Tonight's battle with visiting Terre Haute North will be the third Class 5A team the Knights have seen when you include the scrimmage with Terre Haute South. Northview faced Castle in the week one opener and led at halftime before falling to the Knights.
That increased schedule strength might make for a long night early in the season when you're trying to break in a wealth of inexperienced players, but Northview coach George Gettle believes that it will be of benefit in the postseason.
"Our goal is to be playing our best football in week 10. What I do like right now is that this is our third 5A team we've seen and I'm comfortable with how we've been tested."
Some of the inexperience has shown in this year's opening weeks as Northview breaks in a new quarterback, some new receivers and a handful of lineman as well. According to Gettle, the Knights haven't done anything different in practice to prepare for North this week.
"We haven't done anything special, we're just working on our blocking schemes, our backs running hard and trying to be good at what we do."
Terre Haute North might be playing with a little more emphasis than usual after a loss to rival Terre Haute South last weekend that certainly will be stuck under their skin. Even more of a point in practice this week at North High School might be the fact that the Knights beat the Patriots on their home field last season.
The Braves were effective in limiting North's offense last week with a set of lineman that had great size according to Gettle.
"South matched up well with the size of their line. We don't have the size that they do man-for-man, but how we do up front will be a tell tale of this game."
As with any football game, limiting, if not eliminating turnovers will be a big component of both team's success this evening.
With points at a premium so far this season for the Knights, taking care of the football will be even more important for Northview if they are to have a successful result tonight.
"With as much inexperience as we have (on the team), having zero turnovers this year, I would have never dreamed of that," said Gettle. "That's a big positive. Probably 80 percent of the time, the team that has fewer turnovers wins the game. If we can do that we'll be in the game. We have to protect the ball."
In charge of running the offense, Caleb Whitman will be under center and perhaps showed glimpses of the future when he took charge during the game-winning drive against Edgewood last week.
Whitman rambled for a 34-yard run on second down and followed by a seven-yard run, a fourth down conversion run and a 13-yard touchdown jaunt to give Northview a 14-9 victory. He also completed more than half of his passes and the Knights had no turnovers for the second week.
Not to be lost was the backfield efforts from Wes Sorlie who averaged more than four yards per carry and Jered Timm who had 40 yards rushing as well.
"We don't have the super speed that we've had in the past that helped hide mistakes," said Gettle during Thursday's practice. "Last year we could afford to get into third-and-10 and then go 60 yards for a touchdown. We don't have that big play capability this year."
The Patriots are breaking in a new quarterback as well after the graduation of a three-year starter.
Senior John Garvin takes over and threw for 163 yards and three touchdowns in a week one opening victory against Evansville Harrison.
"I think (Garvin) has done a nice job starting in his first-year," assessed Gettle. "I think he's taken to the position and he's the key to their offense."
Another key is running back David White who ran for 77 yards in that first contest, but was mostly stymied by Terre Haute South's defense.
Limiting North's big play potential is first on the Knights to-do list this evening. Containing the Patriots' receivers is important as well considering Garvin found running back Ben King and Frank Willis for touchdowns as well. Brandon Dorsettt also caught five passes in the game and Scott Weatherford hauled in a 34-yard reception as well.
Ultimately, executing the game plan will be the most important factor for the Knights who hope to start a winning streak that will carry into the rest of their Western Indiana Conference schedule.
"Ultimately we have to have balance (on offense)," mentioned Gettle. "Against Castle, the game plan was to keep the pressure on our kids low and then against Edgewood we opened the play book up a little more as the kids got comfortable. And we plan on continuing to add to the playbook."
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Northview High School this evening.