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  • Val T.

Week 4 football preview: LaVille’s no longer ill, but QB uncertainty affects Winamac’s preparation


Sports Editor, RTC

LaVille (0-0, 0-0 Hoosier North) at Winamac (1-0, 0-0), 7:30 p.m.

Prior to last week, the Winamac defense had notched just two shutouts in the previous three seasons, and one of those shutouts was against a team (Gary Roosevelt in the 2019 sectional) that ceased its football program after the game.

But it took Winamac just one game to get a shutout as they beat North White 42-0 last week in coach John Hendryx’s debut. Hendryx and defensive coordinator Josh Burgess have installed a 4-3 defense since taking over in May.

“It went OK,” Hendryx said of the defense against North White. “I wouldn’t say great. We’ve got to get our kids to communicate a little bit better. They’re a little quiet in the back end, and you just can’t do that and then make the adjustments you need to based on motions and formations. So that was something we stressed… We’ve got to get those guys a little louder and communicating with each other. It’s not that they didn’t know what they were doing. They just got to realize there’s a lot of people that need to hear you.”

Winamac had 40 rushing attempts for 280 yards as a team, but no player had more than 10 carries.

“We like it balanced, but I didn’t know it was going to be THAT balanced,” Hendryx, who is also the offensive play caller, said.

While Winamac had its first two games canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak, they will play a LaVille team that had its first three games wiped off the schedule due to the virus.

The Lancers are coming off a 9-3 season, which ended with a 56-21 loss to Lewis Cass in the Class 2A, Sectional 34 final. Even though they haven’t played a game, pollsters continue to recognize LaVille by ranking them No. 16 this week.

Still, there is much uncertainty at LaVille given Ayden Doyle’s knee injury, which required season-ending surgery and occurred one day before the whole team had to go into quarantine. Doyle was not only LaVille’s starting quarterback, but Hendryx thought Doyle was a force at outside linebacker on defense. Hendryx said that he and LaVille coach Will Hostrawser are friends but that even Hostrawser was uncertain about the quarterback spot when they last talked.

WHME-TV reported Thursday that LaVille will give Lucas Plummer, a freshman, the quarterback nod. After facing North White’s Eli Quasebarth last week, that means Winamac will face a freshman quarterback for the second straight week.

“We’re just going to have to do things a little bit on the fly,” Hendryx said. “I know they’ve got a lot of athletes. I don’t think they’ll have a hard time finding one that can be pretty active in their run game, but you don’t know about the pass game. So that’s a concern.”

Winamac is 0-5 against LaVille since the inception of the Hoosier North in 2015. Winamac’s last win over LaVille was a 33-3 triumph in the 2014 sectional final.

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