanding at any one position, but he can play pretty much any position and do a good job for us, so weâ€™re excited to be able to put him back in that type of role. He can really help us playing at tight end, playing a slot position, playing at fullback. He can just play anywhere for us, so weâ€™re excited to have that option.â€ť
While Bremen (5-0, 3-0 NSC) stayed perfect in its win at Culver last week, the Lions still see some areas to improve on, and theyâ€™re getting back to basics in this weekâ€™s home game against LaVille (0-5, 0-3 NSC).
â€śFirst and foremost, weâ€™ve got to take care of the football,â€ť said head coach Bob Holmes. â€śWeâ€™re not doing a very good job of taking care of the football â€” turnovers are really hurting us. Possession of the ball is critical. We also have to pass the ball better than we did last week. We need to really concentrate on our route running. Our routes are getting a little bit sloppy. Itâ€™s all about details at this point in the season. We should be getting better and not getting worse. Weâ€™ve got to really concentrate on all the little things.â€ť
In other area action, John Glenn (4-1, 3-1 NSC) takes a break from NSC play as it hosts potential Sectional 17 foe Culver Military Academy (2-3). The Falcons enter the contest on a three-game tear, while the Eagles are attempting to snap a two-game skid.