That won’t happen.
What will happen is when the clash ends late Friday night in Warsaw one of them will at least have earned a share of the league championship.
Warsaw and Concord, both sporting identical 6-2 overall and 5-1 NLC records, clash at Fisher Field in the regular-season finale at 7:30 p.m. Plymouth, which hosts NorthWood Friday night, is also 5-1 in league play.
Concord has won the last two NLC championships and is trying to win three in a row for the first time in program history. Warsaw is looking to claim its first league title since 2001.
A lot at stake?
“This is the biggest game around here in a long time,” said a charged-up Jensen Wednesday. “Our kids have worked hard to put themselves in position to play for a championship. This is what you work for. It’s what high school sports should be about.”
Dawson, now in his 24th year at Concord, is ready to go too for the marquee matchup.
“Our kids are motivated and it’s a big game for both teams,” Dawson said. “We’ve never won three NLC championships in a row and Warsaw is trying for their first since 2001. This is why you life the weights and do all that other stuff in the offseason. To play for a championship.”
Tippecanoe Valley has also plenty to play for Friday night as the Vikings host Whitko. Coach Jeff Shriver’s talented team is tied atop the Three Rivers Conference standings with Rochester and North Miami at 5-1. With a win, the Vikings (who shared the league title with Rochester in 2011) earn a share of the TRC championship. Rochester plays at North Miami Friday night.
Wawasee tries to take some momentum into postseason play. The Warriors shoot for a third win in a row and a winning record as they host NLC foe Goshen in Syracuse.
Triton boards the bus for a trip into Elkhart County to face Class 3-A juggernaut Jimtown in a Northern State Conference contest. The No. 1 Jimmies sit at 8-0.
First-round sectional play kicks-off next Friday (Oct. 19). Area games will have Penn at Warsaw in Class 5-A, Wawasee at DeKalb in 4-A, Tippecanoe Valley at West Noble and Garrett at Whitko in 3-A and Triton at Adams Central in 1-A.
But, the postseason can wait for now.
Here’s a quick look at area regular-season finales Friday night.
Concord (6-2, 5-1) at Warsaw (6-2, 5-1), 7:30 p.m.
Both teams will look to impose their wills on each other in matchup of contrasting styles.
Warsaw wants to run the ball, run the ball and then run the ball some more to control the clock. Star junior Tristan McClone ranks among the state’s leading rushers with 1,494 yards on 277 carries with 13 touchdowns. He ran for a single-game school record 322 yards on 35 carries in a 35-21 NLC win at Northridge on Sept. 14 with a record tying five touchdowns. McClone, who has topped the 200-yard mark in three games this season, is closing in on the school single-season rushing record of 1,652 yards set by Rod Wildman in 1972.
Concord wants to use its speed and athleticism to pile up the points. The Minutemen have scored over 40 points four times this season. Take away a 48-0 loss to Jimtown three weeks ago and 28 points in two games is the lowest scoring output of the year for Concord.
Warsaw’s defense, led by Zach Shepler and Gabe Furnivall, has allowed a total of just 52 points in its six NLC games with two shutouts. The Tiger defense was outstanding a week ago as Warsaw rallied from a 10-0 deficit to beat NorthWood 17-10 in overtime in Nappanee.
“We want to do what we do with fire and intensity,” Jensen said. “We want the game played at our speed. We want to manage the clock and manage the field position. We can’t turn it over and we can’t waste the opportunities we get.
“Concord is really good. They have speed and athletes and are huge up front. We have to be physical and in the right spots on defense. We have to control the tempo of the game.”
Dawson says it’s not hard to see on tape what Warsaw will do.
“They don’t hide anything,” said Dawson of the Tigers offensive approach. “They will run McClone 35 times. We have to get them off the field and seize every opportunity we have. I’ll be happy to get out of there with a one-point win. All the rest is just extra to me.”
Both teams have changed quarterbacks of late. Warsaw sophomore Jake Mangas will make his second start Friday after starter Austin Head was injured versus Wawasee two weeks ago. Junior Trevor Wilmore has replaced senior Ryan McKibben for Concord. Wilmore, a dual threat, ran for 177 yards and was 14-20 passing for 251 yards in a 56-28 win at Northridge last week.
