Despite a 25-13 loss to West Central Conference Champions Cascade last week, the South Putnam varsity football squad is ready to start the postseason.
The Eagles face Southmont Friday in the first round of the sectional tournament at South Montgomery. Although the Mounties were 0-9 in the regular season, South Putnam coach Mark Wildman knows they're nothing to overlook.
"Who they play is probably more important than their wins and losses as far as preparing for the playoffs," Wildman said. "That's something we consider."
The Mounties were winless throughout the season, but have been close to winning all season. Southmont lost to Crawfordsville 33-23 last week, while North Putnam only defeated the Mounties, 24-14, in the second week. The Eagles defeated the Cougars, 35-18, in the fourth week of the season.
South Putnam is averaging 25.9 points per game, while only allowing an average of 20 points per contest. The Eagles are 5-4 on the season and 4-2 in the West Central Conference, including three wins over Putnam County opponents.
"Probably the best part of the season was in the middle when we beat the three county schools," Wildman said. "Toward the end of the season, playing Speedway and Cascade, we were able to compete with both of them. But I think maybe if we got one of those wins, our season would have been more of a success."
South Putnam played both Cascade and Speedway close. Against Speedway, the Eagles were up, 20-0, in the first quarter, before losing 31-28. Against Cascade, South Putnam went up,13-9, before giving up 19 straight unanswered points to the Cadets.
"One thing we need to be able to do is score in the second half," Wildman said.
The Eagles feature one of the best quarterback and running back combinations in the WCC. Quarterback Anthony Tomasino is averaging 135.9 yards per game, while Drew Christy is running for 92.3 yards per contest. Christy is also third in the WCC in scoring with 72 total points.
Although South Putnam is second in the WCC in total defense, its rushing defense ranks near the bottom. While the Eagles only allow an average of 111 passing yards per game, they are allowing 156 rushing yards per game.
"The biggest problems we've had on defense is if the other team can run the ball consistently," Wildman said. "Last week against Cascade, they didn't even throw for seventy yards, but they beat us running the ball."
Although the Cadets' quarterback Kyle Foster only threw for 65 yards and one touchdown, Cascade ran the ball for 253 yards. Running back Travis Short had a field day, running for 217 yards on 35 carries, averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
However, South Putnam is not likely to see such a force on the football field Friday. Southmont is only averaging 11.7 yards per game, while allowing an average of 37.4. Although the Mounties have played tough teams, the Eagles have also faced their fair share of tough opponents, including defending 2A State Champion Tri-West.
Wildman can only hope that experience will pay dividends in the postseaon.
"We played a lot of good teams," he said. "We were competitive against most of them. Now that important part of it is to turn that over to wins in the sectional."