Warsaw (6-1, 5-0 NLC) at NorthWood (2-3, 2-2)

When: Friday, 7 p.m., Andrews Field, Nappanee.

Series (last 35 years): NorthWood, 24-11.

John Harrell’s prediction: NorthWood, 24-23.

Last meeting: Oct. 11, 2019, Warsaw 35-14.

Last time NorthWood won: Oct. 5, 2018, 14-13.

About Warsaw: Coach Bart Curtis’ Tigers topped Wawasee 42-17 Oct. 2. Juan Jaramillo had 27 carries for 129 rushing yards and two touchdowns …

Season leaders are Julius Jones (51 carries for 682 yards and three TD’s), Aaron Greene (111 totes for 625 yards and 10 TD’s), Jaramillo (114 attempts for 498 yards and eight TD’s) and Colton Wampler (56 tries for 204 yards and three TD’s) in rushing, Greene (8-of-17 for 185 yards and two TD’s) in passing and Luke Adamiec (three catches for 121 yards and two TD’s) and Jackson Dawson (two receptions for 41 yards) in receiving … Tops in total tackles are Mason Martz (37.5), Zach DeFord (26), Zackary Diecks (23.5) and Theo Katris (22.5) … Warsaw averages 34.4 points per game on offense and 25.9 on defense … The Tigers have scored at least 40 points four times and have not been held to 21 since Week 2 against Michigan City … Warsaw’s last win at NorthWood was a 24-17 overtime triumph in 2012 … Curtis is a 1982 NorthWood graduate.

About NorthWood: Coach Nate Andrews’ Panthers lost 30-16 to Mishawaka Oct. 2. Ethan Evers and Kyle Sellers ran for TD’s for NorthWood, which averages 16.6 points per game on offense and 11.6 on defense … All tickets must be purchased online. No tickets will be sold at the contest.

Per Warsaw coach Curtis:

On NorthWood: “Maybe the fastest defense we’ve played to date. They’re fast and physical and give you some different looks that can give you some problems. Their “Mike” linebacker (Eddie Hildebrant) is an absolute terror. They’ve got some dudes who fly around on defense. They are going to cause some issues if we aren’t tight and right … (Kyle) Sellers is a handful on the perimeter. He’s a nightmare with his hands on the ball … They’re very capable in all facets of the game … Their record is really deceiving …  If you don’t tackle well in the open field, they’re going put some points on you. They play so gosh-darn hard and fast from the first snap to the last. They’ve got some Alpha males over there for sure.”

Coming on strong: “(Half back/strong safety) Mason Martz has come around and played his best football the last four weeks. He’s a really strong blocker at halfback. He’s on darn near every special teams unit. He’s taken up his game the last month.”

Wawasee game: “The manner in which we came out on top wasn’t exactly what we had in mind. However, we did show signs and spurts of playing much better in the second quarter and again in the third quarter. Wawasee played hard and they played well. But that kind of concentration and mistakes is not going to get it done Friday … We had way too many silly penalties and plays that just are going to get you beat eventually … We did not play very disciplined football. That starts with me and trickles down to our coaches.

Manchester (2-5, 2-4 TRC) at Tippecanoe Valley (5-2, 5-1)

When: Friday, 7 p.m, Smith-Bibler Memorial Field.

Series: Valley leads 39-7.

Last meeting: Valley won 25-0, Oct. 11, 2019.

Last Manchester win: 27-20, Sept. 6, 2014.

John Harrell’s prediction: Valley, 35-21.

About Manchester: Star junior running back Braxton Ream has been medically cleared to play and could return for the Squires this week after missing the last two games with a shoulder injury, although coach Alyx Brandewie said Tuesday evening he still wants to see how well Ream “deals with contact” in practice first. Ream piled up 888 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 125 carries (7.1 average) over the season’s first four weeks before being sidelined in the opening quarter at Northfield. … Manchester, coming off a 20-14 loss to Whitko, has gone 0-3 since Ream’s exit and will be playing just its second road game of the season Friday. … Sophomore QB Brock Casper is 76-of-152 throwing for 1,164 yards with 12 touchdowns and eight picks. Junior wideout Seth Gaerte has 30 catches for 602 yards and seven TDs. … The Squire defense owns 17 takeaways, including five by junior safety Dylan Stroud, who made two interceptions last week.

About Valley: “A Viking victory Friday sets up a showdown at Class 1A No. 3 Southwood next week for first place in the Three Rivers Conference. … Trailing 17-13 at the half, Valley rallied for its fourth straight win last week, 20-17 over Maconaquah, on Hunter Eherenman’s 11-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter. … Viking running backs Alex Craft and Jamasyn Virgil have combined for 987 yards on 132 carries, good for a 7.5 average and 11 touchdowns. Junior quarterback Branson McBrier has completed 50-of-84 passes for 1,003 yards and 14 TDs against just two picks. … The Valley defense has racked up 21 takeaways, including five by Eherenman from his safety spot. … Starting left guard Ben Bowser is out this week after suffering a shoulder injury in the first quarter against Maconaquah, but is expected back next week.

