You might call tonight's game a bit of a measuring stick for both Northview and Vincennes. The teams have met seven times since 2000, last year's game was canceled due to an electrical storm at Vincennes. The Alices have perennially been a tough customer in Class 4A and a good test of where Northview is during the season. The Alices lead the series 5-2 but Northview has won two of the last three meetings, including a shutout win during, current Purdue University quarterback, Curtis Painter's senior season.
Vincennes is having a difficult year this season and are sitting at 1-4 under first-year head coach Jon Heiden. But things appear to be on the upswing for the Alices.
They took area power Jasper to double-overtime before eventually losing a 27-21 decision and were leading by 17 points against Mount Vernon before blowing the lead in a loss. Against Jasper (4-1 overall), Vincennes held them to just one second half first down and to 44 yards.
Much of Vincennes' resurgence can be credited to the emergence of junior quarterback Doug Roberts who threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came after halftime.
Northview hasn't faced a team all season that has the ability to air it out like the Alices. Roberts hit six different receivers in last week's loss and completed a career-high 19 passes. On the plus-side for the Knights is the fact that Roberts was also picked off three times in the Jasper game.
Vincennes' leading receivers include senior wideouts Jared Blue and Brad Crismore who could be a handful for the Knights.
Blue has 29 catches this season and Crismore, who missed one game due to a shoulder injury, has 13 so far.
Roberts meanwhile has thrown for 722 yards while completing 58-of-108 passes.
The running game struggled mightily against the Wildcats however, gaining just 44 yards on 29 carries by backs Kale Barmes, Bryce Small, Curtis Bouchie and Justin Duncan.
For the Knights, Caleb Whitman and Trent Lancaster each saw time behind center last week.
Whitman struggled in completing just one of six passes against Owen Valley before being removed following a fumble in the first half. Lancaster came in to lead the offense but didn't attempt a pass in the 9-0 win.
The Northview offense never did really get untracked during the game, gaining just 131 yards overall. But what has led the Knights over the course of the last eight quarters is the defense that hasn't allowed a point. In fact, Northview hasn't allowed a point in 11 of the last 12 quarters.
The Knights has had some intermittent trouble with some team's passing games so keeping Roberts under wraps may just be the key to adding to a modest two-game winning streak. You can also bet that the Alices have designs on getting their own season back on a positive note as well. The long ride back to Vincennes will be even longer if the Knights can hang another 'L' on the Alices.
Kickoff tonight is at 7:30 p.m.