Times Sports Editor
The annual Terre Haute North vs. Northview football game kicks off this evening with two football teams looking to solidify their identities in 2011.
Odds are good that the rushing game will be a pivotal point of tonight's 7 p.m. kick-off as both squads employ inexperienced quarterbacks.
The Patriots have sophomore Chris Barrett behind center and he has taken some lumps in both games after having completed just two-of-12 attempts for 10 yards against the Braves. In the Castle game, Barrett was 10-of-24 for 77 yards and an interception as he made his first start.
The Knights' Dallas King has had a measure of success in his first year in the starting role, including a very efficient 8-of-9 passing night against the Mustangs that led to 156 yards through the air. All told, King has completed 19-of-28 passes with two interceptions and one touchdown.
However, many eyes will be on the rushing game as Miller comes in with a combined 425 yards on just 27 carries, which stacks up to a remarkable 15.7 yards per carry average. The Knights also boast senior Damon Hyatt, who has caught 10 passes this season for 96 yards while rushing for 58 yards and three TD's.
North may not have quite the variety of weapons that it has had in the past, but Northview will still have to be prepared for the speed of Brother Scank out of the backfield. He hasn't broken out yet this season with just 99 yards on 29 carries (3.4 ypc.), but he teams up with Kai Stratten (24 carries for 107 yards) and Lee Davis (10 carries for 37 yards) to provide some depth.
The Knights' defense will have to get off to a quick start as both Edgewood and Broad Ripple have broken big plays early in the first two games. However, the Knights put a halt to the Mustangs' offense after the first quarter on the way to a 63-12 victory.
Both teams will be looking to get a foothold early to build some confidence against a rival. The Knights haven't beaten the Patriots since the 2006 season, but emotions are typically high.
On a positive note for Northview is the fact that the team won't have to see running back Daniel Gabbard in the backfield as he's moved on to play at Indiana State. Gabbard was responsible for nine touchdowns in his final three games against the Knights while rushing for nearly 300 yards. Last season Gabbard ran 22 times for 208 yards and three scores in the Patriots' 40-14 victory.
Fans attending tonight's game are encouraged to bring non-perishable food cans to the tailgate. Each pound of food equals one Pepsi Refresh point and each dollar donated equals five points in the Channel 10 -- Friday Night Football Drive. The school that has the most Pepsi points will claim $3,000. All food will supply local food banks.