• Val T.

Week 8 preview: Porter proud of how Caston competed vs. Culver, but undefeated Winamac awaits

Winamac preparing to face Smith, Caston option attack


BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

Caston (2-5, 0-5 Hoosier North) at Winamac (5-0, 3-0), 7 p.m.

Caston has not won a Hoosier North game since September 2016, and that streak continued in a 22-14 loss to Culver on their Homecoming last week.

Still, coach Will Porter liked how his team competed. They trailed only 8-6 going into the fourth quarter and came back to score a touchdown to get the deficit back within one possession in the fourth quarter. That allowed them a chance to attempt an onside kick.

“It was a definite step in the right direction for us,” Caston coach Will Porter said. “Minus a few miscues, we did have two interceptions and a fumble, but outside of that, we did a very good job of moving the ball and doing what we set out to do, which was the idea that we wanted to control the clock. … I’m pretty happy with the game even though we didn’t win. We really fought back at the end. … I’m pretty happy with how the boys competed. But obviously, we want to start winning some of these tight games.”

Dogged competitiveness might be required if Caston wants to hang with Winamac this week. Winamac, who is also a sectional rival of the Comets, is undefeated and ranked No. 4 in Class 1A, and they are coming off back-to-back shutouts against Culver and West Central.

“They’re very aggressive,” Porter said of the Winamac defense. “They play hard. The biggest thing is I just don’t see them breaking. They’re the only team so far that I’ve seen that kept Culver out of the end zone, which is a pretty impressive feat because Culver has been able to methodically move the ball and eventually get in against pretty much everybody.”

Not only did the Winamac defense shine last week, but their offense averaged 8.8 yards per carry in a 35-0 win over West Central. And in addition to that, Russell Compton completed four of his five passes for 72 yards and a touchdown against the Trojans.

Jadon Jones led the Winamac rushing attack with 99 yards on the ground. He did it on only five carries. But the coaching staff is happier in his improvement in another aspect.

“First off, he’s made big physical improvements,” Winamac coach John Hendryx said. “You know, we loved him as a freshman. He was just little. He did a really good job in the offseason. He got more weight on. He was pretty concerned in the spring because with the added weight, he thought he slowed down a little bit, but we told him he’d catch up, and he did. So that’s been a big improvement. He’s always going to be a good ball carrier, but with what we do offensively, he’s got to be able to block too. He’s able to do that really well now, and I think that’s probably the biggest improvement in his game. He’s very, very aggressive. He’s a really good wrestler, just has an aggressive mentality.”

Despite being shut out, West Central did amass 166 yards rushing. This time, Winamac will face a different type of ground attack in Caston’s triple option. Sam Smith ran for 99 yards against Culver, and he also had 17 tackles on defense. He has Hendryx’s respect.

“The Smith kid runs the ball hard, and then he turns around and plays great defense,” Hendryx said. “Will’s done a good job over there.”

Hendryx said Landon Shafer has given Caston more of a passing dimension to their offense while allowing Grant Hickle to get carries from the wingback position.

Winamac has won the last nine meetings between the teams. Caston has not beaten Winamac since 2012.



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