NorthWood (3-1, 1-1 NLC) at Warsaw (4-0, 2-0 NLC)
When: Friday, 7 p.m., Fisher Field, Warsaw.
Series (last 35 years): NorthWood, 23-11.
John Harrell’s prediction: NorthWood, 24-21.
Last meeting: Sept. 16, 2022, NorthWood, 42-21.
About NorthWood: Coach Nate Andrews’ 4A Associated Press No. 9/Indiana Football Coaches Association vote-getter Panthers lost 25-21 to visiting Northridge in Week 4 … Senior Owen Roeder completed 20-of-35 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions … Roeder rushed eight times for 21 yards and one TD … Senior and University of Georgia commit NiTareon Tuggle caught 10 passes for 108 yards and two TDs … Total tackle leaders were senior Keith Miller (13), junior Landon Zimmerman (7) and Senior and University of Michigan commit JoZiah Edmond (6), junior Brady King (6) and senior Kanye Tucker (6) … In four games, Roeder is 83-of-119 for 1,187 yards and 14 TDs with three interceptions … Edmond has 19 rushes for 120 yards and three TDs … Tuggle has 27 catches for 348 yards and six TDs, junior Landon Perry 13 for 274 and one, Trey Woods 14 for 238 and three, Edmond 19 for 235 and two and senior Seth Russell for 112 and one … Miller (26), Tucker (25) and King (22) are season leaders in total tackles.
About Warsaw: Coach Bart Curtis’ 6A AP/IFCA vote-getter Tigers beat visiting Concord 10-3 in Week 4 … Reed Zollinger rushed 28 times for 247 yards a 3-yard touchdown coming in the second quarter … Quinton Brock completed 3-of-5 passes for 35 yards … Mason Smythe kicked a 34-yard field goal in the third quarter … Concord was held 114 yards of total offense (19 on the ground) … Warsaw was penalized 11 times for 65 yards but amassed 70 offensive plays (to 47 for the Minutemen) … The Tigers’ stingy defense has now yielded just 29 points this season … Warsaw is 4-6 in the last 10 meetings against NorthWood. The Tigers have beaten the Panthers in their last three visits to Fisher Field … Warsaw has not started a season 5-0 since 2001 when the team won its first 10 contests … Curtis (now 43-15 in his sixth season at Warsaw) passed Bill Goshert (42, 1956-64) for third all-time in program victories. Phil Jensen (92-76, 1996-2003 and 2008-15) is first on the list and George Fisher (91-93-3, 1926-51) second.
Per Coach Bart Curtis:
On NorthWood — NorthWood is highly-skilled. They’ve got speed on the perimeter, speed in the backfield, a quarterback with a really good arm and a defense that flies around. They’re a handful … They can make you look silly in a hurry if you’re not aligned correctly … We’ve certainly got our work cut out for us … We want to make sure we continue to play as hard and fast and as smart as we have played defensively.
Answering adversity — We are certainly in no position to pat ourselves on the back or listen to anyone else patting us on the back. That being said, we have played with our backs against the wall fairly well. Obviously, we’ve been in some sticky situations. To our credit, we’ve handled adverse situations fairly well to this point.
On Concord game — They had the ball in good scoring position. We were fortunate to come out of that only giving up three points … We’re playing hard and I think we’re having a good time playing.
Culver Academy (2-2) at Tippecanoe Valley (4-0)
When: Friday, 7 p.m., Smith-Bibler Memorial Field.
Series: Culver leads 16-3.
Last meeting: Culver won 16-0, Aug. 21, 2020.
Last Valley win: 26-13, Aug. 20, 2010.
John Harrell’s prediction: Valley, 35-17.
About Culver: The Eagles are the only team in the state who have had all four of their games this year decided by single digits. Ironically, their widest margin has come in overtime, last week’s 39-31 loss to Fairfield. Culver led by 11 points in the third quarter before the Falcons rallied for the win. … The Eagles’ victories are 21-14 at South Bend Adams to open the season and 26-22 over Class 1A No. 10 North Judson in Week 3. They fell 21-14 at Marian in Week 2. … With individual stats available from only three of Culver’s four games (the Marian game excluded), junior Tay Rodriguez has carried 38 times for 192 yards and four touchdowns. Senior Kyle Eggebraten is at 118 ground yards and two TDs on 14 tries to go with 141 yards on six receptions and two more scores. Sophomore quarterback Michael McColgan has completed 27-of-44 passes for 391 yards with three touchdowns against five picks. Defensively, Eggebraten’s been in on 21 tackles in those three games and senior Henry Martello 16 to go with three sacks. … Overall (four games), Culver’s committed 10 turnovers against six takeaways.
