Week 6 preview: After two weeks off, Winamac returns to face unpredictable Culver
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Culver (1-2, 0-2 Hoosier North) at Winamac (3-0, 2-0), 7 p.m.
Culver led Triton 16-14 at halftime, but two turnovers in the third quarter were hurtful in an eventual 35-24 loss at home last week, according to coach Mike Zehner.
“Really the difference in the game was those two turnovers in the second half,” Zehner said.
Culver did get a 68-yard touchdown run from running back Jason Cadle, and Shane Shuman ran for 114 yards.
“With our limited possessions and the way we run the football and our style of offense, there are not going to be many possessions in the game if we’re rolling like we are. But those two turnovers were really the difference in the game.”
Winamac will return to the field for the first time since a 35-18 win over Manchester on Sept. 10. Their scheduled game at LaVille Sept. 17 was canceled due to LaVille’s COVID issues, and last week’s scheduled game at North Judson was canceled due to Winamac’s own COVID issues.
Winamac coach John Hendryx said the team resumed practicing Tuesday.
“We didn’t get all the guys back until (Tuesday), but it was nice to go to practice and have guys there,” Hendryx said. “It was pretty good. … I think the kids have been looking forward to it not being 90 (degrees) out. They were pretty excited. We had a really good night.”
Zehner said Culver has been looking at game film from Winamac’s games against Knox and Pioneer from August. While Winamac has not played since Sept. 3, he believes that Culver’s coaching staff is familiar enough with Winamac’s personnel and Hendryx’s coaching style that they can be prepared.
“We’re pretty sure we know what we’re going to get from them,” Zehner said. “They’re going to be sound up front. They’re going to be sound defensively. And then, they’ve got some big boys. (Kyle) Olds, the (Logan) Schultz kid, those guys might be two of the better linemen in the conference. … I told the kids they’re going to be very similar to what we saw with Triton. There are a lot of similarities to the wing-T. They’ll run the iso, they’ll run the down, they’ll run the sweep, the counter. But obviously, with (Russell) Compton back there, they’ve got a weapon that can throw the football.”
Hendryx said Culver’s balanced line – in other words, they have two tight ends, one on each side of the center and the linemen stand foot to foot – and Zehner’s play calling makes it hard for Winamac’s coaches to spot tendencies as they prepare during their film study.
“It’s a little bit different,” Hendryx said. “Foot to foot, slamming the ball at people. So no, you see a lot of unique defenses just because you can’t play your normal stuff against what they do. We’ve played the offense a few times. It’s hard to find the ball. The fullback (Shuman) is a huge factor, and he’s an awfully, awfully good player for them.”
The road team has won the last four meetings in the rivalry. The teams are 3-3 against each other since becoming Hoosier North rivals in 2015.