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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Greencastle Tiger Cubs prepare for top-ranked Bishop Chatard Trojans

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Greencastle will need to rely on solid defense and a near-flawless performance from senior quarterback Nick Gilliam to defeat Indianapolis Bishop Chatard on Friday.
(Banner Graphic/CAINE GARDNER) [Order this photo]
Despite a dazzling undefeated record and a state-best scoring defense that has allowed just 2.2 points per game, the Greencastle High School football team finds itself as the big underdog this weekend in the sectional final contest against 3A top-ranked Indianapolis Bishop Chatard.

The Trojans (9-2) have won the last two Indiana 3A state championships, but GHS coach Josh Buis said he isn't ready to call his team a long-shot to win.

"I've had a lot of people asking me, 'Are you scared to play them?' It's football. They're 16-, 17- and 18-year-old kids just like we are," Buis said. "I wouldn't necessarily call us the underdog. If this was the World Series and you have to play the best of seven, that might be a different story.

"All you've got to do is beat them once. You don't have to win a seven-game series."

Greencastle (11-0) faced its stiffest test of the year last week, beating Tri-West 20-14 after going ahead on a late touchdown run by senior quarterback Nick Gilliam.

The 14 points allowed matched the defense's season total up to that point, but it was still well below the Bruins' average of 25.7 points per game.

To get a win on Friday, the Tiger Cubs will have to overcome an even tougher challenge.

The Trojans are averaging 33.1 points per game, largely with a power running game that features senior running back Pete Hartley.

"If you can slow the running game down, you've got a chance," Buis said. "Teams that are successful against them play well enough on defense to slow down the running game and (offensively) throw the ball on them a little bit.

"You're going to have to spread them out a little bit; get their linebackers out of the box."

That plan of attack -- solid run defense and a wide-open passing game -- has been the GHS calling card all year.

"We're going to do what we do," Buis said. "We're going to be gap sound. We're going to be fundamentally sound. It's going to be a big challenge, but it was a big challenge stopping Tri-West from throwing the ball. It was a big challenge stopping South Putnam from running the ball (in week five)."

Stopping the Chatard offense is only part of the challenge. To keep up on the scoreboard, GHS will need to rely Gilliam more than ever.

Since returning from an injury in the week eight game against Cascade, he has been trying to get back in sync with the receivers and regain command of an intimidating spread offense.

He went 10-for-16 for 145 yards in last week's win and will need to improve on that to keep the Chatard defense on its heels.

"We're not going to do anything special." Buis said. "We're not going to game plan any differently for Chatard than we did for Tri-West.

"It's not going to come down to coaching. No game comes down to coaching. It's going to come down to which team wants it most."

The game will be played at Lawrence North High School, and, because of the hour and a half travel time, it will begin at 7:30 p.m.

After hosting a game last week on a muddy, cold night, the change of scenery and lengthy travel time could lead to a slow start, but Buis said his leaders will have the team ready to play.

"I think the senior class we have, if we told them we are going to play in the middle of a cornfield they'd be excited about it." Buis said. "You always want to start off well and finish a game strong, and our seniors will make sure that happens.

"You can't be undefeated and not have a senior class that has strong leadership."

Entering a game as underdogs, winning the mental battle can be just as import as the physical.

Buis said reading message boards and hearing chatter about the team's fate is unavoidable, but the only thing he is worried about is how his players handle themselves.

"I tell my kids, 'The only people that have to believe that we can win are in this room,'" he said. "It's a big opponent. You can play it down as much as you want. They're a good football team, but I think we're a good football team.

"The media doesn't decide a game. The people on message boards don't decide a game.

"That's why you play the game and let the players decide the outcome."

Greencastle is the last team standing in the county, which means they already have a leg up on next year, but just reaching the sectional final is short of the potential Buis sees in his team.

"In order to win championships and put trophies in the case, you've got to be able to play your best football in late October and November," Buis said. "We'll be prepared, our kids will be ready and we will find a way to bring a sectional championship back home to Putnam County."

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Play hard and do your best. I and a lot of others believe you can win win win.

-- Posted by jmenterp on Thu, Nov 1, 2012, at 1:57 AM

Best of luck to the Greencastle High School football team, Coach Buis and his staff. Your accomplishments make all of Putnam county proud!

-- Posted by Lookout on Thu, Nov 1, 2012, at 6:44 AM

Great season so far but I'm afraid it's about to end. Playing a weak schedule just doesn't prepare

you for this type of competition.

-- Posted by nphs92 on Thu, Nov 1, 2012, at 8:20 AM

Go get em Tigers!!!! You've made Greencastle proud and there's more to come.

-- Posted by jbastian on Thu, Nov 1, 2012, at 8:33 AM

dks67 , Playing a weak schedule has nothing to do with what you know you can do.

-- Posted by jbastian on Thu, Nov 1, 2012, at 8:38 AM

Play with heart & leave it all on the field, as I know you will. Good luck Tiger Cubs.

-- Posted by kbmom on Thu, Nov 1, 2012, at 8:53 AM

Best of Luck to the Tiger Cubs! Don't listen to the negative believe in the POSITIVE! (I don't know why we constantly hear we have such a weak schedule. It is what it is the team did not choose it so why act like they can't win games because of it!) They have worked hard to get where they are.

-- Posted by pettitlori on Thu, Nov 1, 2012, at 10:28 AM

" 278th easiest schedule in the state, 30 point underdog and ranked 86 via Sagarin rankings."

But BCHS lost to a 2A school this season! Just sayin' they might be overconfident for this game, too.

-- Posted by sassylass on Thu, Nov 1, 2012, at 5:47 PM


-- Posted by Terrywhite1947 on Thu, Nov 1, 2012, at 9:59 PM

This team has worked hard! We are so very proud of these boys. In my eyes they are already winners. Play hard tonight and do what you do best.

-- Posted by Brenda1 on Fri, Nov 2, 2012, at 10:02 AM

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