About Valley: The Vikings’ active streak of 11 losses to the Eagles — spanning early-season meetings each year from 2011 to 2020 plus a 27-26 sectional game in 2014 — marks Valley’s longest skid against any opponent ever. … In last week’s 53-0 win over first-time foe Tipton, Nate Parker scored five touchdowns. He finished with 154 yards and four scores on just nine carries in addition to hauling in a 27-yard TD pass from Cody Eastgate. Parker upped his season totals to 539 yards rushing, 187 receiving and 10 touchdowns. Eastgate’s now 25-of-44 throwing for 554 yards and seven TDs against one interception. … Sophomore Gage Overbey matched his own school record with a 46-yard field goal. … The Vikings built a 39-0 lead by halftime and finished with 519 yards of offense despite a running clock in the second half. Valley also limited the Blue Devils to 83 yards while posting its first shutout of the season. … Linebacker Brock Derf recovered a Tipton fumble and took it 30 yards for a touchdown. Derf leads the Vikings with 22 tackles, followed by Grady Moriarty at 19. Dalton Alber is tops in sacks (three) as well as other tackles for loss (six). … Valley’s seeking its 15th straight regular-season home win since September of 2020.
Valley coach Steve Moriarty:
On last week — “I thought we did a great job up front. The linemen really created holes. When you’ve got a back like Nate and give him a seam, good things happen, and Cody was on point with his passing. Tipton was a team that came in averaging some yards and to hold them to negative 1 on the ground, our guys did a great job. Our linebackers did a good job flying over the top and slowing their backs down.”
On Culver — “They play hard, a good team with a lot of talent. They’re going to be a tough team to beat. They’re good up front and very physical and their backs are very athletic. … All (their close games), that gives them more experience in tight situations, so that makes them better able to handle those situations and less likely to panic. We haven’t really had that tight situation late in games yet, and they’re going to be the best team we’ve played so far.”
On Culver’s head-to-head dominance — “It would be nice to end that (11-game skid). We’ve struggled with them since I’ve been a head coach (0-4). They’ve just been so talented. Hopefully, this year is one we match up talent-wise. I like what we’re doing. We play gritty and hard. I think that’s something our kids take pride in, and it would be great for them if we could get a win against a team we haven’t beaten in a long time.”
Wawasee (1-3, 1-1 NLC) at Concord (2-2, 0-2 NLC)
When: Friday, 7 p.m., Jake Field, Dunlap.
Series (last 35 years): Concord, 36-4.
John Harrell’s prediction: Concord, 24-14.
Last meeting: Sept. 16, 2022, Concord, 16-0.
About Wawasee: Coach Jon Reutebuch’s 4A Warriors lost 25-19 to visiting Plymouth in Week 4 … Wawasee led 13-10 at halftime and was out-pointed 15-6 in the fourth quarter … Senior Mason Shoemaker completed 9-of-19 passes for 108 yards and one touchdown … Senior Hunter Tinkey ran 16 times for 170 yards and one TD (54 yards), senior Brandon Kelly seven for 67 and junior Barrett Kelly 14 for 63 … Tinkey and senior Derek Bontrager both caught three passes for 38 yards (one of Bontrager’s was for a 12-yard TD) … Top total tackle leaders were Brandon Kelly (11), senior Payton Sewell (9), Barrrett Kelly (6) and Bontrager (6) … In four games, Shoemaker is 47-of-77 for 673 yards and seven touchdowns with six interceptions … Tinkey has 37 carries for 343 yards and two TD, Brandon Kelly 41 rushes for 231 and one TD and Barrett Kelly 38 totes for 176 yards and one TD … Tinkey has 14 receptions for 243 yards and two TDs and Bontrager 17 catches for 204 yards and four TDs … Total tackle leaders are Barrett Kelly (28), Brandon Kelly (28), Sewell (26), Bontrager (22), junior Reed Reidenbach (19) and senior Donovan Blair (19) … Wawasee’s last win against Concord came in 2004, followed by 19 straight losses.
