Concordia Lutheran football has found strength this year with its defense, in particular, its defensive line.
The Cadets held South Side to its season-low in points (none) to open the 2017 season, Snider to its season-low (24) a week ago, and then Friday Concordia limited Bishop Luers to just seven points.
“We let those guys loose and they stop teams,” Cadets coach Tim Mannigel told The News-Sentinel. “We have one defensive philosophy and that's always been if we can stop the run, we feel pretty good about our chances … and that all starts with our big, defensive tackles and defensive line.”
That group has been led by Trey Freeman and Liam Fletcher.
On Friday, Concordia had 11 tackles for a loss and three sacks as a team, while Fletcher had four tackles and two sacks by himself.
“Liam surprises some people with how fast he is,” Mannigel explained. “He's one of the top sprinters in the conference during track season, but you don't always see that speed from the defensive end position and it catches people off guard. He's able to run some guys down and combines that with a physical style of play, and to have that combined speed with physicality makes for a good football player.”
Bellmont breaks through
It was a tough opening few weeks for Bellmont football. The Braves had fourth quarter leads in their games against South Adams and Columbia City before losing late. This wasn't lost on the team before it finally came through to get its first victory 21-7 against Norwell Friday.
“I've honestly been telling the kids they weren't a 0-3 team,” second-year Bellmont coach Marty Ballard said. “In their minds, they were a 2-1 team, and they knew it, and felt we played well enough to win those games. To get over the hump, even though we are 1-3, to the kids they are 3-1 and that's enough for now. But getting that first win under our belt was absolutely huge.”
Bellmont was led this week by the continued development of quarterback Jonathan Wilder and some smart play-calling.
Wilder only threw seven passes in the game, but he completed four for 144 yards and two touchdowns.
“He's a great young quarterback and developing very nicely,” Ballard said. “But it wasn't just what he was doing; it was more what the defense was giving us on Friday. We knew the safeties were coming up a bit and our offensive coordinator thought it was time to take advantage of that, which we did with the 85-yard touchdown pass to Colin Mills.”
Saturday trip adds benefits for Snider
A challenging game against Homestead isn't the only reason for excitement for Snider this week.
The Saturday game will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, so the location will add another level of anticipation to the game itself.
The extra day will give the Panthers more time to prepare, which veteran Snider coach Kurt Tippmann is debating whether or not to use as a day of rest or an extra day of work.
Tippmann did say that the trip will serve another purpose, which is to prepare for possible postseason trips.
“With playing in this conference schedule,” Tippmann said, “the distance to all of our games is about 15 minutes away and you never really have a good drive to get to a game anytime. We used to be able to with our nonconference games we'd always pick up out-of-town teams, and we could get used to it because it is something you might encounter in the playoffs. One purpose to playing this game is to get a real feel for the road trip.”
Of course for the players, Tippmann understands being on the same field as the Colts is a thrill.
“It's going to be a memorable experience for these kids and something they will remember forever,” Tippmann said. “And the Colts play the next day, so, they'll probably be watching on TV and say 'I was on that field yesterday.'
“We are very lucky in the state of Indiana to have such a great relationship with the Indianapolis Colts and that they support high school football as much as any state with an NFL team to allow this special opportunity.”
Northeast 8 road teams finished a perfect 4-0 on Friday…Concordia's 28-7 win against Bishop Luers marked its third straight victory against the Knights and is the first time it has won three straight in the series in school history…Adams Central's 70-42 win at Jay County marked the most points scored by the Flying Jets since scoring 73 against Northeastern on Oct. 1, 1982. The total is the second most all-time in program history…Angola's 72-21 win at West Noble was the Hornets' most points scored in a single game in school history…East Noble's Andrew McCormick has thrown and rushed for more than 100 yards in back-to-back weeks.
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