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  • Val T.

Week 4 football preview: While battling injuries, Culver seeks better defense vs. West Central


Sports Editor, RTC

West Central (1-2) at Culver (0-3), 7 p.m.

The bad news for Culver is that they are 0-3. The good news is that they are facing a West Central that they have beaten six straight times.

Culver lost 58-28 to Knox last week. It marked their eighth straight loss to the Redskins. Still, they managed 249 yards of offense against a Class 3A opponent on the road.

“It was probably the best half of football we’ve put together for awhile now,” Culver coach Mike Zehner said of the first half against Knox. “We came down, onside-kicked it, recovered it, took it down and scored. Just kind of exchanged scores there in the first half.”

Injuries to Jalen King and Dalton Binkley hamstrung them against a tough opponent that already had bigger numbers.

“We had some key injuries there right before half,” Zehner said. “Jalen went down, and then Dalton Binkley on the line went down, so we had to make some changes in the second half, and I think, obviously, when your backfield and line are not at full strength against a good team like Knox makes a big difference. I really think that was a tale of two halves there.”

Look for Travis Blankenship to fill in for Binkley this week. Ethan Thomas and Ian Brown could fill in for King.

West Central is coming off a 27-22 loss to Tri-County.

Culver beat West Central 44-0 last year, and that kicked off a four-game winning streak for the Cavaliers.

West Central relies on senior quarterback Garrett Leman and bruising junior fullback Kolten Kletz.

“They’re going to run triple option,” Zehner said. “They’re going to run some midline with him. The quarterback had a good game against South Newton. I think he had 100 yards throwing and 100 yards rushing or more. He’s a good athlete. … They’ve got some speed.”

The Culver defense is allowing 50 points per game.

“The biggest thing is we’re in position,” Zehner said. “We’ve just got to make plays now. … I thought I saw some good things from Ben Lee. He got his first varsity start, and he had a sack and a nice stand on the goal line for a two-point conversion. As a sophomore who has never played football before, he’s done a nice job for us, and he’s just going to continue to get better.”

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