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Quarterbacks a focus in Friday's sectional battle

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Northview senior Trent Lancaster is a four-year starter for the Knights and has piled up nearly 3,000 yards of total offense this year.

Times Sports Editor

As the football postseason continues around the state on Friday night, there won't be many quarterback match-ups that rival the one that will take place at Northview High School as Evansville F.J. Reitz takes on the Knights for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

The Knights feature a four-year starter behind center in 6'1, 185 lb. quarterback, Trent Lancaster and the Panthers' offense is run by another talented signal caller in 6'2, 186 lb. senior, Matt McIntosh.

Both quarterbacks have had special careers as McIntosh led Reitz to an unbeaten season and a Class 4A state championship in 2009 and garnered Junior All-State honors along with wide receiver Cuda Dimmett.

Lancaster was recognized for his 2009 efforts as well, earning honorable mention honors to the Class 4A All-State team along with teammate, Zac Niehaus.

Northview head coach George Gettle has had experience coaching all-state quarterbacks as he was offensive coordinator at Bloomington South as Rex Grossman (1998), Steve Sutherland (1999) and Kevin Prall (2000-01) each earned all-state honors.

Both Lancaster and McIntosh are as much a threat to run as throw the ball, which makes the pair a significant threat for opposing defenses. Northview head football coach, George Gettle, commented on McIntosh's ability before Wednesday's practice.

"When you talk about (Matt) McIntosh, I think you are talking about a Mr. Football candidate just like his brother (Paul McIntosh) was in 2007. He's very dynamic, he's elusive, he's a quick kid and he looks to tuck and run the ball as much as throw it," Gettle said.

McIntosh has proven very successful in running the ball the last two seasons as he has rushed for 873 yards this year and has averaged 8.6 yards per carry. He's also scored 10 touchdowns on the ground.

McIntosh, a Northern Illinois recruit, has thrown for 1,370 yards while completing 85-of-132 passes with 20 touchdowns and just four interceptions this season.

"When he does throw it, he's awfully accurate and he has a very good arm," Gettle said of McIntosh. "He poses all sorts of problems from a defensive standpoint. He's an electric football player that most people haven't had success at containing. Obviously when you're talking about Evansville (F.J.) Reitz the last few years, slowing down the quarterback is a key to success."

In leading Reitz to a 23-9 state title win over Lowell last year, McIntosh ran for nearly 1,500 yards and 19 TD while throwing for 2,250 yards and 26 TD. In the title game he threw for 204 yards while running for another 77 yards.

What makes both quarterbacks so valuable to their respective teams is their leadership and their experience in running the offense. Gettle was quick to point out what Lancaster means to the Knights' offense.

"I think any time you can have an experienced quarterback in an offense I think it's an advantage, maybe not so much against Reitz because they have the same thing. When you take Trent (Lancaster), Zac (Niehaus) and Andrew (Butts) and some of the kids that have played a lot of snaps at Northview it helps," Gettle said.

Lancaster has thrown the ball more this season than in past campaigns, but that is only because of the talent and experience around him, which includes not on the receiving corp, but also his linemen. That combination has led Lancaster to seventh in the state in passing yardage through 10 games with an average of 232 per game to go with 32 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He has compiled more than 2,300 yards passing along with 620 rushing yards and eight scores.

Lancaster has thrown for more than 250 yards in a game, five times this year with a high of 278 against potential sectional foe, Owen Valley.

In some of the Knights' biggest games, Lancaster has risen to the occasion.

In a battle against unbeaten Indianapolis Brebeuf on Sept. 24, Lancaster threw for 229 yards and in a game that would decide the Western Indiana Conference title, Lancaster went to the air for 173 yards and two scores while rushing 20 times for 67 yards and another TD. Last week in the sectional opener against Boonville, he threw for three touchdowns and 268 yards in the Knights' first postseason win since 2004.

Lancaster, as well as the rest of the senior class' experience over the course of their careers is pivotal heading into a game of this caliber according to Gettle.

"They've played in big games and they've worked with each other for four years," Gettle said. "Their timing is impeccable and their understanding of one another's abilities and lack thereof. Trent's a big key to the game for (Northview) from an offensive standpoint and it has been for the last three or four years as is all the seniors."

There will be plenty of eyes on the top-ranked Panthers match-up with the Knights and Gettle hasn't hesitated in letting the seniors know the value of playing at home in front of a big crowd.

"It's (the seniors) time to shine, we get to play a second round sectional game at home, we're looking for a big crowd, we're looking for a lot of support," Gettle said. "This is why we coach and this is why they play. When you get this chance, you only get one shot at it and that's all we're looking for is that one shot."