Lancers host Triton in battle of winless NSC squads
Triton and LaVille are both young teams that have struggled this season, and this week’s match-up at LaVille is likely the best chance for both squads to break into the Northern State Conference win column.
Add to that a Sectional 35 rivalry and the fact that it’s Senior Night at LaVille, and both the Lancers and the Trojans should be fired up tonight.
“It’s an exciting week for us,” said LaVille head football coach Mark Reddy. “We’ve been struggling this year, they’ve had their struggles. It’s two teams that are looking to get their first win in the conference. We’re excited. Triton’s a big rival for us, it’s Senior Night, and it’s our last home game. There are a lot of things to play for. We’ve had a nice week of practice this week, and we’re excited to play a game and maybe get into the win column in the NSC.”
“On top of that, this is a rivalry game for both of us,” said Triton coach Rodney Younis. “It’s two teams that know each other well, two teams that are in the same sectional, so you always have that opportunity to see each other later on down the road as well. This is a big game for us.”
LaVille (1-5, 0-4 NSC) fell in a tough 42-15 decision to visiting Bremen during the Lancers’ Homecoming last week, but the hosts of tonight’s contest should be able to carry some momentum over from the second half of the lopsided loss. Freshman quarterback Mitchell Henry began settling in after halftime in his first start, and Cameron Gurtner finished with two touchdowns and 109 yards.
“It was a much better second half. We were able to move the ball a little bit and execute. It was something to build on this week in practice,” said Reddy. “Mitchell Henry did make his first start at quarterback last week and we were able to get him a few more reps and get some things timed up. We were excited last week that Cameron Gurtner got it going at running back and got some yardage. We’re excited to see if we can take some of that momentum that we got in the second half against Bremen and build on that and be competitive against Triton.”
Triton (0-6, 0-4 NSC) is coming off its own uneven 56-17 defeat at the hands of New Prairie, meanwhile, but the Trojans will have some players back to help with their cause this week. Zac Edmonds is back at offensive and defensive tackle after struggling with illness much of the year, and slot back/ defensive back Cole Creighbaum should be at close to full strength after making a limited return to action with injured ribs during last week’s game.
“We have struggled this year. We’ve done some good things, we’ve just been outmanned at times,” Younis said. “Injuries have been a problem for us this year as well. For it being Week 7 I feel like we are probably as healthy as we’ve been for the most part this year, so hopefully good things will happen for us.”
For Younis, success at tonight’s contest will hinge on his linemen’s play.
“I really believe that this game is going to come down to the line and which line plays better offensively and defensively,” he said. “I challenged our linemen this week that it’s going to come down to you guys and whoever plays better is going to win the game. We really want to control that line of scrimmage this week.”
For Reddy, a fast start and gaining confidence early will be the key to the outcome.
“I think both teams are going to be pretty amped up for this game. We’re both kind of struggling right now and when you look at us we match up pretty well,” said the LaVille skipper. “I expect them to come out and try to run the ball a little bit, but they spread it out and they throw. Our game plan is pretty much just to run the ball. It’s going to be who can get going. I think the team that establishes itself first is probably going to be the one that wins the game.”
Bremen vs Knox
After a 1-2 start to the season, Bremen (4-2, 3-1 NSC) seems to have finally gotten rolling with three straight Northern State Conference wins against Triton, Culver Community and LaVille. The Lions look to keep pushing forward as they host Knox 1-5 (1-3 NSC) in a Homecoming game at home at Don Bunge Field tonight.
“We’re playing pretty well right now. We’ve got an opportunity to play at home this week for Homecoming. It’s going to be an exciting night at Don Bunge Field this week,” said Bremen head coach Bob Holmes.
“Coming off of last week we did a great job in the first half. I think the most important thing is we can’t be satisfied and take another step forward this week and get back to the fundamentals of our offense. We’ve gotten away from them because we’ve had some different starters… and we need to not be satisfied and continue to get better, and that’s the only way we’re going to have success.”
While Knox has only put up one win against LaVille this season, the Redskins have been right in several of their losses. Last week they lost to Culver by a single point on a 67-yard touchdown pass with under two and a half minutes to play, and the Lions barely beat Culver in a 32-28 decision in Week 5.
Holmes is expecting a physical Knox line and solid run attack, and his defense’s ability to contain the run is going to be crucial.
“Knox is big and physical. We’re going to have to slow them down, especially their run game,” he said. “They have a very big line and a very potent backfield. We’re going to need to do a great job defensively if we’re going to win.”
Like Triton, Bremen also has a key player back to help with the cause this week as tailback Reid Zellmer returns after sustaining a broken collarbone in the opening series of the Lions’ Week 2 loss to Tippecanoe Valley at the Colts Horseshoe Hall of Fame Classic. He’ll be limited this week, but he should be a nice addition to Bremen’s run game with Eric Knepper and John Stoller now firmly established in the backfield.
“We’re going to try to work (Zellmer) back in a little bit this week. That’s definitely a shot in the arm for us,” Holmes said. “We’re not going to overdo it. We’re going to just give him the opportunity to play a little and get his feet wet and make sure he get his wind, most importantly, and start to ease him back into our offense and our defense.”
In other area action…
Culver Military Academy (4-2) is coming off a big 20-7 win over John Glenn, the Eagles’ first in the series since a double overtime win in 2009. CMA looks for its first consecutive wins since Week 2 as it plays host to undefeated Class 2A No. 4 Churubusco (6-0). The last time the Eagles hosted an unbeaten state-ranked team they snapped Class A No. 1 Lafayette Central Catholic’s 48-game win streak in Week 4, and they’re hoping they can work some of the same magic against the visitors this week.
John Glenn (3-3, 3-1 NSC) saw a three-game win streak come to an end at CMA last Friday, and the Falcons are looking to bounce back strong as they return to Northern State Conference play at New Prairie 5-1 (3-1 NSC) in a game to see who could stay in the hunt for a conference title. Glenn will have its work cut out for it against the formerly-ranked Cougars, who have put up a combined 219 points this year.
Culver Community (2-4, 2-2 NSC) is feeling good after a narrow 25-24 win at Knox last week. The Cavs are looking for their first consecutive wins of the season in a daunting match-up with unbeaten Class 3A No. 1 Jimtown (6-0, 4-0 NSC), which handed 4A Concord its first loss last week in a surprisingly lopsided 48-0 decision.