Greencastle set to face versatile attack from Tri-West

Friday, October 25, 2013

While Greencastle and Tri-West haven't faced off on the football field this year, a rivalry has been brewing between the two teams since the Tiger Cubs won in the sectional semifinal last year.

That game, a 20-14 win for the Tiger Cubs, was likely played very differently than this year's is shaping up.

The 14 points allowed by Greencastle matched the season-total up to that point.

The Tiger Cubs (8-1, 4-1 WCC) defense hasn't been nearly as flawless in 2013. They've had just one shutout, compared to seven at this time last year, and surrendered an average of 17.8 points per game.

Greencastle is winning games with its offense this year, with scoring up six points from last year to 37 points per game in 2013.

It will have its hands full trying to match Tri-West.

Led by senior quarterback Jake Hendershot, the Bruins (7-2, 6-1 Sagamore) have moved the ball through the air and on the ground to net 33 points per game against a difficult schedule.

Hendershot is a true dual-threat, with the ability to spread the ball to a variety of fast, experienced receivers on the outside or use his powerful build to run up the middle through smaller linebackers.

That size angle won't be nearly as pronounced against Greencastle.

The Tiger Cubs lineman, both on offense and defense, have had a size advantage over every team they've played, and likely every team they will play. They're bigger up front than many small-college teams.

Keeping a quarterback in the pocket and forcing him to beat them through the air has been Greencastle's strategy all season, and it's paid off up until this point.

GHS has the offense weapons to match any opponent, and while its defense has struggled with limiting big plays, it has several talented players in the secondary capable of meeting the ball in the air and coming away with game-changing interceptions.

Relying on takeaways might not be enough, but senior quarterback Tyler Scott has proven all season he is capable of taking advantage of any mistakes the Tiger Cub opponents have made.

Scott, along with receivers Seth Brown, Brandon Gierke, Ryley Cook and Nathan Tesmer, will be ready for fast-strike scores when they're called upon, but Greencastle will likely open the game with bruising senior running back Alec Pettit following his linemen through the smaller Bruin front.

Pettit has been an understated key for the Tiger Cubs all season. He's averaging more than six yards per carry and is poised to go over 1,000 yards on Friday. He also has 19 touchdowns and has become a bigger part of Greencastle's passing game in the past few weeks.

If he can avoid fumbles and help the Tiger Cubs eat up the clock and keep Hendershot off the field, they'll be able to keep the score low. If not, they could be in for a shoot out.

Greencastle plays at Tri-West on Friday at 7 p.m.

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