BY AARON PATTERSON
VEEDERSBURG, Ind. —
There might not be a bigger match-up this regular season in Indiana high school football than what will take place Friday night.
The Class A fifth-ranked Fountain Central Mustangs (7-0 overall, 5-0 in the Wabash River Conference)will play host to the No. 2 North Vermillion Falcons (7-0, 5-0) in a game that will likely have eyes from across the state watching closely.
By the way, the winner also will clinch at least a share of the WRC title.
“It’s an exciting game,” Fountain Central coach Brian Moore said. “This is fun. We tell our kids this is why you play football at Fountain Central to play in games like this. We’ve had some blowout games and it’s good to win, but this is the type of game that you want to be a part of right here.”
The Falcons are riding a 17-game regular season winning streak, including a 25-21 win last season over the Mustangs. The game was played in the rain, and ended Fountain Central’s run of 24 consecutive regular season wins.
“It was hard on us, especially coming in the next morning and watching it; watching ourselves and how everything went down,” Fountain Central senior Trevor Loveall said. “It was tough. We wish we would have played them again, but the guys that have returned, we’re all looking forward to it.”
Fountain Central’s offense is led by junior quarterback Koby Pierce, who has passed for 1,010 yards and 17 touchdowns through seven games, and Loveall who has accounted for 504 of those yards and caught seven passes for touchdowns.
Daniel Harrison (369 yards) and Jared Fishero (468) have also combined for 837 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground.
The Mustangs are averaging just over 55 points per game, but will go against a North Vermillion defense allowing only 3.3 points per game. In fact, the Falcons’ starting defense has given up only one touchdown this season.
“Their offense is very good, and their defense is pretty good,” North Vermillion senior lineman Robby Davis said. “We’ve got to play hard on both sides of the ball the entire time. You can’t let up on one play because it might be that one big shot that wins the game. You’ve got to play hard no matter what on each play.”
The Falcons’ have found success largely because of a stingy defense, but have also been able to light up the scoreboard. Senior quarterback Brayden Woodard has thrown for nearly 900 yards and nine touchdowns while sophomore running back Jacob Earl has accounted for 943 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns.
“They are pretty quick,” Loveall said. “I think that’s going to be the biggest challenge for the team. They’ve got some speed guys. We’ve got some, but we’ve just got to contain them and not let them get outside of us.”
Fountain Central boasts a brand new field this season that plays fast and could further challenge the respective defenses. Regardless, both teams are looking forward to the possible playoff preview to help them prepare for the postseason, claim WRC bragging rights, and remain perfect on the season.
“As the season unfolds and you continue to have success, you look forward to being pushed further,” North Vermillion coach Brian Crabtree said. “We really feel like we are going to have to play our absolute best football to beat a team as good as Fountain Central. You get to find out a little bit about yourself. Those are the most fun games when you are calling plays that matter in the fourth quarter, and the kids are executing at the highest level because it matters in the fourth quarter.
“They are a great program and extremely well coached so they don’t have to get up for a game to win a game,” he added. “But, I don’t know that you can put too much hype on two teams that are 7-0 and ranked in the top five in class A, and playing for a conference championship. That’s a pretty cool thing.”
The Falcons are coming off of a 39-0 win over Rockville (5-2, 4-1), which will now take on Riverton Parke (1-6, 0-5).
The Covington Trojans (0-7, 0-5) will be looking for their first win of the season Friday when they host Turkey Run (1-6, 1-4), and Seeger (3-4, 3-3) is scheduled to host West Lafayette (7-0).
Attica (4-3, 3-3) will travel across the border to Illinois on Saturday to take on Milford/Cissna Park at 3 p.m. CST. All other games are schedule to kick off at 7 p.m. EST.