Times Sports Editor
The Northview Knights retained their title as the 'big dog' in the Western Indiana Conference on Friday night thanks to another stellar effort from their stingy defense.
The Knights celebrated Homecoming by posting their second shutout in a row and their defense also posted all the points in a 9-0 victory that keeps Northview unbeaten in the WIC.
"We knew coming in that defense would be our strength this season," commented coach George Gettle. "We executed well, had a good game plan, played physical and had all of our guys flying to the ball."
For the second straight week, the Knights also spent much of the night in the opposing team's backfield, shutting down a running back who had had a prolific game the week before.
After drilling Sullivan running back Ethan Witvoet last week, the Knights had Owen Valley back, Andrew Hershberger staring up at the night sky from his own backfield. After carrying 38 times for 240 yards against Edgewood a week ago, Northview planted him for a negative per carry average (17 rushes, 13 yards). That certainly factored into a Patriot offense that really got very little going all night.
Neither team could get a foothold in the first half and the Northview offense turned the ball over twice, once on a fumble and again on an interception. Meanwhile, Owen Valley gained just 11 yards rushing in the first half and tallied just 45 total yards. Drake Stevenson recovered a fumble for the Knights.
Freshman Trent Lancaster came in to relieve Caleb Whitman at quarterback near the end of the half and remained as the signal caller the remainder of the game.
After a scoreless first half, the second half became a battle for field position.
The second time proved to be key as Owen Valley took over at their own 12-yard line after a great punt from Kade Baker.
The junior evidently had Owen Valley right where he wanted them as, on the second play from scrimmage, Baker stepped in front of a Justin Mosier pass at the 20-yard line and took it to the house for a 7-0 lead.
"We'll take those points anyway we can get them," smiled Gettle following the Knights' 21st straight WIC victory.
The Patriots responded by putting together one of their best drives of the game, moving the ball from their own 15-yard line following a muffed kickoff reception. Mosier found Shane Campbell for a 12-yard gain and Jeff Wilson for a nine-yard catch to get Owen Valley to the 43-yard line. From there however, the Knights defense responded by forcing back-to-back incompletions and another Owen Valley punt.
Norrthview marched from their own 35-yard line to the Patriots' 22-yard line with Nathan Williams running for gains of six, seven and eight yards and Lancaster scampered for a pair of five-yard gains. But the drive would come to a halt on a fumbled handoff to return the ball to the Patriots on their own 22-yard line.
That play turned out to be a bit of a blessing in disguise as it set up Northview's clinching score.
Northview's defense stuffed Warner on a running play for a two yard loss and Hershberger for another loss to set up a third-and-13 situation.
The Patriots would catch a break on a surprising pass interference call that looked like a clean pass breakup by Nick Lancaster. But the call gave Owen Valley a first down on the 28-yard line.
Owen Valley picked up minimal yardage on two runs the first two plays. On the next snap, Justin Mosier threw a screen pass to Nick Mosier who was caught in the backfield and attempted an illegal forward pass to avoid the loss.
Instead of forcing fourth down by declining the penalty, Gettle decided to accept a illegal block below the waist flag on the Patriots to push Owen Valley back to the 13-yard line.
With the Patriots facing a third-and-25 situation, defensive coordinator Dan Mikesell unleashed the hounds on Owen Valley. With Mosier rolling to his right, Stevenson blitzed from the right corner and chased down the Patriots' QB in the endzone for a safety.
"That was one of those tough coaching calls," said Gettle of accepting the penalty. "We decided to back them up and Drake made a nice place. It was a good defensive play all the way around."
The sack gave the Knights a 9-0 lead with less than five minutes remaining and their defense didn't let up when the Patriots took over as Kyle McCoy's pass interception cemented the shutout.
The Knights will host Vincennes Lincoln Friday at 7 p.m.
Northview 9, Owen Valley 0
Nv -- Kade Baker 20-yard interception return (Crooks kick), 4:35
Nv -- Drake Stevenson sacks Justin Mosier for a safety, 4:52
Rushing -- Northview: Timm 14-28, Whitman 3-(-9), Baker 3-17, Williams 7-48, N.Lancaster 10-40, T.Lancaster 6-(-2); Owen Valley: A.Hershberger 17-13, J.Mosier 5-(-6), Shedd 4-21, Warner 1-(-2)
Passing -- Northview: Whitman 1-6 -2 yards, 1 Int.., T.Lancaster 0-0 0 yards; Owen Valley: J.Mosier 14-28 75 yards, 2 Int.
Receiving -- Northview: Timm 1-(-2); Owen Valley: Warner 3-21, Campbell 5-40, A.Herberger 2-1, Wilson 2-14, N.Mosier 2-2.