High school football teams will definitely be looking to gain some much needed momentum for postseason play down the stretch.
The regular season has just two weeks left and much is still to be decided for Whitko.
The Wildcats can earn at least a share of the Three Rivers Conference championship Friday night with a league win at Rochester. The two teams, which shared the TRC title a year ago, are both 5-0 atop the league standings.
Warsaw will look to bounce back after losing to rival Wawasee last week. The Warriors will look to keep it going with an NLC game at struggling Elkhart Memorial.
Both Tippecanoe Valley and Triton, who each have one win on the season, have very winnable games.
The pairings for the state tournament, including first-round sectional matchup on Oct. 24, will be drawn by the IHSAA on Sunday night at 7 p.m.
Warsaw (4-3, 3-2) at NorthWood (4-3, 2-3), 7:30 p.m.
The Tigers are looking for momentum and consistency this week.
“We are out of the race for the NLC, so everything now is about getting momentum and getting ready for the playoffs,” said Warsaw coach Phil Jensen.
Warsaw missed out on several golden opportunities to score points last week in losing 21-10 at Wawasee on a cold, windy and rainy night.
“Jake (quarterback Jake Mangas) played a great game, especially in the first half,” Jensen said of the loss to the Warriors. “We just did not make the play we needed to. We have to do a better job scoring points.”
NorthWood is coming off a 2-0 win over Elkhart Memorial under new coach Nate Andrews.
“NorthWood is balanced, they can run the ball and have good athletes and enthusiasm with a new coach,” remarked Jensen. “We just have to score when we have the chances and not give up the big play to them.”
Warsaw beat NorthWood 28-7 a year ago.
Wawasee (4-3, 2-3) at Elkhart Memorial (1-6, 1-4), 7:30 p.m.
The Warriors look to make it two wins in a row.
“We’ve had good practices this week, enthusiastic and focused,” said Wawasee coach John Ekovich. “Last week’s win was huge for our mental side and our confidence.”
Wawasee meets a Memorial team, ranked last in the league in scoring in NLC play at just over eight points per conference contest. The Crimson Chargers’ lone win this fall was a 14-13 NLC decision over winless Goshen.
“Memorial’s record is not indicative of the team they have,” said Ekovich. “They are athletic. We have to play hard and make sure we focus on not allowing the big play. We have to stop the run, win the turnover battle and hit harder than they do.”
Gage Reinhard, who had a pair of key interceptions last week, will play for Wawasee. The senior quarterback/safety separated his throwing shoulder versus Warsaw.
Wawasee topped Memorial 28-20 last year.
Whitko (5-2, 5-0) at Rochester (6-1, 5-0), 7 p.m.
Josh Mohr does not plan to change anything this week.
Why would he?
The Wildcats take a five-game winning streak to Rochester to face off for a title.
“Our kids understand how big a game this is and we are going to do what we do,” said Whitko coach Mohr. “We just need to go out and play hard for 48 minutes and have fun with it. I expect our kids to rise to the occasion.
“To win the TRC again would be huge. It takes focus week in and week out to win it. It’s one of our big goals.”
Rochester, which beat the Wildcats 26-9 last year to share the TRC title, have only lost to undefeated Plymouth (38-35) this fall.
“They are who they are and do what they do,” said Mohr of the Zebras. “They are physical and sound. We have to take care of the ball, be in an attack mind set and limit our mistakes.”
Tippecanoe Valley (1-6, 1-4) at North Miami (0-7, 0-5), 7 p.m.
The Vikings need to seize the opportunity this Friday night.
“This is an opportunity for us to get a win, but it’s not an automatic and we need to go out and earn it,” said Valley coach Scott Bibler.
North Miami has lost 13 straight games, including 28-0 to Whitko last week.
Valley was hurt by turnovers in a 35-8 home loss to Rochester last week.
“We continue to try and get confidence, a belief and a toughness,” said Bibler. “We play well at times, but just can’t sustain it. We just can’t have the turnovers we had last week.
“I just want us to go hard for four quarters Friday night, show our toughness and eliminate the mistakes.”
Valley beat North Miami 45-13 in 2013.
Knox (1-6, 1-4) at Triton (1-6, 0-5), 7:30 p.m.
It’s an important game for the Trojans.
Triton looks to close out the home schedule with a win against Knox.
“It’s very important that we play a solid game this week,” said Triton coach John Johns. “We talked on Monday about creating momentum. This is an important night for our seniors and they will be ready to go.
“This is a team we should compete with and I like the matchup for us. But, we know that Knox is a dangerous team and we can’t take anyone lightly.”
Triton lost 31-0 at LaVille and Knox dropped a 35-0 final to Bremen in NSC action last week.
“We have to be assignment sound this week, that’s the most important thing,” Johns said.
Knox edged Triton 14-13 last season.