Concord bounced back last week by roughing up the Raiders in Middlebury. The explosive win came after back-to-back losses to Jimtown (48-0) and Plymouth (31-28). The Minutemen boast two Division I recruits in tailback/linebacker DuWhan Alford, who will play football at Eastern Michigan, and 6-6 tight end/defensive end Franko House, who has committed to play basketball at Ball State. Alford scored threw touchdowns last week in the rout of Northridge.
“This is just exciting,” said Jensen, whose team lost 28-6 at Concord a year ago. “We’ve had a good week of practice and I’m very pleased with where we’re at going into Friday night.”
Whitko (3-5, 3-3) at Tippecanoe Valley (6-2, 5-1), 7 p.m.
Motivation should not be a problem for the Vikings Friday night.
Valley has a chance to claim the program’s first back-to-back TRC titles since 1993-94. The Vikings also remember last year’s trip to South Whitley that saw Whitko post a 24-15 win.
“We should realize there’s an awful lot at stake Friday night,” said Valley coach Jeff Shriver. “We can still win the TRC again and Whitko made us share it last year by beating us. We should have a sense of urgency.”
Shriver says it’s all about finishing after leaving points on the field in a 12-7 TRC loss at North Miami last week.
“In both our losses this year, we have not finished,” Shriver said. “I want to see us finish everything Friday night, finish what we start. Finish blocks, finish runs, finish tackles. Finish strong and win the TRC.”
Valley boasts an explosive offense, led by the likes of quarterback Ben Shriver, along with playmakers Tanner Andrews and Nolan Sponseller. Whitko counters with a strong ground game featuring sophomores Devin Gerding and Tanner Hughes.
“Whitko is very dangerous,” said Shriver. “They run the ball hard and have a two-headed monster back there with Gerding and Hughes.”
Valley will be without two-way linemen Nick Gamble for at least this week and probably next week too, according to Shriver. The senior suffered a mild concussion late in last week’s game and was taken to a local hospital by ambulance.
“Nick is doing fine, feeling pretty good and will be okay,” said Shriver. “But, he’s out this week and I’m 99 percent sure next week as well.”
Whitko has beaten Valley in three of their last four meetings.
“This is a big game for both teams,” said Whitko coach Wayne Swender. “It’s an intense, fun rivalry. They have a lot to play for in the TRC and we want to build momentum for the sectional.
“They are a good team with a lot of weapons. The big key for us is to sustain drives and keep them off the field. We want to play four consistent, good quarters of football and hope to play spoiler again.”
Goshen (2-6, 2-4) at Wawasee (4-4, 3-3), 7:30 p.m.
The Warriors try to add to its two-game winning streak by welcoming in the struggling Redskins.
Goshen, which lost 23-12 to Wawasee a year ago, is averaging just 8.8 points-per-game. The Redskins lost 28-16 to Plymouth last week.
Wawasee, despite a host of injuries, has persevered this fall. The Warriors have evened their season mark the past two weeks with NLC wins over rival Warsaw and at Elkhart Memorial last week.
The connection of sophomore quarterback Gage Reinhard to classmate and standout receiver Clayton Cook, along with the play of tailback Derrick Sorensen, continues to be a major offensive weapon for coach Tom Wogomon’s Wawasee squad.
Sophomore Gabe Rhodes scored both Warrior touchdowns last week in a 14-9 NLC victory at winless Elkhart Memorial. The Wawasee defense came up big for the second straight week in the win by coming up with three takeaways.
Triton (1-7, 1-5) at Jimtown (8-0, 6-0), 7:30 p.m.
Coach Rodney Younis will take the positive approach to trying to upset one of the state’s best teams.
“This is a great opportunity for our kids to play the No. 1 team in the state,” said the Triton coach. “We just need to go there and play to the best of our abilities and focus on what we can control.”
The Jimmies have outscored their eight opponents 305-25 this season. Jimtown beat Triton 53-0 in Bourbon a year ago.
“We need to eliminate the turnovers (which hurt us last week in a loss to Knox), stay healthy and work on the things we need to for the sectional,” concluded Younis.