FOOTBALL PREVIEW: County teams hit the road, Mustangs open at home

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After one week of high school football we learned a lot about the local teams, while a lot of unanswered questions remain. On Friday all three Montgomery County teams hit the road, while Fountain Central hosts Riverton Parke for their home opener. Crawfordsville travels to West Vigo, North Montgomery to Hamilton Heights, and Southmont makes the short trip to Roachdale to take on North Putnam.

Here are some keys, facts, and players to watch for all four games, and a short word from each of the local coaches. 

Crawfordsville at West Vigo 

Keys To The Game

Crawfordsville showed flashes of brilliance on both sides of the ball last week, but had trouble finding consistency. 

“Our number one goal this week has been to improve our overall blocking and tackling as a group,” Athenians first-year coach Kurt Schlicher said.

If the Athenians want a shot at a victory against a Vikings team that defeated North Central (Farmersburg) 40-8 last Friday and is receiving votes in the Class 3A poll, Crawfordsville will need to complete drives and get off the field defensively on third down. 

Players to Watch

Expect Noah Allen (68 yards) to once again be the featured back for Crawfordsville, and Cale McCarty to be a dual threat offensively (155 total yards). 

Facts

West Vigo has defeated Crawfordsville in eight of the last 10 meetings, and owns a 8-2 record at home. After the Athenians won three of the first four meetings, Crawfordsville has only won two of the last nine. The Vikings received voting points in this week’s Class 3A poll.

North Montgomery at Hamilton Heights 

The bad news: North Montgomery let one slip away last Friday against North Putnam. The good news: Friday is a new week and the Chargers own two straight wins over Hamilton Heights, both coming last season. 

The Chargers have a balance on both sides of the ball,  and as cliche as it sounds, complementary football for four quarters will assure North Montgomery a win. 

“Consistency,” Chargers coach Josh Thompson said. “So we don’t have the up and down in the game and to try and eliminate that. I thought Monday’s practice this week was better, and I thought Tuesday’s practice was better this week.” 

Players To Watch

Jaron Bradford connected with Kai Warren for a long touchdown last week, but also threw three interceptions. Bradford and Warren (84 receiving yards) will be a key combo to watch as Kade Kobel continues to bounce back to 100 percent from an off-season injury. 

Facts

North Montgomery and Hamilton Heights have only met four times. The first meeting was a Huskie home win 30-7 in the IHSAA Sectional in 2011. The Chargers have won the last two meetings, including twice last fall. Three of the first four meetings came in the state playoffs. 

Riverton Parke at Fountain Central

In a battle of two teams coming off first week blowout losses, Fountain Central will look to bounce back against Riverton Parke on Friday and open their home and Wabash River Conference slates with a win.

Keys To The Game

For a Mustang victory to unfold on Friday, the run game will have to be fine-tuned. The Mustangs rushed for just 35 yards in their 26-0 loss to Southmont las week.

“We must be able to stop their run game and we must be able to run the ball,” Mustangs coach Ryan Hall said. “They a do a good job upfront, so we must handle their physicality.”

Players To Watch

Look for Gabe Riley (45 yards) to turn loose in the backfield on Friday, and young quarterback Seth Martin to feel more comfortable under center. 

Facts

Fountain Central has not lost back-to-back games to start a season since 2002 when they fell to Southmont, Turkey Run, and Riverton Parke in consecutive weeks. It is also the last time Fountain Central lost to Riverton Parke. 

Southmont at North Putnam

Last season North Putnam and Southmont provided fans with an offensive shootout with the Cougars pulling out the win 48-42. With new faces for both teams at quarterback, a such high-scoring affair will likely not be in order this year.

Keys To The Game

Southmont will have to continue to use their speed on both sides of the ball in order to be competitive week in and week out. A high-scoring game will likely not be in their favor, so slowing the tempo might be in the best interest of the Mounties.

“We’ve got to put up some points on the board, but I don’t expect it to be that high-scoring of affair this year,” Southmont coach Desson Hannum said. “From our perspective we don’t want it to be. We want to keep that score down a little bit. We want to eliminate some of the possessions of the game, and control the pace of the game.”

Players To Watch

Jake Whitecotton (93 yards), Cameron Giles (83 yards), and Trent Jones (60 yards) all showed off their speed last week in the Mounties win over Fountain Central. Expect their speed to be a difference maker on offense, and Riley Woodall as the must see player on defense.

Facts

Friday night will be the 49th meeting between North Putnam and Southmont with the Mounties leading the overall series 27-21. The series is tied 5-5 over the last 10 games. The home team is just 22-28 overall, with the Mounties owning a 14-9 record in Roachdale. 

Facts Courtesy of Barry Lewis

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