’Rocks put new life on the line at Lakeview
From life support to suddenly thriving, Scotus Central Catholic football gave itself a new lease on life last week with a 21-19 victory over No. 6 Wahoo Neumann.
After a season-opening victory over traditional rival David City Aquinas, then a three-game losing streak that included No. 8 West Point-Beemer and No. 1 Pierce, missing the playoffs for a second straight season looked like a legitimate possibility.
In the two weeks since falling to 1-3, Scotus is now 2-0 in class C-1 District 4 and just inside the top 16 of the Wild Card Points standings at 14th.
Staying there, or moving up, won’t be easy. Outside of last week, the Shamrocks had yet to put together back-to-back solid performances. Was the win over the Cavaliers a fluke or a sign of things to come?
Remaining games against two more ranked teams, starting Friday at No. 7 Lakeview, will answer that question rather quickly.
“(Lakeview is) hungry for a win. They’re a good football team that came up short the last two outings,” coach Tyler Linder said on Thursday. “They’re going to be inspired to come up with a big Homecoming win much like we did last Friday.”
Just two weeks ago, Lakeview may have been the easy favorite for this Friday’s crosstown rivalry. The Vikings were a perfect 4-0 and felt like they had yet to play their best game of the season.
Two weeks later, the Vikings feel much the same though the opportunities to put together a full 48-minute effort are dwindling.
And playing a desperate team in need of a win won’t be the only challenge for Scotus. Though Lakeview has struggled with penalties and turnovers the last two weeks, the Vikings still have a bevy of playmakers on both sides of the ball.
“They’re going to really try to pound it between the tackles with their iso, then they’ll try to suck you in with a jet sweep and hit you outside that way. Their quarterbacks are really good runners, they have kind of a two-headed monster back there and it sounds like they’ll be full strength,” Linder said. “We’ve got to make plays at the line of scrimmage and really battle in the trenches.”
Lakeview likely has the advantage up front with a handful of players Scotus can’t match in size. If the Shamrocks can in any way neutralize that advantage, they like their chances for a third win in a row.
“No one ever wins every battle up front, but we’ve got to make them work for everything they get offensively and defensively,” Linder said. “If we play mistake-free, penalty-free, turnover-free football, I really like where we’re setting up.”
One way or another, the loser of this game might well be eliminated from the playoffs. Chances remain for both with a contest against No. 3 Wahoo the following week for Lakeview and in the regular season finale for Scotus, but making that game meaningful means winning on Friday.
“Any time you see the Lakeview game on the calendar, there’s no need to focus. Our guys have very vivid and disappointing memories from last year letting a 27-7 lead go,” Linder said. “This game is huge for district implications and playoff implications. The team that wins this sets up a good opportunity to make it into the playoffs. We have to really come with a sense of urgency.
“Either way this game shakes out, it’s probably an elimination game for somebody.
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor for the Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com