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  • Val T.

Week 9 football preview: Caston seeks to break Hoosier North skid against banged-up Knox


Sports Editor, RTC

Caston (2-6, 0-6 Hoosier North) at Knox (4-4, 3-2), 7:30 p.m.

It’s not likely anybody needs to tell anyone associated with the Caston football program that the Hoosier North is a tough football conference.

The Comets have won three conference games since the inception of the conference in 2015. Their last conference win was a 20-0 win over West Central on Sept. 2, 2016. (West Central subsequently left the conference following the 2016-17 school year.)

Their last chance to win a conference game this year will occur at Knox Friday.

Caston has lost two straight games since a 36-0 nonconference win over North White three weeks ago. They fell 28-8 to Winamac last week in which Landon Shafer returned to quarterback to protect Grant Hickle, whose playing time was limited due to an injury.

Caston did amass 285 yards of offense last week. Sam Smith had 78 yards rushing and caught a 51-yard touchdown pass from Shafer, and Jessie Rock-Wolf ran for 78 yards on his only carry of the game.

In addition to Smith and Rock-Wolf, Damian Sullivan figures to be a threat for Caston and their triple-option offense.

They will face a Knox defense that does not appear as stout under first-year coach Russ Radtke as it did last year. In 2019, only one Knox opponent scored more than 25 points, and they went on to win their first sectional title in school history before falling to Mishawaka Marian in the regional. This year, the Knox defense allows an average of 25 points per game.

Knox is coming off a 22-18 win at Triton last week.

Knox trailed 12-0 at one point and never led until Cade Short’s 5-yard touchdown run in the final minute.

Zac Rose, Knox’s starting quarterback at the beginning of the season, is out with a knee injury suffered against LaVille Sept. 25. Cohen Watson has filled in for him.

Look for Watson to hand off to Short, who had 133 yards rushing against Triton. There might also be a package of plays where Short lines up under center as a quarterback. His top receiving threat is Kole McIntire, a tall target who caught a touchdown pass on the final play of the first half against Triton.

Radtke, a Hall of Fame coach whose 372 career wins put him second among active coaches behind only Sheridan’s Larry “Bud” Wright, guided Griffith to the 1997 Class 4A state title. Radtke also coached North Judson to state runner-up finishes in 1980, 1984 and 1986.

Caston drew North Miami, who has only one win, for their sectional opener. Knox drew winless Benton Central.

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