BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
North Judson (3-1, 2-1 Hoosier North) at Winamac (1-1, 0-1), 7:30 p.m.
Winamac committed five turnovers in a 17-6 loss to LaVille last week. Junior quarterback Russell Compton threw four interceptions.
“Too much pressure,” Winamac coach John Hendryx said. “I don’t put all those on Russell. Some of them were pressure-caused, and they’re pretty athletic and get on the back end. And then, he’s got to do a better job of if you’re going to make throws under pressure, you just can’t throw balls up. Sometimes a sack is way better than a turnover. Just some things on everybody’s end a little bit there.”
Hendryx thought his defense played really well, holding the Lancers to just 172 total yards and no points in the second half. While it was only Winamac’s second game, it was only LaVille’s first game as coronavirus exposure has hit both schools.
“You keep a LaVille team to around 70 yards rushing, and you’re playing pretty well, especially when we’re kind of flying by the seat of our pants in the first half because we didn’t have any film on them,” Hendryx said.
Now Winamac will try to avenge last year’s 16-0 sectional loss to North Judson. In fact, Winamac has lost their last three meetings against North Judson by a combined score of 100-14.
North Judson, who relies on an option offense, lost 14-0 to Knox last week. Prior to the Knox game, they were averaging 49 points per game.
“He’s a nice player,” Hendryx said of North Judson quarterback Trey Hampton. “I’ve been watching him since he was in middle school. I know his dad (John) pretty well. His dad is one of their coaches. Really good command of their offense. He runs their option game well. It just looks like he gets better and better as he gets older.”
This will be Hendryx’s first time coaching in this rivalry. He’s a 1980 Winamac grad who once played in this rivalry as it bloomed into one of the area’s best rivalries.
The North Judson coach he played against was Russ Radtke. Forty years later, Hendryx left Knox to become the Winamac coach, and the man who replaced him at Knox was Radtke.
“Probably just the intensity of it,” Hendryx said when asked for his favorite memories of the rivalry. “It’s been a long time ago. In fact, when I was playing, Russ Radtke was the coach of North Judson at that time. And so, it was pretty heard and pretty intense. There wasn’t a lot of love on either side. I don’t think it’s quite as intense as it once was.”
Hendryx said that the rivalry isn’t as intense as it once was due to the emergence of football programs at places like West Central and Pioneer. Over time, Winamac found that they had multiple rivals, not just one.
“It’s still a pretty big rivalry, especially now that they’re in the same sectional,” Hendryx said. “It ought to be fun.”