Times Sports Editor
This time last year, the Northview Knights were looking to get back to .500 with a fifth consecutive victory against the West Vigo Vikings. When the final horn sounded on the game, the Knights were left shaking their heads as West Vigo came away with a 14-13 win in which Northview shot themselves in the foot. Penalties called back two touchdowns in the game and a missed extra point was the final margin.
The Northview Knights are anxious to erase memories of that defeat and will do so in front of its home fans in the final regular season game at Northview.
The Knights are going to face a much different Vikings squad this season, one that is very young and comes in on a four-game losing streak after a 20-12 loss to previously winless Owen Valley.
The Vikings have moved the ball fairly successfully in games, but have struggled to put the ball in the endzone at times. Quarterback Lance Garrett threw for 81 yards on 8-of-15 passing against the Patriots and was intercepted twice, but West Vigo did more damage on the ground where Dylan Aff ran 10 times for 81 yards, Cole Lydick ran for another 60 yards on 12 carries and John Burt rumbled for 44 more yards. The Vikings ran for 217 yards on 47 carries in the game. One thing to watch for is Aff behind center or perhaps getting a chance to throw the ball in trick plays. He has seen time at the quarterback position this year.
West Vigo's offense was slightly less prodigious the week before as Edgewood posted a 34-14 victory against the Vikings. West Vigo managed just 147 yards of offense.
Northview is coming off a narrow win against South Vermillion and can't afford a let down as the conference title is within reach. Against the Wildcats, junior Trent Lancaster was limited in his ability to pass the ball with just 69 yards through the air on 7-of-19 passing. He was also intercepted twice as South Vermillion concentrated on taking away the Knights air attack that has already accumulated more yards than last year with at least three games remaining. Lancaster has thrown for 1,344 yards, two more than in the 2008 season. Lancaster has also thrown for 17 touchdowns while rushing for another 843 and 12 TD's.
As a team the Knights have averaged 5.7 yards per carry on 250 carries for 1,434 yards. Lancaster has averaged 5.5 ypc. and Damon Hyatt has compiled 363 yards on just 63 carries. Drake Stevenson has exploded for 175 yards on just 25 carries. Stevenson is also third on the team with 26 receptions for 415 yards, which is nearly 16 yards per catch. Zac Niehaus leads the team with 32 catches for 444 yards and six touchdowns. Stevenson has five scores for the Knights while Jon Bradshaw has caught 27 passes for 295 yards and four TD's and has caught eight two-point conversions.
The Northview defense has been a huge spark for the offense, creating great field position via turnovers. The Knights forced 19 turnovers in 10 games last year, but has already taken 24 turnovers from their opponents. Five different Knights have more than one interception with Chance Talbot leading the way with four.
Northview's rushing defense allowed 227 yards to South Vermillion last week after allowing fewer than 73 yards in each of the previous three games. Containing the Vikings rushing attack will be a priority this week as the Knights look to improve to 7-1 this season. For the season, Northview has run for nearly 500 more yards then its opponents.
With tonight's game and a trip to 2-5 Brown County next week, the Knights need to remain focused to regain the title from Edgewood.
Kickoff tonight is at 7 p.m.