BY AARON PATTERSON firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — CAYUGA, Ind. — There is nothing the North Vermillion Falcons would want more than to win their third consecutive sectional title with an opportunity to get their hands on that elusive regional trophy. It’s all they’ve been thinking about since their season ended a year ago.
But they are focused. Regardless of who their opponent is, the Falcons realize that if they don’t take care of business from week-to-week, that opportunity might never come. And that is the approach they are taking as they prepare for Friday’s sectional semifinal game against the Attica Red Ramblers.
“We want to get back there,” North Vermillion senior linebacker Abbott Dowers said. “We’ve got to play football, though, to get back there. You take it one week at a time. We’re not looking forward to regionals. We’ve still got to win this week and then win next week.”
North Vermillion won the regular season meeting with Attica 51-16. The Red Ramblers’ only points were scored in the fourth quarter against the Falcons’ second team defense. But that doesn’t mean they are taking anything for granted.
“Sectionals are totally different,” Dowers said. “It’s a new season. Everyone wants to win. You win or you go home. It hits you when you’re down by seven or up by 20. You want to come out on top.”
The Red Ramblers (7-3) have lost only three games this season, all coming in consecutive games against Rockville (6-4), Fountain Central (9-1), and North Vermillion (10-0). Since the loss in Cayuga, Attica has won four straight games by an average score of 50-5. Consider a relatively healthy squad, and the Red Ramblers are primed for redemption.
“I just think that they’ve got some guys back from injury,” North Vermillion coach Brian Crabtree said. “They’re pretty healthy for this time of year. I think they’ve had a couple weeks where they kind of were able to rest guys earlier in the game the last couple of weeks so I expect them to be fresh.
“A team as good as Attica, they’re going to be very excited about the chance to redeem themselves from the first game. We have to be ready for them to come out sky high emotionally.”
They also have to be ready for dual-threat quarterback Brady Sheridan, who has passed for 1,163 yards and 14 touchdowns, and 544 rushing yards and 12 scores.
“One of the toughest things to defend in football, and something you’re seeing more and more all the time, is a true dual-threat quarterback,” Crabtree said. “Because of the nature of the game and the way it’s sort of changing a little bit, if you can get a guy back there that is effective running and throwing the ball, that puts a lot of stress on your defense. He’s one of those guys, for sure.
“He’s outstanding,” Crabtree added. “The tough thing about Attica is that not only do you have to defend him, but you’ve got to defend three or four other guys that are good playmakers. It’s not an easy night trying to keep them out of the end zone.
The Falcons also have one of those guys in senior Braydon Woodard who has thrown for 1,087 yards and is only eight yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark on the ground.
Sophomore Jacob Earl has also rushed for 1,562 yards and 31 touchdowns.
The Falcons enter Friday’s game winners of 22 of their last 23 games, and are hoping to make it 23 of 24.
Still, they are using their past to keep them humble during their success.
“Just know where you came from,” Dowers said. “When I first started playing my freshman year, we weren’t great, but you’ve just got to work and get better every day.”
Friday’s game is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. The winner will take on the winner of Fountain Central and North Central (Farmersburg).
Indiana Class A Sectional Semifinal Attica at North Vermillion When -- 7 p.m. EST Friday Where -- North Vermillion High School, Cayuga, Ind. Records -- Attica 7-3 overall; North Vermillion 10-0 overall. Rankings -- North Vermillion No. 2. Week 6 result -- North Vermillion 52, Attica 16 Last week's results -- Attica defeated Covington 54-0; North Vermillion defeated Rockville 27-6. Next week's games -- Winner advances to a Class A sectional championship game to face the winner of North Central (Farmersburg) and Fountain Central. Statistical leaders Rushing -- Attica: Brady Sheridan 101 attempts, 544 yards, 12 touchdowns; Lance Whorrall 36-289 3 touchdowns. Danville: Jacob Earl 132 attempts, 1,572 yards, 31 touchdowns; Brayden Woodard 84-992 16 touchdowns. Passing -- Attica: Sheridan 66 completions, 135 attempts, 5 interceptions, 1,163 yards, 14 touchdowns. North Vermillion: Woodard 68 completions, 108 attempts, 5 interceptions, 1,087 yards, 12 touchdowns. Receiving -- Attica: Carson Davis 16 receptions, 368 yards, 4 touchdowns; Tyler Campbell 12-256, 2 TDs; Whorrall 15-230, 5 TDs. North Vermillion: Braeden Hollowell 15 receptions, 320 yards, 6 touchdowns; Ethan Lee 16-262, 1 TDs; Cody Wright 15-180, 1 TD. Tackles -- Attica: Tyler Campbell 15, Sheridan 15, Cody Parker 13, Tyler Jordan 14, Keetin Arnold 13, Bret Green 11, Justin Harmeson 11. North Vermillion: Ethan Kunkle 98, Lucas Clark 50, Abbott Dowers 44, Zeth Jumps 44, Robby Davis 43, Matt Kingrey 30, Evan Weir 21.