It took Triton seven weeks to break into the win column.
Coming off last week’s 21-10 Northern State Conference win at LaVille, the struggling Trojans can finally carry over some momentum into their match-up with Knox at home Friday night.
The Trojans rallied from a 10-7 halftime deficit with two scores and a shutout in the second half to spoil LaVille’s Senior Night last week. On Friday, they’re hoping to avoid a Senior Night letdown of their own as they face a Knox team with an identical 1-6 overall, 1-4 NSC mark.
“We really played well last week, especially in the second half. Defensively, the kids really stepped it up and played well,” said Triton head coach Rodney Younis of his team’s win at LaVille. “This is a big week for the kids. It’s Senior Night, and Knox, even though their record is the same as ours, they are a very good team. They have a very good quarterback, they have a big offensive line. It’s going to be a challenge for us this week, but with it being Senior Night, our kids are going to be focused and they’re going to be ready to play.”
While Knox may be struggling record-wise, the Redskins have been competitive in many of their losses. Costly mistakes have plagued the team, and with star running back Garrett Majchrzak sidelined with an MCL sprain last week, Knox suffered a 21-14 loss at Bremen last Friday.
Younis and his team aren’t likely to be fooled by the Redskins record in this Friday’s NSC contest, and first on the priority list will be containing Knox quarterback Nevin Miller as the Redskins try to break a two-game skid.
“They’re very balanced between running the ball and throwing the ball,” said Younis. “The key for them is their quarterback, so defensively we’ve just got to make sure we know where he’s at at all times. Because if not there, he’s going to chuck the ball and he’s going to run so we’ve just got to make sure we contain him and not let him break outside the containment and break off big runs on us.”
Culver Military Academy enters Friday’s game at Sheridan fresh of its first back-to-back wins since Week 2. The Eagles (5-2) knocked Churubusco from fourth to ninth in the IFCA’s Class 2A polls with a 35-16 victory at home last week, and they’re looking to get streaky against the Blackhawks (4-3) Friday night.
“It’s really exciting where we are right now to string a couple wins together looking forward to making a run in the playoffs,” said CMA head coach Andy Dorrel. “We’re on the road this week, and that’s been our focus — trying to make sure that we manage the distractions that go along with a road trip and making sure that we put ourselves in a position to be successful on Friday.”
It’s the third road trip down to the Indy area for independent CMA this season, so the Eagles should be used to the trip. The bad news is that the team hasn’t traveled particularly well so far, with both of its losses coming on the road at Heritage Christian and Brebeuf Jesuit in Weeks 3 and 5.
“We don’t use it as an excuse, we just try to make sure that we don’t get off the bus flat,” said Dorrell. “Our first two times we stopped on the way, and this time we’re going to drive straight through and try and just get there and get off the bus and get a little more time pre-game just to move around a little bit. We should be used to it; it’s not an excuse, we just need to get ready to play against a tough Sheridan team.”
CMA will be playing without the help of junior running back David Dilts, and even more troubling is the loss of senior safety/ slotback Beau Ecksten, out for the season with a broken leg.
But freshman Jordan Schultz has stepped up to fill Dilts’ role, senior Aramoni Phillips has been a big asset for the team filling in for Ecksten, and the rest of the team has shown an ability to adapt and respond.
“We lost Beau Ecksten, a senior and a team leader for us all year, and we’ve had to put Aramonti back at the strong safety position,” said Dorrel. “Aramonti has played three different positions for us in the last three weeks from outside linebacker to inside linebacker to strong safety. We’ve asked a lot from him and his teammates, but they seem to be responding well.”
Culver at John Glenn
Culver Community is coming off a lopsided home loss to Class 3A No. 1 Jimtown last week, and John Glenn returns from another big loss at New Priaire.
Both the Cavaliers (2-5, 2-3 NSC) and John Glenn (3-4, 3-2 NSC) are eager to put the losses behind them as they play in a Northern State Conference contest Friday in Walkerton.
And even though they suffered a 49-0 rout at the hands of the top-ranked Jimmies last week, Culver does have a few things to feel good about going forward.
“Believe it or not, we didn’t play that badly on defense. Early in the game we were making them earn it,” said Cavs coach Andy Thomas. “Some of their drives were on short fields where we threw picks, one they ran down to the 2-yard line. Every time we fumbled, a kid returned, so they had 21 points off of short fields within the first half. Our defense played physical and were really trying to battle early in the first half, it’s just unfortunate we didn’t have anything to show for it on the scoreboard. We gave up some points last week that were probably not on defense as much as on offense. We just couldn’t do anything to take any pressure off our defense and change field position.”
The focus this week for Culver has been preparing for a physical, fast Glenn team that has shown greater flexibility balancing the run game with the pass this year.
“We’ll have to match their speed and intensity and tackle well and pursue well and just get off the ball,” said Thomas.
“The key will be to get some stops early because once they get rolling, they just seem to keep going. So we’re going to have to have success early against them. They’re a running team, but they can pass when they need plays that way they can get them, so they’re very efficient passing.”
In other area action…
Bremen (5-2, 4-1 NSC) hosts undefeated Class 3A power Jimtown (7-0, 5-0 NSC) in a match-up with big ramifications for the Northern State Conference standings. The Lions are currently tied for second in the conference with New Prairie with one loss apiece, and if they can pull off an upset of the Jimmies on their home turf, it would leave the three teams knotted at the top of the standings with one week remaining in the NSC season.
LaVille hits the (1-6, 0-5 NSC) continues to search for its first conference win as it hits the road for New Prairie (6-1, 4-1 NSC) in the Lancers’ first road game in two weeks.