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Athenians and Chargers both looking to end skids

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Crawfordsville and North Montgomery football both began the season at 2-0. Since then both teams have dropped their last three games as both the Chargers and the Athenians enter Friday’s county rivalry game with identical records of 2-3 (0-3 SAC). Crawfordsville makes the short trip to North Montgomery as the Chargers will celebrate homecoming as it will be a packed house at Charger field.

Crawfordsville held their own a week ago against fellow county rival Southmont in a 26-13 defeat, but CHS held the Mounties scoreless in the second half. North Montgomery was able to keep pace with Western Boone for nearly three quarters but the Stars were able to pull away for a 35-8 victory.

Both coaches know the importance of this game as it will allow the winner to have momentum to being their second half of the season.

“We know that we’re going to have to put a complete four quarters together and not just a good half,” Crawfordsville coach Brad Clark said. “If we don’t come ready to play from the opening kick, we most likely find ourselves in another hole. North Montgomery is a physical team and we know they’re going to bring pressure and that presents challenge in both the run and pass game.”

Like Clark, North Montgomery coach Josh Thompson knows it will take a complete four quarters for his team to come out on top.

“The good thing is it’s a county game so our guys don’t need any extra motivation,” Thompson said. “We know throughout the course of the game there’s going to be things that happen that may not go in our favor. It comes down to how to our guys respond to that adversity and that’s been our focus this week.”

Ross Dyson for the Chargers and AJ Hall for the Athenians are the two signal callers for their respective teams. Dyson has thrown for 491 yards and six touchdowns while Hall has thrown for 458 yards and seven scores.

Hall’s top two targets have been junior Ethan McLemore who ranks third in the SAC with 303 yards and four touchdowns and Kaiden Underwood (144 yards and three touchdowns).

On the ground is where the Chargers will have the advantage as Dyson is the also the leading rusher for the Chargers with 220 yards. Both Austin Sulc (192) and Gage Galloway (114) also pose a threat on the ground.

“Both Dyson and Sulc are both big strong physical kids,” Clark said. “We know if we give them room that they can hurt us. Dyson overall is a dangerous player because you have to account for him doing so many different things whether that be rolling out of the pocket or just him keeping it himself. They have guys on the outside who can hurt you too so we have to account for everything when our defense is on the field.”

Both coaches also know what a win would mean for their respective teams as they begin the final push to the end of the season where they both want to start rounding into form and playing their best football.

“A win no matter the game is always a good thing to have,” Thompson said. “We’re really focused on our process of just getting better week by week. I thought we got better from when we played Lebanon to when we played Western Boone. Now the question is can we continue to improve this week against Crawfordsville. If we continue to do that then we’re going to have the success we’re supposed to have.”

Clark notes how a victory would allow his team to see that they’re moving in the right direction as a program and accomplish their goal of being able to compete in these county matchups.

“A win would be a step in that right direction for us,” Clark said. “It would mean that we’re moving closer to the goals that we set our for ourselves as a team and that’s always exciting.”

Kickoff between the Chargers and Athenians is scheduled for 7 pm at North Montgomery. You can catch the game live on Thunder 103.9 WIMC with Jared McMurry and Billy R beginning at 6:30.

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