Preview: Undefeated CG, North Central face off tonight

Trent+Veith+looks+down+the+field+in+the+Trojans%27+August+28+win+over+Warren+Central.

Trent Veith looks down the field in the Trojans’ August 28 win over Warren Central.

Earl Ridlen, Staff Writer

When the football team runs through the helmet tonight they’ll be running out to their biggest matchup of the year. Not only has North Central beaten Center Grove two years in a row, but they are also the only other undefeated team in the MIC.

“This team’s ranked number three in the state,” senior safety Brayton Spetter said. “I feel like this game’s really important because they’re ranked really high, and they’re our best opponent we’re going to play all year. It’s really our first challenge. They have great wide receivers, a great offense in general, and a great defense so it’s definitely going to be a great game and it’s the biggest test we’ve gotten all year.”

This season, Center Grove’s defense still has not given up more than 14 points in a single game. The team is 4-0 on the season, and for the first time since 2015, they are 3-0 in the MIC. They have won these four games with an impressive 31.75 average point differential. But, the coaches and players know that they have to focus on not beating themselves.

“[The key is] just not making mistakes,” senior corner Matt Soderdahl said. “Keeping everything as a defensive back in front of us and not letting them get the big plays because they live on the big plays. If we can just keep them to small gains and shorter drives then we can win this game.”

North Central is led by senior Theran Johnson, a Northwestern commit who plays both corner and safety. They also are undefeated at 4-0, but they are only 2-0 in the MIC as they have played two out-of-conference games, winning all games by an average of 9.25 points.

“We just need to make them do the small stuff right,” Soderdahl said. “If they can do the big stuff on us they’ll have a shot at us and they’ll be able to score some big points, but if we’re able to just keep them in front of us and tackle them on the ground for shorter gains then we’ll be fine.”

With a win Friday night, the team will become the only undefeated team in the MIC and gain momentum at the halfway point of the season.

“This game, being the 5th game, is the midpoint which can be the make or break point of the season especially against this North Central team which is undefeated,” said Soderdahl.

The team is focused on winning, but they know that all the numbers and the past weeks’ successes are behind them.

“The key for success is executing on our defense and our offense. It always comes down to execution and playing with great enthusiasm and great passion,” safeties coach Tom Blanck said. “I think that’s what all the coaches are all about all the time. Every coach wants every kid to compete hard, to execute hard. You need to know what you’re doing, you need to know why you’re doing it and you need to execute it with intensity and passion.”