For all the marbles: Cubs, Knights set to battle for West
Greencastle will host Northview tonight in a high-stakes high school football game - the kind of which every team aspires to have.
Your destiny is in your hands. Win, and you are the champions, at least of your division. Nothing else matters.
Northview enters the game ranked No. 9 in Class 4A in the Associated Press media poll and No. 13 in the Indiana Football Coaches Association poll.
Greencastle is No. 11 in the Class 3A coaches poll and No. 12 in the media poll.
Both teams are undefeated, and both are led by elite star power.
Greencastle’s Damon Moody has been dominant on both sides of the ball, leading the state in sacks and ranking 10th in rushing yards among all players.
Northview is led by senior quarterback Trey Shaw, who has thrown for 678 yards and 12 touchdowns. His favorite target is classmate Trevor Cook, who has caught 23 passes for 413 yards and seven scores.
The Knights are also potent on the ground, with Shaw rushing for 564 yards and nine touchdowns and fellow senior M.J. Shelton adding 499 yards and eight touchdowns.
Northview averages 46.7 points a game, ranking the Knights 10th in the state in that category, while allowing just 13.5.
“They are a very solid program,” Greencastle coach Mike Meyer said. “They have very good skill position players and very good team speed. We know they are going to be aggressive.
“We have watched them on film and we know we have our hands full,” he added. “We need to continue to have fun with what we’re doing.”
The Tiger Cubs picked up their biggest win of the year to date last week as they knocked off Sullivan 29-28 on the road.
“Our kids are believing in themselves, and that makes it easier to coach,” Meyer said. “We have been working to minimize our mistakes. The difference has been our special teams.”
Meyer noted a big kickoff return in the Sullivan game, as well as a perfectly-executed “quick kick” by Alex Costin that pinned Sullivan on its one -yard line late in the game.
“Damon Moody ran down the field to down it and just made a heckuva play,” Meyer noted. “Alex had a great kick too. If you’re going to go down to the wire, make them go 99 yards.”
Meyer knows his team will have to keep playing well and even take a few more steps up in order to pull off the win tonight.
“There is definitely less room for mistakes,” he said. “I think they’re excited and will be focused.
“If you have a big game like this, you want to have it at home,” Meyer added. “We have played them pretty well the last couple of years, and we’ll give them everything we have got.”
Meyer was pleased that his team lost its momentum after taking an early 10-0 lead, then giving up 21 straight points to put itself in a hole.
“There was no quit and our guys didn’t blink,” he said. “We moved around a lot of guys to different spots and they responded well. Many guys are playing four quarters on both sides of the ball, and they are hanging in there. It has really paid off.
“I couldn’t be more proud of a bunch of kids.”
The teams are currently tied for first in the Western Indiana Conference’s West Division, with one more game to play after tonight.
North Putnam sits in third place with two losses, however, so even if tonight’s winner would get knocked off next week, that team would win a tiebreaker over tonight’s loser.
“We seem to be getting a little better each week,” Meyer said. “It’s not going to be any easier.”
Northview (6-0, 3-0) at Greencastle (6-0, 3-0)
Coaches: Mark Raetz is in his sixth year at Northview. Mike Meyer is in his ninth year at Greencastle.
On the airwaves: WREB-FM 94.3 and WAMB-FM 99.5 will broadcast the game on radio. The Indiana Sports Network will have a video broadcast at www.wabashvalleysports.com.
So far: Northview has beaten Terre Haute North 35-26, Edgewood 42-14, Sullivan 50-20, West Vigo 42-0, Owen Valley 70-0 and North Putnam 41-21. Greencastle has beaten Crawfordsville 9-0, Cloverdale 28-18, West Vigo 23-12, South Putnam 12-0, Cascade 49-26 and Sullivan 29-28.
History: Northview won 22-20 last year on a last-second field goal. Greencastle has a 7-6 lead in games played over the past 30 years.
WIC impact: The teams are tied for first place in the WIC West division, and the winner will win the title regardless of what happens next week.
Opponents’ records: Northview 16-20, Greencastle 13-23.
Per-game averages: Offense – Northview 46.7, Greencastle 25.0. Defense – Northview 13.5, Greencastle 14.0.
John Harrell prediction: Northview 38, Greencastle 17