BY ROB WITZEL
CAYUGA, Ind. —
Its déjà vu all over again for the North Vermilion Falcons as the team faces a familiar foe in the Regional round — Indianapolis Scecina Memorial.
Last year after winning the IHSAA Class A Sectional the Falcons were defeated but there’s an extra little swagger this time around.
“The kids don’t have a doubt in their mind.” Coach Brian Crabtree said. “All year, they’ve expected success and that doesn’t change this week.”
The Falcons are coming off a 27-7 win over the Attica Red Ramblers. With the excitement from a second straight Sectional Championship carrying over to this week the team’s excitement and momentum are at a great level.
The Falcons are not intimidated by the Crusaders, but they are eager to face last year’s state runner up.
“Our momentum is great. “ North Vermillion quarterback Brayden Woodard said. “Scecina is going to come out hard, they might think they can come into our house and push us around, but we’re going to fight right back.”
“We’re pretty fired up.” lineman Scott Thomason added. “We’ve come together more as a team and we’ve done a lot better so far this year. We want to keep that going.”
Last season, the Falcons lost to the Crusaders 35-8 in this contest. While this matchup is the same two teams, the way North Vermilion arrived to the Regional round could not be more different.
In 2011, the Falcons went into the playoffs at 4-5, fifth place in the Wabash River Conference and lived the ultimate underdog story on their way to a sectional championship.
They had barely beaten Attica 9-7, rolled over Cloverdale 52-12 and then upset Rockville in overtime 27-20.
Fast forward to this season and the Falcons sit at 12-0 and are ranked 6th overall in Class A, with Scecina ranked 7th. The Falcons have rolled through the first three rounds winning by at least 13 points and confidence is high.
“I think the kids certainly would have wanted a better result last year, and feel like they could have played a better football game.” Crabtree said. “I feel like overall as a team we’re executing at a higher level than they were last year. I watched the tape from last year, and a few tapes from this year and the main difference is that they are bigger, faster and stronger.
“They returned a bunch of kids from last year’s team. We are certainly looking forward to the challenge of playing a traditional Indiana football powerhouse.’’
So far this year great blocking up front and two electric athletes have led to tremendous success on offense. Woodard has excelled at quarterback throwing for 1,491 yards and 19 touchdowns.
The junior has also been incredible running the ball as he has compiled 1,455 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns.
Meanwhile his partner in crime, Kody Zumwalt has gone for 1,603 yards rushing with 22 touchdowns. He also has 4 receiving touchdowns on 218 yards.
Scecina Memorial sits at 9-3 in a very tough Indiana Crossroads Conference.
The Regional matchup will be played at Gibson Field in Cayuga and kickoff is slate for 7 p.m (Eastern). The game can be heard locally on WKZS-FM 103.1 and WRHK-FM 94.9.
The winner advances to the semi-state round where they will play either Linton-Stockton (12-0) or West Washington (12-0).
IHSAA Class A Regional Championship
Indianapolis Scecina Crusaders
vs. North Vermillion Falcons
Where — Gibson Field in Cayuga, Ind.
When — 7 p.m. (Eastern) today.
Records — Scecina 9-3 overall; North Vermillion 12-0.
Rankings — The Crusaders were rated No. 7 in the final AP Class A poll; while the Falcons were ranked No. 6
On the air — WKZS-FM 103.1; WRHK-FM 94.9
Last year’s results — The Crusaders defeated the Falcons 35-8 in the Class A regional championship.
Last week’s results — Scecina beat Eastern Hancock 35-19; while North Vermillion defeated Attica 27-7.
Next week’s game — The winner advances to the semi-state round where they will play either Linton-Stockton or West Washington.
Rushing — Kody Zumwalt 198 carries, 1,603 yards, 22 TDs; Brayden Woodard 147-1,455, 30 TDs; Jacob Earl 46-326, 3 TDs.
Passing — Woodard 126 completions, 198 attempts, 7 interceptions, 1,491 yards, 19 TDs.
Receiving — Wade Harrison 36 receptions, 460 yards, 6 TDs; Ethan Lee 26-338, 2 TDs; Zumwalt 20-218, 4 TDs.
Tackling — Ethan Kunkle 126, Harrison 58, Dakota Uplinger 56, Abbott Dowers 55, Lucas Clark 38.