- Val T.
Week 10 preview: Zehner wary of winless, shorthanded North Newton
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Class 1A, Sectional 41 quarterfinal: North Newton (0-8) at Culver (5-4), 7:30 p.m.
(winner plays Bowman Academy-South Central (Union Mills) winner in semifinals)
Culver went into last week’s regular season finale on a three-game winning streak, but Class 2A, No. 3 LaVille, in need of their own win to clinch the Hoosier North title outright and an undefeated regular season, rolled to a 42-0 win.
Shane Shuman, Culver’s fullback and ball carrying workhorse, had just 10 carries against LaVille.
“Offensively, we struggled to move the ball a little bit,” Culver coach Mike Zehner said. “We had some opportunities. I thought in the first half, we did some really good things. I know the final score was 42-0, but with six minutes to go in the first half, it was 7-0, and then it ended up 28-0 at half. Kind of by design, we talked about it throughout the week, and with the draw we have and everything else, we felt like if we weren’t playing well or in the ballgame there, we would probably limit some carries, so Shuman only had 10 carries and gained 40 yards, something like that. So he didn’t have his 30 to 40 carries a game or anything like that. I thought (Ethan) Binion played well. I thought Shuman did play well. I thought our line did a fine job. They’re the number (three) team in 2A for a reason. They’re really good at what they do.”
After playing an undefeated opponent last week, Culver will take on a winless opponent this week in North Newton. The Spartans had notched five winning seasons in the last six years prior to this year, but Zehner said that North Newton has been dressing just 15 players.
North Newton averaged four points per game in their first four games but have bumped that up to 17 points per game in their last four.
Andrew Colovos had 28 carries for 173 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in North Newton’s 30-24 loss to Tri-County last week.
“He’s their guy,” Zehner said of Colovos. “He’s going to run some power. He’s going to run some iso. He’s going to hit him on some trap. They’re going to try and get some guys out on jet sweeps. He’s a guy that I think can play for any football team. He stands out, no doubt.”
This is the first ever meeting between North Newton and Culver.
“I know they’re struggling numbers-wise,” Zehner said. “I just talked to their coach (Scott Rouch) at our sectional meeting a little bit, and I told him you’ve got four or five guys that can play for any football team. It’s just the dropoff after that.”
If Culver wins, they would host South Central (Union Mills) or play Bowman Academy on the road in the semifinals.