Lewis Cass hosts Tipton for a Top 10 showdown tonight.
The Class 2A, No. 3-ranked Kings (3-0) host the No. 8 Blue Devils (3-0) for a 7 o’clock kickoff at Owens Memorial Field. It is also the Hoosier Conference East Division opener for both teams.
“Tipton is a good football team. They’re well coached,” Cass coach Jeff Phillips said. “Coach [Aaron] Tolle has done an excellent job running his program over there, so year in and year out we know they’re a tough opponent and we’ve got to be able to step our game up and play football.
“I think they’re ranked in the coaches poll at No. 7. So we know we have to play good football for four quarters. We haven’t had to do that the last couple weeks. But we know this week it’s going to take four good quarters.”
The Kings are coming off back-to-back blowout wins over Maconaquah and Benton Central following their big season opening win over Pioneer.
The Blue Devils are coming off a hard-fought 19-14 win over Twin Lakes. They have beaten the Kings three straight seasons but by an average of just 6 points per game.
“The last three years have been close ballgames. We haven’t been able to get the job done, so we need to change that this year,” Phillips said.
The Blue Devils are led on the ground by Anthony Reel (261 yards, 5 TDs) and Jayvin Lyons (219 yards, 3 TDs) and through the air by Sam Edwards (229 yards passing, 3 TDs).
“They’ll line up in different sets. They can run or pass. They’ll do both,” Phillips said. “So we’ve got to make sure we defend the entire field and we can’t just key on their running game or they’ll throw the ball all night on you. If you concentrate dropping too many people back to defend the pass, they’ll run the football on you. So they’re well balanced. We’ve got to make sure defensively that we defend the field.”
The Kings are set to get their senior starting quarterback, Isaac Chambers, back from his ankle injury that sidelined him the last game and a half. He has passed for 281 yards and 4 TDs.
“He’s good to go. He’ll start at quarterback, he’ll also be starting at outside ‘backer on defense,” Phillips said.
Gabe Eurit has rushed for 342 yards and 9 TDs through the first three games for the Kings. Joey Humphrey leads the defense with 41 tackles and two interceptions.
PIONEER (2-1, 2-0 HNAC) AT CASTON (0-3, 0-2)
The Class 2A No. 6 Panthers make the short cross county trek to Caston to take on the Comets at the Crater.
The Panthers might not be at full strength tonight.
“We’re a little banged up right now,” Pioneer coach Adam Berry said. “Addai Lewellen has a shoulder injury and Koby James’ ankle is still bothering him. We have a couple game-time decisions.”
Addai Lewellen has rushed for 328 yards and 4 TDs and Ezra Lewellen has rushed for 519 yards and 6 TDs and passed for 175 yards and a TD to lead the Panthers.
“We’ve got to stop the Lewellen twins on offense and defense. The two games I’ve watched, which were Winamac and LaVille, they’re the play makers, they’re the ones that make the Pioneer engine go on both sides of the football,” Caston coach Tony Slocum said. “So obviously we need to focus our attention on them and if we can slow them down then see what we can do on the rest of the team at that point.”
The Comets are still battling low numbers and will play a lot of young players tonight. Slocum said freshman WR/DB Evan Howard is back from an ankle injury that sidelined him for the last two weeks.
“We’ve got one kid back so we’re up to about 16 that will dress on Friday night. The kids have had a good week of practice, last week we had a short week and we thought we had a good week of practice, obviously the results didn’t show that with poor execution on Friday night. But our kids are excited to play the gold standard of football here in northern Indiana and see how they stack up,” Slocum said.
The Panthers will look to continue their 32-game HNAC winning streak against the young Comets.
“Watching them on film and from what I’ve read previously they’re doing some new things this year. They’re throwing more than Caston ever has and are trying some new things on defense,” Berry said. “Looking on film their players seem to be more excited about playing the game. They’re much improved from last year and more athletic. Even though their record doesn’t show it we’re still expecting a good game.”
LOGAN (1-2, 0-1 NCC) AT INDY TECH (2-1, 1-0)
The Berries have changed some things up after last week’s 42-0 loss to Harrison. Logan coach Mike Johnson said some of his offensive starters might play more on the defensive side of the ball tonight.
“We’ve got to play better defense of course, so some guys aren’t going to be full platoon, they’re going to have to get in and play some defense and we’ll try to spell them when we can,” said Johnson, adding that some players will be rotated in for about half the game on defense.
“It’s going to be very tough if we have to play both sides of the ball with 11 guys in this league. We’re trying to develop some depth and we think we have the last couple weeks. But we have to play better defense, we’re going to have to be more physical, and then offensively we’re going to have to take advantage of what they’re giving us.”
The Berries have beat the Titans in each of the last two seasons by a combined 7 points.
Tech is a Class 6A school. In fact it is the 15th largest school in the state with an enrollment of over 2,600.
The Tech football team appears to be improved this year after a 1-9 season last year.
“They’ve already to got two wins under their belt, they’ve beat Washington and they’ve beat Richmond. So they’re feeling pretty good about themselves. Coach [Will] Patterson has done a nice job, has gotten them ready to play,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be a real challenge for us in terms of matching up with them. Similar to last week with Harrison, we had to match up physically with them, we’ve got to match up physically with these guys, but we also have to match up in terms of speed and athletic ability.”
The Berries are led on the ground by Josh Manfred (344 yards, TD) and Drake McLochlin (243 yards, 4 TDs) and through the air by quarterback Garrett Barron (243 yards passing, TD, 120 yards rushing, 2 TDs).
WINAMAC (1-2, 0-2 HNAC) AT LAVILLE (2-1, 1-1)
The Warriors recorded a convincing win at North White last week.
But the Warriors face another upper echelon HNAC team tonight when they travel to Class 2A No. 10 LaVille for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The Lancers played Pioneer close last week before the Panthers pulled away in the second half.
The Warriors rushed for 355 yards and 5 TDs in the win over North White. Sophomore quarterback Russell Compton was 10 of 14 passing for 106 yards and a TD.