PLYMOUTH – A new week brings a new challenge and with #6 ranked and unbeaten Northridge coming to Plymouth on Friday night that challenge is a big one.
Coming off an impressive win at Warsaw a week ago, John Barron’s Rockies were battled tested and fought off some adversity and anxious moments to pick up win number three on the road.
“There were some anxious moments, and Warsaw has a lot to do with that,” said Barron. “They have a tremendous amount of weapons offensively. They can hurt you. They’ve got the potential to get on a role and beat some people.”
He also saw several younger starters get their first conference start and pull through with flying colors.
“They got a taste of a big crowd and the flavor of an NLC game,” said Barron. “Not that playing against Bremen or Rochester wasn’t big but we had to get on the road and play a big team with a lot of history and a lot of hype and they did well.
With the long weekend, the shortened week of practice could be an issue, but one that the coaching staff has dealt with before.
“Last week we didn’t go full pads once because of the heat and I don’t think that hurt us one bit,” said
Barron. “Some years you can do that and some years you can’t. I think we have some highly competitive kids, and we don’t want to screw them up Monday through Thursday. Keep it simple and hopefully play fast.”
Watching film of this week’s opponent brought more concern.
“You can see on film they fly to the ball. They have some great schemes offensively,” said Barron. “They have a young quarterback but he’s a big kid, he’s a linebacker playing quarterback. He doesn’t play like a sophomore. Their backs all run hard and they tackle well.
“They are stingy against the run and obviously that’s something that we like to do so it will be a competitive game.”
Facing off against Northridge coach Tom Wogoman also has been tough since Wogoman came to the NLC as a head coach at Wawasee.
“He’s a great coach with a great pedigree,” said Barron. “He’s had as much success against us as any coach in the NLC. He’s a defensive minded coach and he understands how to stop a run game. If there is a program that has given us problems as far as running the ball and running the option it’s been New Prairie or a team that Tom has coached.
“We rushed for over 400 yards against Warsaw and to think we’ll do that again this week is ludicrous. We’re going to have to figure out what their going to do to us and we’ll have to figure out how to make plays and a lot of that is going to be on Jack (Barron).”
The senior quarterback will have a lot on his shoulders again on Friday night.
“Hopefully he can get us into the right plays.” said Barron. “(Offensive Coordinator) Mike Kershner has given him the ability to check in and out of plays and not just direction of plays. We have that high expectation and hopefully he gets us in the right plays and gets the ball into the hands of the people that need to have the ball.”