A little silver lining
In a lopsided setback at Michigan City on Friday night, there weren’t many bright spots for La Porte. There were, at least, some positives, however.
Running back Jayden Parkes, only a freshman, who missed the first seven games with an injury, showed flashes of being a productive player.
And Slicers coach Dave Sharpe went one step further.
“Jayden has a chance to be one of the all-timers at La Porte,” Sharpe said. “We finally, finally, finally got him healthy. He practiced well this week. We gave him a little taste on a Friday night. He’s going to have a lot of big Friday nights over the next three-plus years.”
Parkes finished with 34 yards rushing on just five carries, but he ripped off a 20-yard gain on his first-ever varsity rush. That was the first play of a second-quarter drive, igniting the Slicers to a touchdown seven plays later to trim the margin to 28-8.
Another La Porte freshman running back, Collin Bergquist, was coming off a 145-yard rushing game against Crown Point a week earlier. He had 19 yards on the ground versus the Wolves.
Also on Friday night, the Slicers were playing without starting running back Caleb Kuzdas and starting offensive lineman Alex Lewis. Both were hurt, and Sharpe said he hopes each of them return later this season.
Getting defensive: While Michigan City’s offense was lighting up the scoreboard early on Friday night against La Porte, its defense was playing a major role.
It held the Slicers to four punts on their first four possessions of the game, helping set the tone for the rest of the night in a 52-8 Wolves’ romp.
Defensive lineman Justin Wozniak, Chase Triplett and Royce Robinson Jr. spearheaded City’s stingy ‘D.’
“We’ve got to block those guys week in and week out in practice,” Wolves coach Phil Mason said. “So we know how good they are. And it’s tough to block those guys, and then, all our linebackers. We were concerned about our secondary tonight and our secondary played well.”
Linebacker Nathaniel Ware had a sack on the Slicers’ first series to force a punt, and cornerback Marquan Hurt recovered two fumbles and defensive lineman Michael Shanks recovered one fumble in the game.
Back to winning in the trenches: During their 35-7 loss to Penn last week, New Prairie ran the ball 40 times for 86 yards. Losing starting running back and leading rusher Chris Mays to a shoulder injury was one thing, but getting bullied in the trenches on both sides of the ball was another.
The competition level may not have been as high on Friday against South Bend Riley, but the Cougars were the bullies this time around instead of the bullied, running 52 times for 397 yards in a 35-13 win.
“Our offensive line was great,” Cougars quarterback Chase Ketterer said after the victory that saw him rack up 244 of those 397 yards by himself to go along with three touchdowns. “They did a good job of getting to the safeties, getting to that next level and they opened up lanes for us all night. They were keying on Ian [Skornog] at times, so when they did, I was able to pull it and make some plays.”
Skornog, along with Daniel Tyler, combined for the other 153 yards on the ground for the Cougars, who got a 40+ yard rushing touchdown from both of them in the win.
“Everybody can be replaced,” Tyler said on Mays missing Friday’s game with the shoulder issue. “Chris is big for us, but guys have to step in and fill in for us, especially with the playoffs almost here.”