Manchester coach Alyx Brandewie:

On last week — “Our kids battled their butts off and I was proud of the effort. We had a hard time running the ball without Braxton, obviously, and that pigeon-holed us a little bit. They were kind of daring us to throw and we had some trouble throwing. We’ve been a little one-dimensional.”

On Valley — “They’re a big, strong, physical football team. You see it on the roster and you see it on film. Sometimes you see a roster and say, man, that’s a lot of size, and then some of them are guys who don’t do much, but with Valley, that’s not the case. They’ll present a real challenge for us, and we’ve talked about that with our guys. We have to embrace that challenge if we’re going to beat a big, physical team.”

On who’s a hidden gem — “I think there’s been a couple. Collin Bonewitz on the defensive line has turned himself into a really nice football player, and Harry Sturtsman on the offensive line, when the year started, you’re wondering if a sophomore can get it done, but he’s been as steady and as reliable as can be.”

Valley coach Steve Moriarty:

On last week — “It was a frustrating win. Nevertheless, we’re glad to get it. Our defense shutting them down the second half really helped and our offense was able to punch it in. I think a couple injuries we had (Bowser and Craft, a two-way standout who returns this week, were both injured in the first half), those plagued us a little bit, but Jamasyn Virgil was huge running the ball (20 carries, 125 yards, one TD) and our linebackers did a really good job.”

On Manchester — “I think they’ve got a very good team. They’ve improved and will be hard to stop if the Ream kid is back. If we can contain him, I think we’ll be OK, but he’s good.”

On who’s a hidden gem — “Actually, I’d say it’s been Bowser, but really, our whole offensive line has just done a good job of recognizing different fronts and communicating. Wade Melanson and Grady McGriff and (DJ) Estep and (Michael) Sexton, a couple of those guys are returning starters, and the nice thing is three of them are just juniors now, so they should be pretty good next year.”



Wawasee (2-5, 0-5 NLC) at Mishawaka (3-3, 3-1)

When: Friday, 7 p.m., Steele Stadium, Mishawaka.

Series (last 35 years): No meetings.

John Harrell’s prediction: Mishawaka, 38-17.

About Wawasee: Coach Jon Reutebuch’s Warriors lost 42-17 to Warsaw Oct. 2. Parker Young completed 14-of-28 passes for 128 yards and two TD’s. … Season leaders are Young (70 carries for 141 yards and three TD’s) and Nathan Larson (49 attempts for 127 yards) in rushing, Young (87-of-168 for 1,022 yards and 11 TD’s) in passing and Kameron Salazar (25 catches for 341 yards and two TD’s), Jacob Meek (19 receptions for 197 yards and three TD’s), Adam Beer (10 catches for 153 yards and three TD’s) and Lucas Ringler (11 receptions for 141 yards and one TD’s) in receiving … Tops in total tackles are Robert Schmucker (49), Dominic Blair (49), Salazar (42), Mark Wiggs (37), Larson (31) and Justin Castro (21).

Wawasee averages 15.6 points per game on offense and 23.7 on defense.

About Mishawaka: Coach Keith Kinder’s Cavemen bested NorthWood 30-16 Oct. 2. Andrew Mason ran 27 times for 127 yards and one TD for Mishawaka. Justin Fisher is the Cavemen’s quarterback … Mishawaka, which runs a flexbone type of offense, averages 34.7 points per game on offense and 30.7 on defense … Tickets may be purchased online at https://cavemensports.com/digital-tickets/. Access code: Wawasee.

Per Wawasee coach Jon Reutebuch:

On Mishawaka: “Mishawaka’s huge upfront. They have a very good quarterback. They seem to be hitting their stride right now … The biggest thing is that they wear you down. It’s physical football. If you don’t have a two-platoon team or depth, they’re going to wear you down … It’s important that you possess the ball and keep their offense off the field. You cannot have three-and-outs. You need to have sustained drives and get points as soon as you can. It goes back to the old adage that the best offense is a good defense and the best defense is a good offense.”

Worthy of praise: “Driedyn Hernandez — our center — has been a steadying force upfront. He’s kind of the captain of the line. Senior Jacob Meek plays a lot of different roles (receiver, special teams and defensive back).”

Warsaw game: “We played well in the first half. Then we had a fake punt go wrong and it seemed like it went down hill from there … The score at halftime was 14-10. We briefly had an advantage in the first half, 10-7. We felt pretty good about our positioning going into the second half. Our first two drives were three-and-outs … It went from 14-10 to 28-10 fairly quickly in the third quarter.”