About Concord: Coach Craig Koehler’s 5A IFCA vote-getter Minutemen lost 10-3 at Warsaw in Week 4 … Concord junior Rafael Sabas kicked a 28-yard field goal in the fourth quarter … Junior Hudson Glantz completed 7-of-22 passes for 102 yards with two interceptions … Junior Jaron Thomas rushed 13 times for 31 yards … Sophomore Char’rese Breveard caught four passes for 57 yards.
Per Coach Jon Reutebuch:
On Concord — We’ll have to play well. That’s a good football team. (Thomas) is a problem. He’s really good running back. I know he’s a track dude … They run a lot of formations to run a few plays. They’ve always got something up their sleeves … It might be one of the best front seven’s we’ve seen so far. We’ve got our work cut out for us.
Answering adversity — Each week the kids come back to work hard. When you struggle to win games you’ve got to learn how to win. We just need to turn that corner, have somebody make that play to get us over the hump and the kids start believing. Right now they’re just kind of hoping it happens. We need to get to the point where they believe it’s going to happen. We’re close. We’re knocking on the door. We still haven’t put it all together yet.
On Plymouth game — We had big opportunities to score and it was either a penalty or a turnover. Just too many mistakes. It seems to be the ongoing theme this season. We had an opportunity to win the game and just couldn’t put it together.
Northfield (0-4, 0-2 TRC) at Manchester (2-2, 2-1 TRC)
When: Friday, 7 p.m., Burk Field, North Manchester
Series: Manchester 23-11
John Harrell’s Prediction: Manchester 24-23
Last Meeting: Sep. 16, 2022, Northfield 48-27
About Northfield: The Norsemen come into this Week 5 matchup at 0-4, having been outscored 114-19 so far this season, having been shutout twice. The Northfield offense is headlined by a rushing attack led by quarterback Jake Perney (79.7 yards per game) and fullback Turner Stephens (56 YPG). Kody Stambaugh and Joseph Perney are two defenders that average more than nine tackles a game. Last week, Northfield suffered a 13-0 loss to Southwood. Stephens led the team on offense with 71 yards on 21 carries. Perney was 2-11 passing for 38 yards, 33 of those to receiver Carter Rodgers.
About Manchester: The Squires are looking to shake off a tough loss to Rochester last week, a game in which Manchester trailed 50-0 at halftime. Reiss Gaerte leads the team in rushing yards (65 YPG) and total touchdowns (4). Eli Metzger is the team’s lead receiver with just under 57 yards a game and two touchdowns. Quarterback Logan Eastgate has thrown five this season. Eastgate was 7-14 for 95 yards last week. Mason Rooney led the team in rushing yards with 36. Defensively, Dallas Martin and Trace Murphy each had four tackles. The combined record of the Squires’ opponents so far this season is 7-9.
Manchester head coach Eddie Fields:
On last week - We talked last week about wanting to see where we’re at. We’ve still got a long way to go. It was similar to the Bluffton game, lining up against big kids who are physical on every play. You want to match that, it makes you want to be that. We had a good week of practice this week, very purposeful and physical.
On the ups and downs of a season - I think its been generally positive. Sure, there’s been some negativity after the losses but we haven’t lost our kids. Nobody is having temper tantrums or throwing stuff on the sidelines. They’re dealing with adversity which is a very important part of life. But these wins are helping the kids and the community buy in. Last year, they were 0-4 at this point, and I can’t imagine having the game we just had with that record and trying to come into the locker room with a message. We try to anchor the message with these wins and use the losses as a learning experience.
On Northfield - We’re excited about this one. They’re much better than their record indicates. This is probably going to be our first truly competitive matchup. Our kids know each other, grew up together. We play similar styles. The big message has been to play tough, play smart. Coach Baker has done a great job over there and I know his group will be ready, so we need to be too.
North Miami (0-4, 0-3 TRC) at Whitko (1-3, 0-3)
When: Friday, 7 p.m., Huff Stadium.
Series: Whitko leads 32-15.
Last meeting: North Miami won 49-0, Sept. 16, 2022.
Last Whitko win: 21-14, Sept. 17, 2021.
John Harrell’s prediction: Whitko, 28-21.
About Whitko: The Wildcats trailed 30-0 at halftime in last week’s 43-6 loss at Maconaquah. The running clock was triggered midway through the third quarter when the Braves went up 37-0. … Senior quarterback Jack Hill and junior receiver Riley Harman hooked up for Whitko’s lone touchdown, a 90-yarder in the fourth period. Harman caught a short pass off a defender’s back, then used a combo of blocking and moves to go the distance. On the season, he has five catches for 175 yards. Hill is 11-of-27 throwing for 216 yards. … Running backs Trevor Freel (137), Kaden Long (120) and Breyden Kirkdorffer (102) are each over 100 yards rushing, with Long sporting an 8.0 average. On the defensive side of the ball, Long’s recorded all three of the Cats’ caused fumbles.
