Fresh off their first victory of the season, a convincing 41-12 romp over visiting Edgewood, the Knights will host Vigo County rival Terre Haute North on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
Despite the fact that the contest is not a Western Indiana Conference game, coach George Gettle believes this game is special for a variety of reasons.
"We're ready to line up and play on Friday. Even though this isn't a WIC game it's still important. I think it's more a matter of pride."
The Knights haven't really had much reason to smile about their games versus the Patriots lately.
Northview hasn't defeated North since the 1996 season when they won 12-6. In fact, the Knights have allowed Terre Haute North to score over 50 points the last three seasons. But last season was a little bit different.
When you consider that Northview lost 51-32 to the Patriots you must realize that for the first four minutes of the game, North's field was a personal house of horrors for the Knights.
On the first play from scrimmage last year North running back Jeremy Brown rambled 38-yards for the score and a 7-0 lead. On the ensuing kickoff a fumble by the Knights gave Brown another chance to score, this time on a 43-yard run just 3:45 into the game. Then a Logan Whitman pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown at the 7:59 mark of the first quarter. Just that fast the Knights were behind 20-0.
From then on, the Knights outscored Terre Haute North 32-31 as Whitman threw for 260 yards and five touchdowns and returning receivers T.J. King and Craig Greenwood combined for seven catches and 206 yards along with three touchdowns. Anthony Megali also caught another TD pass.
This year's edition will return many of the same participants for the Knights, but some new and old foes for the Patriots.
Brown (5'11, 190) returns at tailback for North hoping to repeat his 169 yard performance from last year. Talented receiver Michael Russell (6'2, 175) is back after a three catch game vs. Northview last year and the Patriots also return a massive front line on both sides of the ball.
Terre Haute North will bring some sizable linemen into Friday's game as three players top 6' and 300 pounds. However, guard Jared Lange (6', 235) will be a key along with Jarred Kleptz (6', 243) who will see time at guard and defensive end.
"They're pretty big across the front," said Gettle. "I thought last year when they graduated a lot of their big guys that we'd be okay, but they just seemed to reload."
While North does feature a variety of weapons, according to Gettle, his Knights are ready to go on Friday night. "Even though we've had a lot of rain this week, we've had some good practices. The kids look loose which generally means they are comfortable and I think that is how they are feeling."
And for good reason, the Knights rang up 441 yards of offense versus Edgewood, 267 yards rushing topped by Whitman who tallied 155 on the ground. Cory Grigsby added another 53.
The ground game will be all-important for the Knights who would like to keep North's offense off the field as much as possible. "We definitely need to run to control the clock," commented Gettle. "The running game will be very important."
Brown has run for a total of 140 yards in two games and fullback Chase Bauer (5'11, 180) has another 94, each have three touchdowns. Containing those two along with holding on the ball will likely decide the outcome of Friday's game. "We had so many missed tackles last year. I think this game will come down to who is tackling the best."
Northview will need a big game from their offense who will have to control the clock to a degree with their running game and make North earn their scores off drives rather than big play strikes. The Knights have proven that they are no longer outmatched versus North, but still have to prove that they can get the done on the scoreboard. Friday could be the night.