Based on the results, the Falcons have prepared quite well over the last two seasons with Crabtree at the helm. His record as the head man at North Vermillion is 21-1. The lone defeat came in last season’s 27-0 regional loss to Indianapolis Scecina.
Since the loss, the Falcons have outscored their opponents an average of 52.2-7.1. That includes five shutouts and only six touchdowns given up by the first team defense in nine games. Five of them came against Class A No. 6 Fountain Central (8-1).
Woodard has so far passed for 1,040 yards and 12 touchdowns, and has rushed for 915 yards and 16 touchdowns. Sophomore running back Jacob Earl has also accounted for 1,412 yards on the ground and 27 touchdowns. But all members of the program are in agreement that it is defense that sets the tone.
“Defense is always where our football program starts,” Crabtree said. “The saying is, ‘Defense wins championships.’ From that standpoint, we have to play good on the defensive side of the ball. But, it’s always a total game. Even in those low-scoring affairs when the defense is playing tough, your offense has to be able to help you hold field position, and special teams, you have to work on holding field position and not making a mistake. It’s still three phases.”
The North Vermillion defense has recorded 16 interceptions so far this season with Woodard, Jacob Earl, and Cody Wright accounting for three each. Rockville quarterback Kiontre Wilkey has thrown for 564 yards and has rushed for a team-leading 1,216 yards and 16 touchdowns.
In the Falcons’ win over the Rox earlier this season, Wilkey threw for only 39 yards and rushed for 70. But they realize anything can happen in the postseason, and containing the junior play threat will be their biggest challenge.
A win would advance the Falcons to the second round for the sixth consecutive season, and help them take another step toward their ultimate goal.