Northview defensive back Matt McCluskey defends Vincennes receiver Brad Pifer tightly on this incompletion. McCluskey would add an interception later in the game.
By CAREY FOX
If there are any people out there who still don't believe in the turnaround in the Northview football program, don't include Vincennes Lincoln faithful among them.
Alice fans got an up close and personal look at what hard work and determination has done for the Knight's football players.
On Saturday afternoon, Northview's defense held the 4A No. ranked Alices to 249 total yards while intercepting Purdue-bound quarterback Curtis Painter three times in a 20-0 shutout victory.
"This is not about the coaches," said Northview coach George Gettle. "This is all about the kids. I told them all week that we're battle tested against Bloomington North and Terre Haute North. I don't think anyone thought we could beat No.1."
There are plenty of believers now.
The Knights jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead on the first possession of the game, marching 80 yards on an 11-play drive that ate up nearly seven minutes of clock. The drive displayed a potent combination of power running and timely passing, a recurring theme throughout the day. "We're getting better at running the ball and we need to control the clock," said Gettle.
Senior Jordan Garrison carried the ball four times in the drive and got the ball 10 times in the first half. Garrison and quarterback Logan Whitman would team up to move the ball down to the one-yard line where Whitman found T.J. King for a touchdown pass. The biggest play, perhaps, was a tone-setting 10-yard run by Whitman on third down-and-six from the 14-yard line.
Whitman took the snap and rolled to his left before sprinting towards the pylon at the endzone, Whitman picked up the first down, lowered his head and delivered a solid blow to a Vincennes defender. Though he came up favoring his throwing arm a bit, the play was another indicator of how important this game was to Northview fans. Whitman didn't miss a beat, throwing for the touchdown and setting the tone for the game.
"We expect that out of him," commented Gettle afterwards. "Logan (Whitman) lead the troops today."
While Whitman was leading the offense, the defense had a multitude of playmakers and leaders.
All-Conference linebackers Doug Porter and Garrison were all over the field containing Painter and limiting running back Brett Dawson to 50 yards in the first half on 13 carries and zero yards in the second half. Dawson came into the game averaging 7.2 yards per carry. The Knights held him to half of that average. "We knew we could do it," said Defensive Coordinator Dan Mikesell. "We wanted to make (Dawson) shift and juke and we were able to do that and give our linebackers time to get through the holes. I think Jordan (Garrison), (Doug) Porter and Craig Trout when he was in, played their best games today."
While the defense shut down the Alices in the first half, the offense was held to just the single score in the half, so the Knights needed an equal performance in the second half to get the victory.
They certainly got it.
Vincennes received the ball to start the second half and on the strength of a 49-yard pass from Painter to tightend Levi Salters moved to the Knight's 26-yard line, but again the defense came up big.
Austin Staley stepped in front of a Painter pass for an interception and the Knights would drive the ball 67 yards on 13 plays culminating on a huge second effort run up the middle by Whitman on fourth-and-goal from the one foot line. Craig Greenwood also made a huge catch on a third-and-11 pass from midfield that gave Northview new life and a cushion on the scoreboard.
On Vincennes next possession, the defense again forced the Alices to punt and Northview's offense took over at their own 11-yard line.
From there, Whitman brought mayhem to the throng of Northview fans along with his teammates on the sideline when on the third play of the drive he scampered around left end to the sideline, turned the corner and outraced the Vincennes Lincoln defense for a 78-yard touchdown and a 20 point lead versus the top-ranked team in the state.
From there, the defense shut the door on Vincennes and Painter with Matt McCluskey and Joran Ferris intercepting passes.
"We were able to simulate (Painter) in practice with our quarterback," said Gettle. "We wanted to contain him and we were able to do that. . .This is really right up there with my state title at Bloomington South. What a way to spend a Saturday."
The victory gives Northview a 4-2 record heading into next Friday's Western Indiana Conference game with South Vermillion (1-5 overall). The Knights are currently 3-0 in the WIC.