Times Sports Editor
As the regular season winds down, each game in the conference race looms even larger as West Vigo comes calling this evening to face the Western Indiana Conference leading Northview Knights at 7 p.m.
The Knights hold a 4-0 mark in the WIC with the Vikings sitting at 3-1 after a win over Owen Valley (25-13) last weekend and a loss to Edgewood (37-7) the week before. Northview finishes the regular season with WIC contests against the Vikings this evening and on the road at Brown County next week in the season finale before sectional play.
The Knights have dominated conference play in its four games, outscoring opponents by a 172-33 score. The Vikings have scored the second-most conference points, having outscored opponents 114-72.
West Vigo comes into tonight's game having topped the Patriots in a sloppy game that saw the Vikings fumble the ball five times and turning it over three times. They were also missing their starting center and lost starting quarterback Cody Thornton to a head injury. The squad got rolling via the running game as Chase Silcock scored off a 35-yard counter play and Sammy Velazquez scored on a three-yard run for a 12-7 West Vigo lead at halftime.
After Thornton's injury, Jacob Soliday came in and hit Silcock on a 35-yard pass play for a TD. Jacob Creasey scored on a run in the second half to provide the final margin.
West Vigo used eight different ball carriers on Friday night and ran for 230 yards against Owen Valley led by Velazquez and Silcock.
The young Vikings are hoping to continue that success at Northview's expense tonight.
The Knights couldn't take a whole lot away from last week's road trip to Clinton, a 55-0 victory over a banged up South Vermillion squad. Northview did get to use plenty of JV players in the win and came away healthy and should be well rested for tonight's tilt.
As the running game has gone, so have the Knights this season as Northview piled up 300 yards on the ground in both of the last two victories.
Though quarterback Damon Hyatt got just five carries in the South Vermillion game, he galloped for 124 yards and Jessie Miller powered for 60 yards on just four carries.
The play of both the offensive and defensive lines was dominant against the Wildcats and they have the chance to dictate play against a young West Vigo team that has gotten better as it has gained experience.
West Vigo struggled on the line in a 37-7 loss to Edgewood two weeks ago. The offense mustered just 182 total yards and gave up a safety. Eighteen times, West Vigo's rushing attempts went for two yards or fewer. The lone score came against the Mustangs' second team. Offensively, the Mustangs ran for 187 yards and passed for another 166.
The Knights have relied on senior experience up front all season as Brock Wheeler, Ethan Stewart, Bryant Pestoff and Aaron See lead the charge up front on offense.
On defense, the Knights held the Wildcats to negative 50 yards rushing last week with See, Pestoff, Kreig Wallen and Coleman Craig manning the line. The linebackers, Chance Talbot, Jed Thomas and Miller were dominant in the win as well.
Those lines should match up well against West Vigo and it's up to them to set the tone in the WIC battle between two heated rivals.
The Knights are two games away from a WIC title and have won 17 consecutive games in the conference dating back to a 2008, 14-13 loss to the Vikings on the road.