Week 3 preview: Winamac adjusting on the fly to new opponent Manchester
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Winamac (2-0) at Manchester (1-0), 7:30 p.m.
Life comes at you fast in high school football.
Winamac coach John Hendryx said he and the school found out at 1 p.m. Tuesday that they would not be playing North White because North White would not have enough available players this Friday.
They sent out a mass email to all the athletic directors in the state seeking a game.
By 2:30 p.m., they had a game lined up with Manchester. The Squires were looking for a game after their scheduled game with Wabash was scrubbed.
Hendryx was forced to trash the game plan he had handed out to his players for the North White game and craft a new scouting report for Manchester. He said he only attended the last 20 minutes of practice Tuesday because he was busy looking for as much information and film on Manchester as he could find. Assistant coaches ran the practice while he was away.
“It was kind of a crazy afternoon,” Hendryx said. “Yesterday might have been a first. I didn’t go to practice until there was about 20 minutes left in practice because I had to get things figured out with Manchester as far as we didn’t know anything about them. It’s not like playing somebody we’re familiar with.”
Limited to just six games last season due to injury, Manchester senior running back Braxton Ream ran for 928 yards last season, including a 306-yard game against Rochester. He had 113 yards in Manchester’s 42-6 win two weeks ago over North Miami.
“Good player,” Hendryx said. “We only saw him play once. … He runs hard. He’s got good speed. When you play somebody you don’t know anything about, you just get what you see, and he looked pretty impressive.”
Seth Gaerte has seven career 100-yard receiving games and 18 career touchdown catches, including two against North Miami.
“He’s the real deal,” Hendryx said. “He’s one of the better ones I’ve seen for awhile. He’s a pretty good player. … He just runs really good routes. He has great hands. And then he’s really good with the ball after the catch. He’s not a guy who just catches a ball and is done.”
Winamac is coming off a 38-6 win over Pioneer in which they handed Pioneer their first conference loss since the formation of the conference in 2015.
“I thought we played with really good discipline,” Hendryx said. “We didn’t get upfield much. Guys on the back end did a good job of reading their keys. And then we tackled well.”
Hendryx also praised his team’s conditioning in sweltering heat and humidity.
“Probably an 11 out of 10,” Hendryx said. “It’s pretty good right now.”