by Beau Wicker
— Something’s got to give when Winamac travels to Caston tonight.
The teams both enter having had successful seasons to this point with identical overall records (5-2) and Midwest Conference records (3-2). Both teams’ losses were to Class A No. 5 Pioneer and No. 8 West Central.
Caston played both Pioneer and West Central closer than Winamac did, but the Warriors arguably have the most impressive win of the season between the two squads in last week’s 47-25 win over North Judson.
“They looked like a much-improved team from the week before against West Central,” Caston coach Chris Ulerick said of the Warriors. “We have to make sure we can match their skill level and be ready to play football.”
“It’s another backyard rivalry game for us, the third in three weeks,” Winamac coach Tim Roth said. “I think it’ll be a great game. It’s one of those where I don’t want to say it’s a trap game coming off a big win against North Judson, but our guys definitely have to be focused.”
The Comets are coming off a 40-23 throttling of South Newton in a game their first-team defense did not allow a score and led at one point 40-7 in the fourth quarter.
“It surprised me a little,” Caston coach Chris Ulerick said of his squad’s defensive performance. “The kids are really playing well on the defensive side of the football. It’s certainly a pleasant surprise to have.”
Winamac has been the higher scoring team, outscoring opponents by an average of 31-28, while Caston has been the better defensive team, outscoring opponents 25-20.
“Looking at what Chris has done, they don’t score a lot of points, but they don’t have to because they play defense so well,” Roth said. “I think it’ll be a great Midwest Conference football game. Hopefully we score one more point than they do.”
The game is for third place in the MWC. Caston won at Winamac last season to snap a six-game losing streak against the Warriors.
Jeremy Gonzalez has rushed for 661 yards and six touchdowns to lead Caston. Quentin Douglass has 290 yards rushing and four TDs and 624 yards passing and seven TDs. Chanse Ault has 50 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks. Corey Moss has 55 tackles.
Tyler Katschke has rushed for 882 yards and nine TDs for Winamac. Zach Shidler has 435 yards rushing and nine TDs and 758 yards passing and 10 TDs. Levi Schultz has 15 catches for 344 yards and four TDs. Richie Doty has 65 tackles and 12 tackles for a loss.
Logan (1-6, 0-5 NCC) at New Castle (0-7, 0-5 NCC)
The Berries are first hoping to get the game in, as their last two Friday trips to Anderson and Muncie Central were postponed by thunderstorms, and more importantly they’re looking for their first North Central Conference win of the season.
They’re facing a winless New Castle team that is coming off its best performance of the season, a 24-10 loss to first-place Richmond.
“New Castle played really well against Richmond last week,” Logan coach Brad Urban said. “They changed some positions around and put their best athlete at quarterback, and it made a huge difference for them. They provide a lot of problems for our defense, and we really only have one film on them with their new quarterback. They had a 10-0 lead in the second quarter and had a chance to win.
“In the past the New Castle game was a game you could take for granted, but they’re very much improved despite their record. We have a lot to prepare for this week preparing for two different offenses.”
The Berries are coming off their best defensive game of the season in last week’s 21-0 loss to Kokomo other than their lone win over Peru. But mistakes have continued to cost them during the NCC season.
“We’ve talked about some changes we need to make from a mental preparation and mental standpoint,” Urban said. “There’s a reason we have the record that we do and we have to figure that out. Our coaching staff has offered things to improve on to change our record and put some wins together before the playoffs, but we’ve got to make those changes in mental preparation. In practice we need to be more competitive with each other and compete in practice to the best of our ability. We have a lot of room for improvement and I don’t think we’ve tapped into our potential yet.
“This is a game we need to play well and play well on the road, which is something we really haven’t done in the conference. That’s something we’ve got to change.”
Bo Bullard has 740 yards rushing and 12 TDs to lead Logan. Isaac Eastburn has rushed for 486 yards and three TDs. Ryan Schrock has 235 yards rushing and three TDs and 315 yards passing and a TD. Braxton Berkshire has 68 tackles and 7.5 tackles for a loss.
Tri-County (1-6, 1-4 MWC) at Pioneer (6-1, 5-0 MWC)
One week before a showdown at West Central, the Panthers are hosting struggling Tri-County for senior night. The Cavaliers’ lone win was against Frontier. Two weeks ago they lost in overtime at South Newton, 53-47.
The Cavaliers are led by senior quarterback Riley Benner.
“Offensively they do a lot of things to prepare for,” Pioneer coach Mike Johnson said. “They run some option, some TCU stuff, veer and midline. They bring a lot of stuff to the plate offensively. Their record might not indicate it, but they’re not a bad team.
“I hope we’ll play well and get a W.”
Joe Miller has rushed for 1,098 yards and 15 touchdowns to lead the Panthers.
Cass (6-1, 4-1 MIC) at Mac (2-5, 2-3 MIC)
The Class 2A No. 8-ranked Kings hit the road tonight for a game against the Braves.
Cass has beaten Maconaquah 13 straight times, and the Kings own a 37-13 advantage in the all-time series. Cass coach Scott Mannering has a 23-5 record against Mac — including a 23-2 mark since 1988.