PLYMOUTH — Plymouth’s Rockies will hope to get well in a hurry with a long bus ride to Middlebury on Friday night to take on the Northridge Raiders in a Northern Lakes Conference game.
Traditionally Plymouth (1-2) has struggled on the Raiders home field. While Northridge comes into the contest at 0-3, among those three is perennial power East Noble and last week’s overtime loss to Wawasee who many thought would be one of the NLC’s stronger teams.
“They scare me, they really do,” said Plymouth coach John Barron. “They took the opening kickoff on a 16-play drive for a score against East Noble and then their quarterback got hurt. They replaced him with a smaller, younger kid who’s very competitive and they came back a week later to drop a one-point overtime game. We’ve played them a lot in the regular season and playoffs the past couple years and they know us real well.”
“They do so many things that challenge you offensively, they run formations, they run the jet series, the jet sweep — they just really challenge you.”
Plymouth’s defense has already been challenged this year and at times has struggled.
“We worked hard enough in the weight room over the summer, we just haven’t played with a lot of passion, and that’s kind of disappointing,” said Barron. “I don’t care if you’re playing an odd front or four man or two linebackers or whatever — defense is about controlling blocks and being physical. It’s really not a complicated game. The team that wins is usually the one that is the most physical, makes the least mistakes and tackles.”
Plymouth will also have the bonus of playing with the team they expected to have at the beginning of the season, including quarterback Ike Kastner.
“For the first time we’re going to be at full strength, and I hope all the negativity is behind us,” said Barron. “I really believe that Kyle (Lacefield) has done an amazing job for what he’s been asked to do and proven that he wants to be a varsity player, but you really can’t replace experience, and Ike has experience. He started every game a year ago and several as a sophomore. We expect him to come in and take charge of that offense and hopefully bring some of that confidence that comes with experience.”