-Knights and Vikings battle for chance at WIC crown-
There's nothing like the brewing West Vigo/Northview football rivalry. The past several seasons the games have all had that fever pitch, high intensity that comes from two highly competitive teams and tonight should be no different.
Both squads know that a win in the RCA Dome tonight and you can control your own destiny in regards to a conference title. For West Vigo, they are the defending champions and have sat on that perch for three years. For Northview, they can almost taste the school's first Western Indiana Conference football crown and a shiny new addition for the school's trophy case.
Third year coach George Gettle certainly understands the importance of this game and has kept his players from losing focus after learning that the Vikings were shutout by Owen Valley, 21-0, last weekend.
"We're staying focused," commented Gettle. "We've told the kids to not get caught up in looking at scores. The bottom line is we've had a great week of practice."
That week of practice has included a few new wrinkles as the Knights traveled to Bloomington on Wednesday to practice in Indiana University's indoor practice facility, the Mellencamp Center. "(Practicing indoors) is something we did when I was at (Bloomington) South," said Gettle. "It gives you more exposure to Astroturf and allows you to work on the different depth perception you get as opposed to playing outside. We're fortunate that they let us use the facility. I think it'll help us out."
Gettle knows from experience after winning a state championship as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of the Bloomington South Cougars in 1998.
So while his players might not have much experience in the Dome, Gettle knows what is in store for a squad that enters the contest at 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the WIC.
"We know we're going to get West Vigo's best effort. The kids are expecting a big football game. We feel that if we take care of our job then we'll be okay," Gettle commented.
The Vikings are led by senior Shawn Sullivan who has proven that he's one of the area's most dangerous running backs. Though he's recovering from an ankle injury that kept him out of virtually two games, Gettle expects he'll be a big threat.
"We expect to see a lot of their running game. They've got the Sullivan kid who is just dynamite. They are going to want to set the tempo," noted Gettle.
Sullivan has averaged over 101 yards per game and scored seven touchdowns for the Vikings while picking up nearly eight yards per carry. The Vikings will also have Robbie Hoole who has also proven to be an elusive runner in the backfield with 646 yards and eight scores.
The Knights will counter with their own productive back in Zach Godsey who has 849 yards this year with four touchdowns. However, don't discount Northview's passing game as sophomore quarterback Broc Miller proved last Friday night with nearly 350 yards passing.
Receiver T.J. King came alive in that game with 12 catches for 149 yards and four touchdowns. All-State wide receiver Michael Landry caught five balls in the game and has a knack for playing even bigger in the big games.
No one has to be reminded of the importance of the game with the bright lights of the RCA Dome and the teams playing in the primetime slot of the evening at 7:15. With a conference title at stake and a great rivalry between the squads, tonight's game should certainly be worth the price of admission.
"These kids want to be WIC champs," said Gettle. "I think we're going to see a heck of a game."