North Daviess (8-2) v. Perry Central (8-2)
There are no easy games between Elnora and Indianapolis for the North Daviess Cougar football team at this point in the season.
After dismantling, Springs Valley in the opening round of sectional last Friday, The Cougars are now one of four very potent teams left in Sectional 48.
The 8-2 Cougars will travel to old rival Perry Central, also 8-2, in what might well be one of the best Class A match ups in the state. On the other side of the bracket, Linton at 10-0 and 9-1 Tecumseh will also battle for a spot in the sectional final in a great game of their own.
“Of the four teams left, they have only a combined five losses between them,” said ND coach Scott Helms. “Sectional 48 is a very tough sectional. Tecumseh hasn’t lost since they lost to us in Week 1. Every one knows how good Linton is, and Perry Central’s only losses came to Corydon (3A) and a good 2A Tell City team that gave Southridge a heck of a game at sectional last week.”
“I think there is more competitive balance in Class A this year. There is very good football around the state and with Lafayette Central Catholic and Secenia moving up, it will be difficult but more teams will have a real chance. I would say that the teams in Soutwestern Indiana are definitely some of the best,” added Helms.
Although Perry Central and North Daviess don’t play during the regular season, they have a long rivalry of sectional matchups.
“We have split our last four times we have played,” said Helms. “We won in ‘08 and ‘09 and lost in ‘10. I know our seniors will remember that game.”
Helms said that the Commodores are a team that will “look a lot like us.”
The Commodores are currently coached by Greg Gibson, who was a long-time assistant for coach Mike Spencer. Gibson has been with the team since 1996 and coached on both state final teams.
“The are a very classy program and we have a lot of respect for them,” said Helms.
PC has won seven sectionals and six regionals since 1999. The have also made it to the dome twice, losing to Southern Wells and Central Catholic.
“We have had some real battles with North Daviess and they always seem like they are big games at ‘win or go home’ time. They always seem to be close games,” said Gibson. In fact, over the years I think we are 8-8 or 9-9 against them.”
“We are a Wing-T team, but we may pass the ball a little more than most teams,” said Gibson.
At quarterback is sophomore Lane Lynch.
“He kind of came out of nowhere this year,” said Gibson. “He threw for over a 1,000 yards and had a 16-2 touchdown-interception ratio. His completion rate is 68 percent, so that is pretty impressive, especially for a sophomore.”
Lynch’s primary receiver has been former senior quarterback Dakota Shad, who had 32 catches this season.
“He has really blossomed out there,” Gibson added.
Austin LeClair is a 5-10, 180 lb. back who leads the rushing attack for Commodores. He is a 1,000 yard rusher this season and has 40 touchdowns over the last two years.
Gibson said the Cougars will see their base 4-3 defense, that features the linebacker as the primary tacklers.
Helms said ND will have to take a disciplined approach to beat Perry Central.
“We know what we have to do. We have to establish the run and mix in the pass. At this time of year you have to have a tremendous line and a good back and some good complementary backs. We have all of those things and I think we are on the verge of becoming a good passing team.
Helms knows that as far as his running game goes, he has one of the best in Colton Lengacher. Helms believes he is again leading the state in rushing after his 373 yards against Valley.
“His 2,600 yards and 38 touchdowns are amazing, but you should also give credit to Logan Turpin and Doug Bays. Those guys have had so many eight- or nine-yard carries at different times this year that keep big drives alive,” said Helms. “Logan is such a great blocker, he has sprung Colton on some very long runs this year.”
“We know this will be a different type of game. Colton had 370 yards in just 17 carries against Valley,” said Helms. “If he has half as many yards on twice as many carries, we will still be in good shape. Don’t be surprised to see Colton get 30-40 carries.”
Gibson said Perry Central really hasn’t seen a back like Lengacher.
“He is very well put together. We haven’t seen his combination of size and speed. We know we have to slow him down (to have a chance to win). Another challenge is that huge line they have, but our kids are up for the challenge.”
The Cougar will be the road team and kickoff from Leopold will be at 8 EST.