It’s round two of three to determine the Montgomery County football bragging rights for another season.
A North Montgomery win Friday at home against Crawfordsville would give the Chargers the title. A Crawfordsville win would give them a chance to win the title when they battle Southmont next week.
This will be an extra special game as it will break the tie for the overall series. After 42 meetings the series is tied up at 21-21.
North Montgomery (4-3, 2-3) and Crawfordsville (1-6, 0-5) are both coming off losses. North Montgomery fell to Danville 41-26 and Crawfordsville lost to Lebanon 42-14.
However, none of that really matters.
“With the way our schedule sets up, this is a great opportunity for us,” Crawfordsville coach Sean Gerold said. “Obviously, we would want to have a better record, but having these two games at the end of the season helps with motivation. A county championship is very important around here. The guys understand this and know that we have a chance to play the spoiler for this week. We will be the huge underdogs the next two weeks, but if we play as we are capable of, we will be right in the games at the end.”
The Athenians will bring the area’s top passing game to Chargers Field, a place the Crawfordsville has not won a game since 1988. Junior quarterback Travis Harris has thrown for more than 1,700 as 12 touchdowns, but has been picked off 14 times.
North Montgomery will be ready for the passing attack after facing three straight teams with a punishing ground attack.
“It means we have to practice longer to get used to their style,” North Montgomery veteran coach Charley German said. “Tri-West and Benton Central both passed a lot so we have seen it, we just have to focus on a different aspect of the game. Their defense, being based upon a three man line and five linebackers and stunting a lot is somewhat unique also. They have a very good QB and four excellent receivers, which makes them tough to defend. We have to be solid in our coverages, allow no long TD passes and make good open field tackles.”
North Montgomery has taken a different approach this season, trying to rely on the ground game.
“Their run game is a huge strength for them, but they are not afraid to pass the ball,” Gerold said. “We have to do a good job being gap sound against the running game and making tackles. In the passing game, we need to be aware of where Rogers is because he is a special athlete and they want to get the ball into his hands. We need to continue to mix up blitzes in both running situations and passing situations.”
This game has been on the minds of the North Montgomery players’ minds since last year’s loss.
“Rivalries are great fun for the players and fans, and headaches for the coaches,” German said. “Our boys wanted to play Crawfordsville every day after they beat us last year, and we have had to make sure our emotions are in check and the players need to do what they have been coached to do. It should be a great game.”
Despite going into the game with a mark on it’s back, Crawfordsville will be ready.
“I don’t think our kids need any extra motivation to come out and play North Montgomery,” Gerold said. “It is a special game because everyone is so into the game. If you need extra motivation for this game, then there is something wrong. Rivalry games are so much fun to be apart of, no matter the level of football. They are a really good team and we must come out ready to play from the first whistle. Their crowd will be pumped up as always and will make it a hostile environment for our guys.”
Another key battle in the Sagamore Athletic Conference will take place at Western Boone where the Stars will play host to the Mounties.
Southmont is coming off a heart-stopping 38-35 win over Frankfort. On the other hand, the Stars are coming off its first loss of the season — a 32-30 loss to Tri-West.
“I think we were all excited to get a win in dramatic fashion last Friday,” Southmont coach Desson Hannum said. “We had been on the opposite end twice this season, but when you have inexperience one of the most difficult things to do is close a game.”
However, to make it two wins in a row, Hannum knows it will be a tall task, but not one his team can’t pull off.
“To beat a team as good as Western Boone you have to play well in facets of the game,” he said. “Defensively, we have to stop them on first down so our defense is in a more predictable situation for second and third down.”
A win Friday would be huge for the Mounties.
“Momentum at the end of the season is extremely important heading into sectionals,” Hannum said.