FRIDAY NIGHT PREVIEW
Posted October 14, 2021
St. Joseph at #1 Chelsea…After a heartbreaking loss to their arch rival last week, the St. Joe Bears have no time to lick their wounds. The state’s top-ranked team in Division 4 awaits the Bears Friday night as St. Joe hits the road for Chelsea. Chelsea has an all-state running back in Trent Hill and a defense that is allowing less than 10 points a game, so Andrew Pratley’s squad has a huge challenge ahead of it.
Joron Brown had a big game last week against Lakeshore, running for 168 yards. Elijah Turner led the defense with nine tackles. The Bears will need more efforts like that in order to score the upset on Friday night.
Southwood at #7 Tippecanoe Valley… Tippecanoe Valley has not had a perfect regular season since 1987, but Steve Moriarty’s Vikings have the chance to accomplish that Friday night if they can beat Southwood in Death Valley.
Southwood is 4-4 and led by dual-threat quarterback Morgan Lloyd who has thrown for nearly 850 and run for almost 700. Three-sport athlete Cole Winer has run for over 700 yards. That offense averages over 30 points per game.
But they are facing a different animal in this Valley team. The Vikings have outscored their last three opponents 172-6. They average almost seven yards per carry with a diverse group of running backs, including Braden Shepherd and Jamasyn Virgil. And quarterback Branson McBrier is completing 70 percent of his passes. It should be an exciting night in Mentone.
North Judson at Pioneer…North Judson has a shot at winning a share of the Hoosier North championship, but to do it, they’ll have to do something they haven’t done since 2008, and that’s beat Pioneer.
The Blue Jays have talent. We have talked all season about players like running back Cheyenne Allen and two-way player Owen Frasure. Quarterback Aldric Harper will need to play as he did against Knox, when he helped the passing game complement the rushing attack. And the defense has to keep the form it has had during Hoosier North games.
Pioneer is the gold standard of that league. They finally lost a conference game this year when they fell to Winamac. Dual threat quarterback Brock
Robinson leads the offense and after losing the first two games of the season, the defense has been lights out. Royal Center should be bumping…maybe even a Jack Kiser sighting at this one.
New Prairie at Elkhart…In the NIC, three teams hope to share the big school division title, but the biggest challenge may be awaiting New Prairie, as it heads to Rice Field to play 4-4 Elkhart.
We saw the Cougars with an impressive performance against Penn last week, making more use of the both the arm and legs of quarterback Marshall Kmiecik. Of course, you also have to focus on one of the state’s leading running backs in Noah Mungia…and don’t forget this physical defense, as both Jacob Meyers and Tayvion Ortman racked up the tackles against the Kingsmen.
Elkhart lost a heartbreaker at Marian last week, but the Lions could be getting healthier…mainly because it would be almost impossible to get more banged up. Quarterback Brady Krueper played a solid game against the Knights. They’ll need more running from Aalias Leonard to try to keep New Prairie off balance.
Northridge at Mishawaka…The NLC has two interesting matchups. The “oh, by the way…” game is at Steele Stadium where Northridge visits Mishawaka. Last year, this game was for the conference championship.
The Raiders have been in a tailspin since losing starting quarterback Micah Hochstetler to injury in week four. They’ve only won once since then, despite the effort of two-way players like Tagg Gott, Ridge Howard and Clint Walker. Last week, they gave Concord a great battle for a half and then became worn down.
They’ll face a huge test in this Mishawaka team, which has swagger when Justin Fisher is back at quarterback. He played only a quarter last week against Wawasee, because that’s all they needed. He has weapons at his disposal like Chase Gooden, Chaz Hardy and Milan Burris.
Defensively, the Cavemen have been much improved this year, allowing just 13 points per game. They’ll want to put on a big performance in the home finale.
Warsaw at Concord…The Northern Lakes Conference championship will be decided on TV-46 Friday night, as Warsaw visits Concord.
Bart Curtis’ Tigers are 6-0 in NLC play for the first time in 20 years and there’s no secret as to what Warsaw will do. They run the football with Tucker Curtis getting the ball to Julius Jones, new fullback Jace Sawyer and Bryson Brown. We mentioned last week, this defense is unheralded, but it was tested by how well NorthWood threw the ball last week, and it will really be tested by the Concord passing attack.
Hunter Dutton has tossed 21 touchdowns for the Minutemen this year, with Jack D’Arcy, Amarion Moore and Anthony Mensah doing all kinds of damage to opposing secondaries. Titus Hackworth offers a solid running option. And defensively Zaven Koltookian and Ephram Lake have spent as much time in the backfield as some running backs.
Should be a terrific atmosphere at Jake Field. We have it for you Friday night at 11 and Saturday morning at 9.
Author: Chuck Freeby, WHME-TV 46 Sports Director