• Val T.

Week 2 football preview: After breaking 29-game skid, Caston keeps celebration reserved

BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

North Judson (1-0) at Caston (1-0), 7:30 p.m.

So how does a high school football team celebrate breaking a 29-game losing streak? Not as much as you might think, if Caston is any indication.

The confident Comets scored on their first drive, built a 20-0 halftime lead and pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 38-6 win over West Central in Francesville last week. The win was their first since a 13-8 win over West Central on Aug. 18, 2017.

“Not chaotic,” first-year Caston coach Will Porter said when asked to describe the locker room atmosphere. “Not like they had won the Super Bowl. They definitely were happy with themselves, and they were proud of the effort that they gave. They were pretty joyful. There was some dancing around, but I don’t know if that was just being teenage boys having fun.”

Porter said he didn’t avoid the topic of the losing streak as they prepared for West Central.

“We addressed during the week,” Porter said. “I talked about it a couple times. We’re glad to get that off their back. Now it’s time to just be a football team like any other team. We’re trying to compete every week. We don't have to worry about losing streaks. Now we’re trying to get one going the other way, and we’ll see how that works.”

Sam Smith starred on both sides of the ball against West Central. He had 93 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns on offense, and he also led the defense in tackles.

“He’s extremely important, and he’ll continue to be extremely important for the whole season and, I would imagine, his career here,” Porter said.

Though sophomore Landon Shafer is back at quarterback, Porter has switched the Caston offense from a spread to a triple option. Smith’s strong running in between the tackles led to more opportunities for the wingbacks to run around the perimeter.

Winning their first game with their new offense is only going to increase the players’ confidence in it.

“A total adjustment,” Porter said. “We have totally moved guys around. We’ve taken guards and made them wingbacks. We’ve put the quarterback under center the whole time. So there’s been a lot of adjustment, the whole idea that we’re going to be an under-center, triple-option team. But I would say the kids haven’t fought us on it. They’ve been really open to what we’ve been teaching.”

The 38 points Caston scored were their most in a game since 2014. The six points they allowed were their fewest since a 20-0 shutout over West Central in 2016.

The defensive hero was Damian Sullivan, a move-in from Culver. He had three interceptions last week. He caught more passes from West Central than West Central receivers did (two).

But now they will take on a North Judson team that beat Culver 63-20 last week. The 63 points that the Class 1A, No. 10 Blue Jays scored last week were their most in a game since a 63-28 win over Boone Grove in 2011.

North Judson relies on senior lefty quarterback Trey Hampton and sophomore running back Cheyenne Allen.

“Their offense was efficient,” Porter said of North Judson. “They scored on every drive. They took advantage of some blown coverages and some decent catches were made. We’re going to see how we stack up against them. They’re definitely a talented team. I’m aware that they won the sectional last year. They’re going to be a tough opponent.”


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