A STAFF REPORT
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Bob Miller and the rest of the Fairfield High School coaching staff looks good in pink.
It was ‘Pink Out” night to raise awareness about cancer Friday when the Falcons hosted the Churubusco Eagles and the Fairfield staff wore pick ball caps in honor of the occasion. T-shirts were also on sale and a collection was taken up. All of the money collected is going to the IU Health Goshen Center for Cancer.
“My wife and I talked over the summer about doing something like this,” Miller said.
“Cancer has touched so many lives. Several of the players on the team have relatives that have had cancer. One player just this week had an uncle diagnosed with it. We wanted to do something to bring awareness to the situation.”
Miller had a personal reason for the event.
“Eight years ago my mom passed away from cancer,” the coach shared.
There were also pink ribbons on the field in honor of the occasion.
In addition to “Pink Out” it was also “Senior Night” as Fairfield honored seniors athletes in all fall sports as well as cheerleaders and members of the band.
Fourteen senior football players — Nick Adam, Brandon Bartley, Brett Baumgartner, Tyler Brock, Eldon Burtsfield, Coty Garris, Josh Hooley, Jared Johnson, Alex Mast, David Miller, Caleb Noble, Kyle Ostrander, Garrett Scott and Jeff Simmons — were honored.
“The seniors are a great group of kids that have been fun to work with,” Miller said.
“A lot of them are multi-sport athletes. Kids like this are the reason why coaches do what we do.”
Miller is in a rare position at Fairfield since the junior high and high school are located in the same building.
“I get to see the kids when the come in as 7th graders,” the coach said.
“That is a definite advantage. I really enjoy see these kids grow up and not just physically. I also get to see them mature mentally. That is one of my favorite parts.”
Seniors players key roles for Fairfield as the Falcons took the lead twice in the fourth period.
Burtsfield blocked a punt that was recovered in the end zone by junior Lucas Miller for a 20-15 lead with 7:55 left to play. Burtsfield booted a 24-yard field goal with 2:18 remaining for a 23-21 Falcon lead.
“You have to give a lot of credit tot he seniors for the way we kept coming back,” Miller said.
“The seniors have helped show what this team is capable of. Every season is like a jigsaw puzzle in terms how things come together. It’s one of the aspects of coaching I enjoy the most.”
At least one senior — golfer Mary Shipley — missed the evening’s activities as she was attending the Academic All-State Banquet.
Running back showcase
Two of the Northern Lakes Conference’s top running backs, one a junior and the other a freshman, were on display Friday night at Andrews Field in Nappanee.
Warsaw 11th grader Tristan McClone carried 37 times for 141 yards during the Tigers’ 17-10 overtime triumph over the Panthers. NorthWood “rookie” Tanner Cleveland picked up 88 yards on 22 tries.
Good night for
NW junior quarterback Will Kirkwood had a brilliant all-around game. He carried eight times for 84 yards and completed 8-of-13 throws for 93.
The Panthers had possessions of 10 and eight plays in the first quarter to take a 10-0 lead.
But a 17-play drive in the fourth period came up empty and Warsaw was able to rally for a tying field goal with :04 left in regulation.
NorthWood got good play early from its offensive line of senior Zach Telschow, juniors Tanner White, Corbin Johnson and Jake Snider and sophomore Zach BeMiller.
Senior Albert Gongwer had 17 “hits” for the Panther defense, senior Merle Mullet 12, senior Justice Smith 10 and junior Blake Cleveland nine.
Mullet and Cleveland both had fumble recoveries and senior Dylan Risser an interception. Senior Gino Chumas was among those with a tackle for loss.
The Panthers’ biggest gainer of the night came on the first play of the game, a 29-yard pass from Kirkwood to Blake Cleveland.
NorthWood converted one fourth-down play in the game and Warsaw three.
Conference title up in air
Friday night’s action didn’t really do much to clarify the race for the NLC championship. Concord, Plymouth and Warsaw are all tied for the tip spot with 5-1 records heading the regular season finales next Friday.
Two games — Concord at Warsaw and NorthWood at Plymouth — will determine the championship.
A Concord win combined with a Plymouth loss would give the Minutemen sole possession of first place and a third consective title something the Minutemen have never done before.
Wins by both Concord and Plymouth means the two schools would share the championship.
The Warsaw Tigers could also be the lone champion with a win over Concord and a loss by Plymouth. Wins by Warsaw and Plymouth would mean a shared title between the two.
Since Concord and Warsaw play each other Plymouth can’t win the title outright.
NECC race sharpens
The title picture in the NECC is much clearer as the two undefeated teams in league action will square off next week.
The Lakeland Lakers make the trip to Churubusco with the winner taking home sole possession of the conference crown.
On paper, the two appear to be fairly evenly matched. Lakeland is 8-0 overall while Churubusco is 7-1 after losing to Culver Military Academy 35-16 on Sept. 28.
Through last Friday, Lakeland has scored 383 points compared to 350 for Churubusco while Lakeland’s defense has yielded 117 points and Churubusco’s 77.
Lakeland is seeking it first NECC championship since it shared the crown with Churubusco and Fairfield in 2009. Churubusco is going for a fourth straight title.
The team was the outright champion a year ago to go with a shared crown with Angola in 2010.
Junior running back Gabe Rhodes scored both of the Wawasee touchdowns in a 14-9 win at Elkhart Memorial. He scored on a 26-yard run in the first quarter and on a 1-yard smash in the second. He gained 77 yards on 13 carries to lead the Warriors.
Next man in
Plymouth sophomore quarterback Kyle Lacefield was no wet-behind-the-ears rookie coming into Friday night’s game against Goshen, having led the Rockies’ offense during the first three games of the season.
So when the call came for him to step in for injured senior starter Ike Kastner Friday night against the Redskins, Lacefield was ready.
The sophomore signalcaller looked poised and led the Rockies on a key game-clinching drive.
“I knew what to expect out there after playing the first three games of the season,” Lacefield said after the game. “Goshen put a lot of pressure on is in the second half, but we were able to get that late score.”
Goshen’s rushing attack struggled Friday night against Plymouth, as the Redskins had just 45 yards on 26 carries.
But the Redskins had a bit more success with the passing game, getting two scoring strikes from sophomore QB Derek DeMeyer, one to senior Hans Bontrager-Singer and another to senior Cristian Barron.
The Redskins also got a completed pass from Austin Henke to Evan Smith on a fake punt.
Good kicking game
Goshen senior kicker Jesse Good continued to have a solid season for the Redskins Friday night against Plymouth, with a 32-yard field goal — his longest of the season.
Good was also a perfect on his only PAT try of the night; the Redskins went for two and failed on their other TD.
Good is now a perfect 8-for-8 on PATs in 2012.
For the defense
Senior defensive lineman Dan Heim and senior linebacker Luke Harris were standouts for the Redskins on defense Friday night against Plymouth: Heim had nine solo tackles and 12 assists, while Harris added eight solos and 11 assists, with three of those being tackles for loss.
Good, in addition to his aforementioned placekicking duties, had eight solos and seven assists.
Raider special teams excel
Northridge’s special teams had a special second half Friday. After rallying with a touchdown on its first possession of the third quarter, the kickoff team recovered an onside kick in Concord territory.
Later in the period, punter Craig Kasten faked a punt and took off on a 23-yard run to gain a first down and keep a drive alive.
Despite the miserable conditions, it was a big night for receivers on both sidelines. Concord had 16 pass completions to five different receivers, with Adam Glanders snaring six completions for 81 yards.
Northridge had seven different players catch passes, led by Jailyn Rolle’s four receptions for 157 yards. Both teams threw for more than 200 yards.