MISHAWAKA — John Glenn is feeling a little bit of deja vu this week: A round two sectional game with Marian, on the road at Mishawaka.
But after being eliminated 22-14 by the Knights last year, that’s where the Falcons are hoping the similarities end.
Glenn (5-5) hits the road for Marian (7-3) at 7 p.m. tonight looking for a reprisal of last year’s season-ending loss in a Class 3A Sectional 17 semifinal.
“The kids that played last year, I would hope would carry that over to this year,” said Glenn head coach Justin Bogunia. “They’re a very good team again this year, and both of us have different key players playing in this game, so it’s a little different, but there are a lot of similarities.”
Glenn reached tonight’s semifinal via an earlier reprisal of Culver Military last week, when the Falcons avenged a Week 6 loss to the Eagles with a convincing 35-14 tournament-opening win.
Sidelined in that game was sophomore running back/ corner back Zach Combs, and Glenn is hoping his return adds another weapon to its arsenal this week.
“For us to do it without Combs, taking a little part of our offense away from us, to me just makes it that much more of a great win for us,” said Bogunia of last week’s win. “He’s going to be back, so obviously we’re a little bit deeper now so hopefully it helps our offense. And our defense. He’s a heck of a defensive player as well at corner back; he does a good job coming up on the run and playing the pass so we like that helping us out on the defensive side as well with their skilled kids.”
Sophomore two-way starter Adam Dodson gave his team a big lift with 220 rushing yards and a touchdown to complement eight tackles on defense, and the Falcons will look to establish him again this week. Key to the match-up will be whether Glenn’s front can hang with Marian, especially on the defensive side.
“I think our defensive front is going to have to execute this week. Especially when they go under center, we’re going to have to be able to match their aggressiveness up front on the offensive and defensive line. They like to run some I and they like to run some double tight bone, which basically is coming right at you. We’ve got to match that intensity up front so that our linebackers can make some plays on those backs in the backfield,” said Bogunia.
“I think that’s key. If we can get some stops and not let them get first downs, that’ll be crucial for us to get the ball back, and then for us on the flip side to sustain some drives and be able to establish Dodson in the running game. I think if we establish him on the inside then everything else seems to work a whole lot better for us.”
At stake in tonight’s game is a chance to play for the Falcons’ first sectional championship since 2004 as the winner advances to play the winner of another semifinal between South Bend St. Joseph and Calumet next week.
Glenn’s draw at this year’s tournament has made for anything but an easy road as the Falcons have had to face the teams with the two best records in the tournament field in the first two weeks of the playoffs with a likely match-up with St. Joe still looming in the finals.
“ I like our team’s attitude. The kids have gotten the worst draw in the sectional, but nobody moped about it, “ Bogunia said. “We’re coming in and in my own personal opinion playing the three toughest teams that we would have to play in our sectional to win, and nobody cares. Nobody seems to be talking about it; we’re just talking about the keys to winning that game that week. The kids’ focus last week was so great that nobody even knew who we were playing next week. Maybe they knew in the back of their minds, but it didn’t seem like it. This week their focus is the same thing.”