SOUTH WHITLEY – A week after a 28-0 loss to Whitley County rival Churubusco, the Whitko Wildcats were looking for a win over their other county nemesis – Columbia City.

Neither the Eagles or Wildcats won their first game, so a win Friday at Ryan Huff Memorial Stadium would have propelled either program.

It was a defensive struggle, to say the least.

Despite the team’s defense forcing three turnovers, the Wildcats couldn’t get much of a push offensively as they fell 14-0 in a tightly-contested battle.

“Stats may not be as equal as what we’d hoped, but by God, we made them work for 48 minutes,” said Whitko coach Jeff Sprunger. “It gets us ready for conference play next week.”

The Eagles (1-1) got their scoring out of the way early. Junior wide out Michael Sievers scored twice for Columbia City on runs from 18 and 25 yards in the opening quarter.

Sievers finished the game with 120 yards on 13 carries, while Jacob Wigent tallied 141 yards on 18 attempts.

After leading the offensive attack against Churubusco last week, Whitko halfback Zakk Neer led the way again with 67 all-purpose yards for the Cats. Dominick Moseley completed 6 of 14 passes for 39 yards with an interception.

Defensively, senior defensive back R.J. Patrick recorded two interceptions on the night, and junior linebacker Mason Lehman notched a sack. Seniors Cade Bechtold and Ethan Howard had two passes batted down each.

Penalties proved to be a factor for both sides, as the Eagles and Cats combined for 20 penalties and 134 yards – most of which would result in turnover-on-downs or punts.

“Offensively, we had too many flags that killed our drives,” said Sprunger. “Our offense isn’t built to go second-and-long. We need that second-and-short to really be competitive.

“Defensively, we need to be more disciplined There’s some simple errors, like watching the ball on fourth-and one, and giving them automatic first downs – you just can’t have it.”

Despite not having scored yet this season, there is reason to believe that this Whitko team will get over the hump, according to Sprunger.

“We’re going to get the offense clicking, we’re not that far off,” said Sprunger. “What I like is that we’re getting a lot of younger guys repping in offensively, and a lot of those young offensive linemen that we just need to straighten some things out.”

Next week, the Cats will look to get their first win of the year against a conference opponent – despite it not being counted toward their Three Rivers Conference record – against the Maconaquah Braves (1-1).  The Eagles will start their Northeast 8 play at home against Bellmont Friday.

“It’s one of these things where I don’t mind starting a tough season like this,” says Sprunger. “It gets us ready for conference play. We’ve got a tough opponent in Maconaquah that’s going to challenge us and have more manpower and are going to able to make more substitutions, but games like this get us ready for that.”


C 14 0 0 0 14

W 0 0 0 0 0


1st downs 21 5

Rushing yds 313 118

Passing yds 151 39

Comp-Att-Int 12-25-2 6-14-1

Total yds 464 157

Fumbles/lost 2/1 2/1

Penalties/yds 11/87 9/47

First Quarter

C – Michael Sievers 18 run (Davis Snyder kick)

C – Sievers 25 run (Snyder kick)


Rushing — Columbia City, Jacob Wigent 18-141, Sievers 13-120, Max Bedwell 5-56, Gregory Bolt 3-(-14), Michael Nodine 2-5, Jacob Bolt 1-3; Whitko, Zakk Neer 11-50, Zach Gardner 3-34, Mason Lehman 4-25, Riley Young 4-1, Dominick Moseley 10-(-4) 

Passing — Columbia City, Bolt 7-13-102; Whitko, Moseley 6-14-39

Receiving — Columbia City, Sievers 4-27, Doug Hill 3-65, Keirn Gilles 3-32, J. Bolt 1-15, T.J. Bedwell 1-12; Whitko, Ethan Howard 3-20, Neer 2-17, Lehman 1-2 

Records: Columbia City 1-1; Whitko 0-2