Fast and furious
A trademark of La Porte’s Wing-T offense the last few years has been a no-huddle, fast-paced rushing attack.
In an effort to increase the pace even more, the Slicers made an emphasis to accelerate the tempo in Friday night’s game against visiting Crown Point. They started the game up-tempo, and at times, really forced the issue.
“We felt we could move the ball pretty well against this team, so we wanted to go extreme up-tempo,” La Porte coach Dave Sharpe said. “And really try to maximize as many offensive plays as we thought we could get.”
While the Slicers didn’t have success in the first half offensively, scoring no points, they had some effective drives after the break. They tallied 21 points in the second stanza, and had some quick-strike touchdown drives. It took them only 2:01 and seven plays to reach the end zone on their first TD. And it took them just a pair of plays and 42 seconds on their second score. And it took them a mere 2:01 and seven plays to score another touchdown to pull within 24-21 midway through the fourth period.
La Porte also actually out-gained C.P. in total offense by over 100 yards, 396-292, despite runing only one more play.
Plenty of penalties: Despite the Bulldogs committing a whopping 159 yards on nine penalties, the Slicers were unable to fully capitalize.
But that helped La Porte stay close and make it a game until the end, before falling 24-21.
Building character: Coaching a successful team is easier than coaching a struggling team, but success doesn’t cure all ills.
“You think about how hard it is to coach a team that gets beat badly,” Michigan City coach Phil Mason said. “Fortunately, I’ve been on the side more of a team continually having wins, but there’s a lot to take care of in a program that doesn’t have a tradition of understanding how to keep focused, how to keep mature. Character is a word we throw around (a lot). You’ve got to understand what that is. Teaching that word to our kids is a project in and of itself. It’s part of building this program.”
Mason addressed the topic after Friday’s 49-14 rout of Portage with La Porte up next for the Wolves.
“How are they going to handle those situations, how do they handle the fact that they beat a really good Merrillville team and now they’ve had back-to-back blowout wins, going into rivalry week, the grading period ending, homecoming coming?” Mason said. “It’s day-to-day, doing everything right, getting up in the morning, getting to school. It’s going to be a tough week for us.”
Slice of humble pie to help refocus Cougars: The Cougars faced the cream of the crop in the NIC on Friday night and a 28-point demolition was the result. The Kingsmen just flat-out dominated New Prairie in every aspect of the game and rolled to their 46th straight conference win.
But, the next two weeks give Cougars coach Russ Radtke and his team another chance to refocus and regroup with the postseason on the horizon. Radtke was more disappointed than upset after Friday’s 35-7 loss in Mishawaka and knows he and the staff still have plenty of work to do before the postseason starts.
“It’s all we can do is just try to improve and fix what went wrong tonight,” Radtke said on Friday. “You can’t dwell on what went wrong tonight. You can’t harp on them for what they did. You have to show what it’s gonna take and what they have to do, and see if they get their attitude in the right way.”
-- compiled by Zack Eldridge, Jim Peters and Michael Whitlow