Week 9 preview: Triton presents final obstacle for Winamac’s undefeated regular season bid
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Triton (3-5, 2-4 Hoosier North) at Winamac (6-0, 4-0), 7 p.m.
The Winamac football team continued its recent history of success against Caston with a 49-8 win over the Comets last week.
Winamac ran for 281 yards and committed no turnovers. They had more than twice as many rushing yards as Caston’s ground-oriented, triple-option attack (134).
Caston had four turnovers. A fourth quarter touchdown ended the Winamac defense’s streak of 11 consecutive quarters without allowing a point. Winamac does a practice drill called “turnover circuits,” and coach John Hendryx notes that Winamac has dropped only one potential interception this year.
Linemen take part in the turnover circuits, and defensive lineman Kyle Olds had one of three interceptions last week. Xavier Holehan also had an interception return for a touchdown.
Winamac is allowing just eight points per game.
“We played with a lot of discipline, and we were pretty physical and aggressive,” Winamac coach John Hendryx said. “Got a lot of guys to the ball, and everyone just did their job. When you’re playing the option stuff, you’ve got to be careful about being too aggressive, and I thought our kids really did a good job of just doing their job and getting to the football.”
Hayden Clark led Winamac with 121 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Fellow senior Jaden Terry accounted for 115 yards of offense and caught a touchdown pass from Russell Compton. Terry also had an interception on defense.
“We thought going into the season that he’d be pretty involved in everything,” Hendryx said. “Running the ball, catching the ball. Last year, he didn’t run the ball maybe as much for us as he has this year. He’s changed a lot physically. He’s such a good blocker. He’s developed himself into a really good running back as well. It’s nice that we were able to spread it out between those three skill guys a lot.”
Though COVID wiped out the LaVille and North Judson games, Winamac is now one win away from its first undefeated regular season since the 2013-14 teams had back-to-back 9-0 regular seasons.
Triton, this week’s opponent, has lost three straight games and allowed 33 points per game during that stretch. Meanwhile, the Winamac offense averages 37 points per game.
But Winamac is only 4-4 against Triton since they became Hoosier North rivals in 2015. That includes sectional losses to Triton in 2017 and 2018. The Warriors scraped by Triton 10-9 in Bourbon last year and 23-20 on Max Murray’s late field goal in 2019.
Hendryx said Winamac must be ready for Triton possibly running “trips” (three wide receivers to one side of the field) and “empty” (no running backs next to the quarterback).
“They’ve got really good skill kids,” Hendryx said of Triton. “Their quarterback (Cole Shively) is a really good player. Throws the ball pretty well. Really athletic. It just seems like as the season goes on, he gets more and more involved in the run game. They’ve got a thousand formations to make you be accountable. They’re trying to get you in some bad sets. We’ve spent a couple days this week just making sure we’ve got everything covered up and lined up right.”