Knox (3-4, 2-2 HNAC) at Triton (3-3, 2-2)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m., Triton High School, Bourbon.

Series (last 35 years): Knox, 26-9.

John Harrell’s prediction: Knox 31-21.

Last meeting: Oct. 11, 2019, Knox 28-6.

Last time Triton won: Oct. 5, 2018, 14-12.

About Knox: Coach Russ Radtke’s Redskins lost 38-20 to Pioneer Oct. 2 … Knox averages 27.9 points per game on offense and 26.4 on defense.

About Triton: Coach Rodney Younis’ Trojans lost 30-12 to North Judson Oct. 2. Anthony Schuh and Cole Shively scored rushing TD’s. Shively was 4-of-11 for 95 yards passing … Triton averages 17.2 points per game on offense and 26.5 on defense.

Per Triton coach Rodney Younis:

On Knox:  “We’ve got another tough week ahead of us. Knox is a very strong program. Defensively, it’s hard to find any weaknesses. They’re big. They’re strong. They’re physical. They’re athletic. We’ve got to do things we can control.”

Unsung players: “Cameron Shively has really done a great job (on both the offensive and defensive lines). We’ve seen such growth with him … Nate Amsden is a tight end. We don’t throw the ball a whole lot so he doesn’t get a lot of looks in the passing game, but his blocking has improved and, defensively, he’s done a great job of setting the edge … (Senior lineman) Caleb Lemler has our most experience. He’s been an anchor for us on the offensive and defensive lines.”

North Judson game: “It came down to turnovers. That cost us … North Judson has a really good defense. We were able to move the ball on them and have some success. We had two costly fumbles — one was returned for a touchdown and the other was returned down to the 5-yard line. Three plays later, they punch it in … Ball security is clearly going to be a big emphasis this week. When you’re going through the line, you’ve got to have two hands on that ball … Those are things that are easily fixable and that we must fix.”



Northfield (4-4, 4-2 TRC) at Whitko (4-3, 3-3)

When: Friday, 7 p.m, Huff Stadium.

Series: Whitko leads 31-12.

Last meeting: Northfield won 24-0, Oct. 11, 2019.

Last Whitko win: 19-7, Oct. 9, 2015.

John Harrell’s prediction: Northfield, 35-21.

About Northfield: The surging Norsemen, coming off a 62-0 walloping of Rochester, have won three straight since a 25-8 loss to Class 1A No. 3 Southwood (7-0). … Dual-threat junior QB Jake Halderman is 34-of-64 throwing for 500 yards and four touchdowns against just one pick over the last six weeks, to go with 292 ground yards and six TDs. Junior running back Jarret Shafer has 447 yards on 87 carries (5.1 average) and three scores. … Junior linebacker Jacob Snyder’s been in on 70 tackles, including eight for loss, while defensive tackle Micah Higgins has 13 TFLs. As a team, Northfield owns 50 TFLs and 14 takeaways. … Brandon Baker, who is in his eighth year heading the program, is seeking his 50th win against 34 losses.

About Whitko: The Wildcats, 20-14 winners over Manchester last week, have exactly alternated victories and losses over their first seven games this season. They’ll be aiming to end that trend and pick up their second home win in five tries this season, the other one being a 22-20 overtime decision over Prairie Heights in Week 1. … QB Ethan Schuh is 65-of-126 throwing for 1,201 yards with 11 TDs and 11 interceptions. His top three targets — Isaiah Kyles, Cade Berg and Drake Lewis — have compiled some strikingly similar numbers on their way to a combined 51 catches for 999 yards and 11 touchdowns. Berg has added 473 yards rushing with a 5.7 average and five scores.

Whitko coach Phil Jensen:

On last week — “We won. That’s a good thing, but we did not play well at times. It was ugly at times, but like I told our kids, when you’re trying to turn something around, you gotta learn to win ugly games, and we did it. A year ago, we would’ve quit when some of the things out there happened. They’re things that we still want to fix, but it was a really good experience.”

On Northfield — “They’re really good. Big fullback, good offensive line, very aggressive team, senior-dominated. They’re scoring a lot of points. … (Defensively), they’re simple, play a lot of man and just get after you. They don’t appear as if they’ll try to trick you a lot. They just want to be sound and turn it over to that offense.”

On who’s a hidden gem — “It varies game to game, sometimes play to play. Sometimes our offensive line plays really well. We have a freshman on our defensive line, Dean Boggs, who’s been really good in moments, and has been a freshman in moments. We’ve gotten really good special teams play at times, but the bottom line is we’re still looking for consistency across the board.”