The Washington Hatchets and North Daviess Cougars both face fierce opponents on Friday night.
The Cougars travel north to face Class A No. 1 Linton, in what has become one of the best rivalries in the southern part of the state. The Hatchet host undefeated Illinois powerhouse Mount Carmel, while hoping to get their first win of the season.
Mt. Carmel (4-0) v. WHS (0-5)
The Hatchets dropped to 0-5 last Friday after a 42-20 homecoming loss to Mt. Vernon, however coach Kelly Brashear still believes his team is improving.
“We did a lot of what we wanted to do,” said Brashear. “We wanted to be in a position to win the game going in to the second half. For the most part, that is where we have been the last three games. However, we also know how tough that is with as small a team as we have.”
That Hatchets had another solid effort from senior tailback Jaden Arvin, who had 148 yards in the loss.
“He is definitely an all-conference type of kid,” said Brashear. “It is tough to get (that honor) at that position, but he is just as good as anyone else.”
The Hatchets saw the return of senior lineman Eric Long last week, and this week, 6-1, 230 lb. sophomore Luke Thornton will make his first appearance of the season.
“You may see some full-house type of stuff with Luke, Jaden and Edrwin all back there,” added Brashear.
The Golden Aces come in to the game with an 4-0 mark that included dominant wins over Big 8 foes Princeton and Mt. Vernon.
Quarterback Reece Metcalf enters with 746 yards in the air and a 51 percent completion rate (51-100). The senior lefty has thrown 11 touchdown passes and has been picked off just three times. As a team, they have outscored opponents, 170-50.
“They have a really nice mix of run and pass,” said Brashear.
Going into this week’s game, Mt. Carmel’s rushing attack has been led by Sean D. Flickinger.
He has 332 yards on the ground on 58 carries, along with Tony Miller who has 189 yards on 26 carries, while Metcalf has kept the ball 21 times for 199 yards. Junior Levi Laws has only four carries, but has piled up 109 yards.
Coach Darren Peach is now in his 13th year at the school with 111 wins. He is two wins away from the all-time mark at MTV. WHS is 1-9 since the Aces have joined the Big 8.
The Hatchets kick off at 7:30 p.m. in Hatchet Hollow and will be a Coaches v. Cancer night.
ND (4-1) at Linton (5-0)
The Cougars continued to play well, after a 40-15 win over North Putnam on Friday night, however, they will now face their sternest test of the year in Class A No. 1 Linton-Stockton.
The rivarly with Linton has always been hotly contested, however Linton has won the last four meetings with with the Cougars.
This year the 4-1 Cougars faces a Miner team with a different look. Gone is all-state quarterback Austin Karizia and long-time coach Steve Weber and his spread offense.
However, ND coach Scott Helms said this year’s edition is just as potent, averaging 47 points a game and giving up just 13.
“They are running a Wing-T offense this year and quarterback Dane Rupska does a nice job of running and throwing. He is really like a big back who also throws well,” said Helms.
“Grant Stamm is a wide receiver who likes to go deep and Austin Hale is a very good back. Mitch Eberhart and Zane Hayden are a pair of fast, strong running backs as well.”
Last week the Miners dismantled Springs Valley, 48-6, with a balanced attack which saw Hale get 92 yards, Rupka add 93, Hayden add 52 and Eberhart with 48.
Rupska also had 107 yards through the air.
Although Helms knows that Linton is a very good football team, he feels the the pressure will be the on the Miners.
“They are the ones coming in with the the No. 1 ranking and we are kind of flying under the radar. This is a big game for us, but we know there are other big games down the road,” he added.
Helms feels that if ND can control the football, sustain drives and be as efficient in the red zone as they have been, they should have an opportunity to win the game.
“We know we have to stop the run and prevent the big play,” he added.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Cougars will continue to ride the back of senior Colton Lengacher. Lengacher continued his run toward the ND record book with 272 yards against North Putnam.
He has 1,492 yards and is just 637 away from Ryan Webster’s career mark and closing in on Brett Markel’s single season mark as well.
“The best thing is Colton’s teammates really want to see him succeed,” said Helms. “They love playing with him and that makes it even more special.”
The Cougars and Miners kickoff at 7 p.m. at Roy Williams Field in Linton.