The Northview Knights will be the Homecoming opponent for the South Vermillion Wildcats on Friday night.
The Knights come in on a three game winning streak against the Wildcats, averaging nearly 45 points per game on the streak while shutting out South Vermillion in two of the games and allowing just a touchdown last season.
While the Wildcats are winless this season, they can't afford a letdown in this, the sandwich game of two big games for the Knights.
Last week Northview suffered a tough 35-21 loss to Vincennes Lincoln who rode the 263 yard rushing effort of running back Taylor Vieck to victory. Next week the Knights will host West Vigo for their own Homecoming game in a WIC battle that could decide the conference championship.
Coming into Friday's game with a 3-0 WIC record, the Knights can't afford a letdown against a Wildcats team that is still trying to recover from losing quarterback Cole Milam to injury.
Starting running back Justin Vandivier has been filling in at the position which according to Northview coach George Gettle, is a tough change for a team that was making improvements.
"With their QB (Milam) getting hurt, that's a big setback for them," commented Gettle. "Having Milam at quarterback allowed Vandivier to do his thing. They are a much improved team."
Milam had had some big early games for the Wildcats and had allowed his squad to open up their offense a bit and provide more balance for a team that has subsisted almost solely on the run in recent years. Vandivier will still get the majority of the carries for the team and provides a valuable defensive role as well.
He rushed for 116 yards on 23 carries last week against Rockville and also was tied for the team lead in tackles with 11. Teammate Brodie Mitchell also had 11 for the Wildcats who got a 41 yard TD run from Keith Monticello and had four takeaways in the game.
The Knights got a big night from quarterback Broc Miller in last year's game, throwing for 324 yards and six touchdowns. The Knights will be counting on him to provide balance in their own offense, helping to complement the running game lead by Jamie Bays.
"We strive for balance in the offense. (Friday) you'll see a lot of what we've done in the past," said Gettle. "Lately we've had some costly turnovers and penalties. The tournament is three weeks away and its time to impress upon these kids a sense of urgency."
The Knights will be looking to improve the play of their defense after giving up nearly 500 yards of offense to Vincennes.
"Our defense has been struggling," said Gettle. "We played bad last week. A lot of guys were out of position, it didn't take a Taylor Vieck to do that. Anyone in the state could of rushed on us last week. We've made some changes on defense and we're looking to see who really wants to play out there."
The Knights will get to find out how those changes have worked when they kick off against the Wildcats at 7:30 p.m. tonight.