Times Sports Editor
The task at hand for the Northview football team this week is to extend its winning streak to two and gain a conference victory over a foe that will be defending its home turf.
The Knights roll down State Road 46 to Spencer to take on Owen Valley in a game both teams have to have to remain in the WIC race.
After collapsing late in a game they have to feel like they could have won, Owen Valley won't likely be in a very hospitable mood when the Knights come calling.
Last week's contests left decidedly different memories for each squad.
Northview piled up the big plays on both sides of the ball to gain a 63-19 win over Sullivan. In that game, the Knights had four scoring plays of more than 48 yards and had nearly 300 yards of rushing offense.
The victory has already had a direct effect on the Northview players according to coach George Gettle.
"When you work so hard in the offseason over the summer, the whole pretense is to win football games," said Gettle. "When you get to sing the (school fight) song after a game, everything is a little bit sweeter. We need to build off the positives. The kids are definitely a little more fired up this week."
The Patriots were trailing by a point late in the third quarter before the Mustangs blew up for 28 points over a seven-minute span to win 49-26 and gain a Homecoming victory.
Tonight, both teams arrive with 1-1 WIC records for a 7:30 kickoff.
Task number one for the Knights will be to limit the damage by the Patriots senior running back, Andrew Hershberger.
The workhorse of the Patriots' offense, Hershberger carried the ball 29 times for 162 yards against Edgewood. He's also piled up six touchdowns after recovering from a broken jaw to begin the season.
The Patriots aren't a big threat to air it out, which plays into the Knights' hands if they can shut down Owen Valley's ground game.
"They are a typical Owen Valley team that likes to run first and pass second," said Gettle. "They have a tailback who has been starting for them for three years. He's a dangerous runner who has a good motor. He really churns his legs so you have to make sure he's wrapped up because he can break tackles.
"Our defense is definitely focused on stopping the running game," Gettle continued. "We've got to get them into second and third-and-long situations."
When that happens, the Patriots have a pair of quarterbacks who have seen time this year.
Justin Mosier and Jeff Wilson each saw time under center against the Mustangs.
Wilson has attempted 42 passes this year, completing just 14 overall with three interceptions and one touchdown. He has also rushed 32 times for 138 yards.
When Owen Valley puts the pigskin in the air, the most likely option has been Brandt Warner, a former conference track champion.
His speed is his biggest weapon and Warner caught four passes last week for 80 yards. He's also caught both of the Patriots' touchdown passes.
Gettle and the Knights are plenty aware of Owen Valley's playmakers and are gearing up to hold the Patriots at bay.
"We've got to read our keys in the secondary and play sound defense," said Gettle. "We've got to worry about our own jobs and not someone else's. Our secondary hasn't been too bad, we've had one or two interceptions per game. We've got some young guys back there who are gaining more confidence."
The Knights also had the opportunity to play with an early lead, which helped the team according to Gettle.
"I think returning the punt for a touchdown right off the bat helped (against Sullivan)," said Gettle. "Our offense has been playing under a lot of pressure this season and getting an early lead gave us a little more room for error."
The running game was pivotal and explosive against the Arrows as Wes Sorlie carried for 120-yards and three scores on just seven carries. Sophomore Sean Hauser carried six times for 73 yards and Trent Lancaster added another 51 yards on 11 carries.
"Our running game has been getting better each week from a purely statistical standpoint," mentioned Gettle. "The proof is in the numbers. But we'll have to keep improving and make the line of scrimmage our own."
Controlling the line of scrimmage could be a pivotal point of emphasis said Gettle.
"They are a little young (Owen Valley's line)," commented Gettle. "But they have good size. Hopefully our senior experience will make a difference."
The battle to remain close in the WIC battle kicks off at 7:30 p.m. this evening.