About North Miami: Though the Warriors are winless and coming off a 44-8 loss at Cass, they’ve scored in every game and have played strictly teams that are 2-2 or better at the moment. Their closest defeat is 34-24 against Manchester. They’ve also fallen 35-12 to Class 1A No. 7 Sheridan (3-1). … With North Miami stats only available through the team’s first three games, the Warriors have shown a balanced running attack. Senior Braxtyn Rader’s at 129 yards, senior Bryce Gosnell 114, junior Kody Whann 107 (two TDs) and sophomore QB Hartley Hoover 93. Three different players, all sophomores, have thrown passes, with combined figures of 7-for-19, 193 yards, one touchdown and one pick. Musall’s caught three passes for 122 yards and a TD. Defensively, sophomore Jordan Simon has been in on a stellar 35 tackles through those three games and Musall 23.
Whitko coach Brad Sprunger:
On last week — “We played pretty well, other than the score showing it. The kids made some mental mistakes, but we’ve still got a lot of first-year guys. We held (Maconaquah) to only throwing the ball, which we wanted to do. It came down to a few mental mistakes and giving them some nice field position on our fumbles (giving up three).”
On North Miami — “I’ve known Coach (Joe) Grant for a while now, and Bob Bridge (the Indiana Hall of Famer who headed the Warriors from 1985-99 with a 1A state title in 1993) is still there. They’ll come and hit you and try to run the ball, so we keep reiterating to get off the ball and play our type of game. If we do that, we’ll be all right.”
On what’s been most encouraging — “Last week, down 37-nothing, we’re telling the kids to keep their heads up, keep going, and our leadership kids were like, ‘It’s fine, I’m having fun.’ I think our kids are seeing how good they can get if they just stay with it. If we come out, play hard, keep plugging away, the score will show it one day.”
Triton (2-2, 1-1 HNAC) at Culver Community (0-4, 0-2 HNAC)
When: Friday, 7 p.m., Cavalier Field, Culver.
Series (last 35 years): Culver Community, 24-14.
John Harrell’s prediction: Triton, 42-17.
Last meeting: Sept. 16, 2022, Triton, 42-0.
About Triton: Coach Zach Whittaker’s 1A Trojans lost 28-21 to visiting Bremen in Week 4 … Making his first career start at quarterback, sophomore Gage Riffle completed 8-of-15 passes for 131 yards, including a 41-yarder to junior Dante’ Workman (who caught four passes for 115 yards), and rushed for a 1-yard TD. Riffle stepped in when senior Cole Shively became the fourth two-way starter of the season to leave the lineup because of injury … Sophomore Vinnie Prater carried 28 times for 165 yards and one TD … Total tackle leaders were Workman (12), sophomore Colton Reynolds (11), sophomore Jayden Overmyer (7) and junior Connor Stetzel (7) … The Trojans have won three straight and six of the last seven against Culver Community.
About Culver Community: Coach Austin Foust’s 1A Cavaliers lost 52-18 at West Central in Week 4 … Sophomore Jonas McCuen connected on 7-of-16 passes for 19 yards with one interception … Senior Jack Rodgers ran 15 times for 116 yards and one TD and junior Ethan Binion had four totals for 57 yards and one TD … Culver Community has been outscored 199-48 so far in 2023.
Per Coach Zach Whittaker:
On Culver Community — We’ve got to get better at pass coverage. We’ve got to get better at tackling. We’ve got to continue to improve on the offensive line … (Culver Community) always plays us tough. They’re always physical. It’s a rivalry game. I know they’re going to come out on their homecoming ready to go. It’s not something we’re taking lightly. That’s for sure.
Answering adversity — It’s been quite the year with injuries. I’ve never seen a year like this. The resilience of this team is incredible.
On Bremen game — (Riffle) did an incredible job considering the circumstances … I knew it was going to be a challenge starting five sophomores on offense. The one thing that I was looking for was us playing our brand of football — playing physical and giving 100 percent effort no matter the score. We definitely delivered on that … We had a chance to tie in the last minute or so and couldn’t convert on fourth down.