Week 4 preview: After 2 weeks off, Culver returns against West Central
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Culver (0-1) at West Central (1-2), 7 p.m.
The Culver football team found out on Aug. 26 that there had been “a couple” positive coronavirus tests within the program. The whole team was listed as close contacts and had to be quarantined.
They would have to cancel their next two games against South Central (Union Mills) on Aug. 27 and archrival Knox on Sept. 3.
The team could not get together as a group, but a small number of them found a way to get together safely.
“I did know that some of the guys got together and rode bikes and exercised a little bit,” Zehner said. “So that was refreshing to see. I told them that our goals are weeks 10, 11 and 12 (sectionals) and beyond, but we’ve got to make sure that we just don’t do nothing for basically two weeks and decide to come back and try and go full bore in three days of practice.”
The team returned to practice Tuesday in preparation for their game at West Central Friday. He praised the team for its energy in practice. Then thunderstorms rolled in, and the kids had to move indoors.
Zehner said the team is healthy and that no player is currently ill. He said he’d much rather lose a game than not play at all.
“Our message to the team was we just got 20 percent of our season taken away from us,” Zehner said. “You better have a newfound hunger and desire to play this game. You don’t know when that will happen again.”
Culver has won the last seven meetings against West Central, including a 20-6 win last year. Culver’s most recent shutout was a 44-0 win in Francesville over the Trojans on Sept. 13, 2019.
But West Central is coming off a 20-7 win over Tri-County to snap a four-game losing streak dating back to last year.
Zehner and West Central coach Marc Hall are former teammates at Manchester University. He praised West Central lineman Buzz Beiswanger and fullback Gerardo Salazar, adding that Salazar is a “load to bring down.”
Zehner said the defense will have to stop West Central’s jet sweep but added the Trojans are on their second quarterback already.
“They’re the same scheme, like a double slot or they’ll even do a diamond and try to power the football at you,” Zehner said. “The quarterback they started the season ended up breaking his collarbone (against Caston), so they ended up moving their fullback to quarterback. It was a definitely a playmaker they’ve lost off their offense.”
Shane Shuman led Culver with 78 yards rushing in a 19-0 loss to North Judson on Aug. 20.