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The Gridiron Digest


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Everything posted by NRRaider2001

  1. Proud of our boys and their playoff run. Great experience for our community, can't wait to do it again. Mt Vernon had some crazy speed for sure.
  2. Northridge and Mt. Vernon set for biggest game in each program’s history Dalton Tinklenberg - November 23, 2021 From the Daily 43 article here. The final week of the Indiana high school football season is upon us at last and the Northridge Raiders will be competing with the Mt. Vernon Marauders for a state title. This state title game is incredibly unique in the fact that neither school has ever won a state title in football and both head coaches are in their first year at their respective schools. We were able to speak with both coaches this week in preparation for the matchup. “These kids had a goal at the beginning of the year that started with our saying, ‘Why not us?’ These kids have bought into that saying, and have truly believed in us as coaches and themselves as players,” said Northridge head coach Chad Eppley in regards to his squad before last week’s game. Mt. Vernon’s Vince Lidy had a similar attitude towards being a first-year head coach in such an incredible position. “As I have prepared, I am treating this like every other game this season,” said Lidy. “The magnitude of the game won’t change until the football is raised by the official at the conclusion of the game as to who is the 4A state champion. There are lots of moving parts going on this week as we prepare for Saturday that have not happened all year, so it adds more to weekly and daily planning.” “It’s game 15 for us, so we are not going to go out and change our approach or what we do in hopes of tricking or doing something wild and crazy,” continued Lidy. “Each week we have focused on playing at a high level, correcting mistakes after the game, and then working towards our next opponent. Since there is no next week, everything we have done during the season comes down to Saturday and all of our chips are on the table as we will do whatever it takes for Mt. Vernon to bring back its first football and male state championship to Mt. Vernon High School!” Northridge defense As for how these two talented teams match up with one another, this game could prove to be another incredible one. The Raiders boast an impressively physical defense and have developed a reputation for shutting opponents down in recent weeks. “Northridge’s defense has been playing at a high level during their tournament run,” said Lidy. “The defensive front seven is physical and has done a great job of stopping the run. This is very impressive since they have faced some very ground-oriented teams who want to run the football. The defensive backs have done a good job of defending the pass by keeping everything inside and in front of them. The Northridge defense does a good job of not giving up the big play. On our end, we have to find some way to move the ball on the ground to establish the presence of a run game. Our offensive line has to step big this Saturday and match the physicality and intensity of the Raiders front seven on run and pass blocking for us to have early success in the game. We will continue to focus on our pass game as well in hopes of getting the ball in space to some of our wide receivers and having their speed continue to be an impact for our offensive game plan.” Mt. Vernon offense Mt. Vernon has won many of its games by simply burying opponents offensively. Despite allowing 21 points per game, the Marauders have won nearly all of their game by double digits, surpassing 60 points twice and 70 once. The Marauders are led by senior quarterback Gehrig Slunaker who has been phenomenal this season. Slunaker has thrown for 2,793 yards and 31 touchdowns with just three interceptions. On the ground, senior Keagan LaBelle does the majority of the damage for Mt. Vernon. LaBelle has rushed for 1,518 yards and 24 touchdowns on the year. “We celebrated until 9:30 am on Saturday morning when we switched our film from the New Prairie game to the Mt. Vernon game. It is just like we do every week. We have film on them like normal,” said Eppley. “It has actually been nice this week because we are going against a pretty normal offense for us. We match up well against these guys. We are picking up the intensity this week in preparation for this game.” “This week the points of emphasis are to continue to focus and prepare like we have done each and every week,” said Lidy. “We begin the week 0-0 and game day is our test day. I have also told them to enjoy the week of other activities that are going on around our practice and preparation. It’s a crazy week, with the state finals and school being out on break for a few days. We can’t control all the things going on, but I told them to enjoy the food, celebrations and times together this week in our quest for the 4A state title.” “In regards to how we are preparing for football this week, I keep preaching play fast and aggressive in all phases,” continued Lidy. “We have to be physical, tough, and can’t flinch. Like I have said each of the last few weeks, we have to answer the bell every time on Saturday. Both teams will come out with high energy and emotion and we have to weather the start of the game. Things may or may not go our way, and we can’t let those initial plays dictate the outcome of the 4 quarter game. We are preparing for a great game that will be played by two tough and physical teams for the 4A state title.” Northridge secret weapon While Northridge relies on junior Tagg Gott to keep the offense humming, the Raiders have shown the capability of mixing things up. In their semi-state game last week, Eppley and the Raiders used Trent Jensen, a lineman, to score on a one-yard run. “We went into the game knowing that we wanted to get the big man a touchdown,” said Eppley. “Our offense has had that play in the past few weeks and the opportunity presented itself to give him the ball so that’s exactly what we did. We will play it by ear if Jensen will see more carries or not.” The importance of this game cannot be understated for both teams and communities. It could easily be the biggest game in program history for both teams. “I think it definitely is,” said Eppley. “This is the first time in school history that we have made it to a state championship game for football. It means so much for our team and our community. The community support we have had has been amazing.” The Raiders and Marauders will meet at Lucas Oil Stadium this Saturday at 3:30 pm.
  3. I agree 100% That being said, it's the dark gray/ black and white Jordan jerseys for state I'm told. The seniors voted on and chose the freshman jerseys (older style black and green) for our regional final, and have worn the all green, Jordan's, and all whites throughout the playoffs. All I know is the fans will be decked out in green and gold while Mt Vernon fans will be wearing black.
  4. Agreed, he did as well as anyone could there.
  5. I know the town of Middlebury will be empty on Saturday, minus the tourists at Essenhaus. I even have a large group of Amish coworkers making the trip down for the game.
  6. I'll try to find the replay, but it was initially called a fumble, visitors recover. After a huddle, it was overturned, not sure if they said he was down first or not a clear recovery by the defense, but none the less the replay looked like the initial call was the correct one.
  7. Let's just say your brother had the right call on a play, but was overruled by someone else. After watching the replay on 46, your brother clearly had the right call. Thankfully it didn't matter in the end.
  8. They must have done okay, "✅#IHSAA Football State Finals Preview! Rosters, results, stats, game notes for all six state championship games at Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend! ✅Valparaiso’s Fred Scheub to be honored as state’s top football official! 🏆🏈🦃 News Release: https://t.co/tkhSJsM1cv https://t.co/yraCukvwuG" Other than one head scratcher, they seemed to be a well oiled machine most of the game, at least from this Northridge parents perspective.
  9. Tell me you know nothing about Northridge without telling me. 🤔😤
  10. My new tournament favorite moments, both from Northridge at New Prairie this past Friday at 4a North Semi State https://www.instagram.com/tv/CWe9wkhFN3a/?utm_medium=copy_link https://www.instagram.com/tv/CWe8uLKFssu/?utm_medium=share_sheet https://www.instagram.com/tv/CWe_hYxlmM7/?utm_medium=copy_link
  11. In football though we were bottom dwellers in the NLC until Tom Wogomon took over in 13. In 14 we won our first sectional and regional football titles in school history. Coach Wog retired after last season, after the school built a brand new athletics facility including all Turf football, baseball, and softball fields. Coach Eppley was promoted this season at 26 years old, went 5-4 in the regular season after countless injuries. We had a running clock against us in our last 2 regular season games, but figured things out and made adjustments in a 50ish point swing against NorthWood in the sectional opener compared to the score between the two a few weeks earlier. Took care of business against the only team we were arguably favorites against in the playoffs in Columbia City, then upset Leo, Ole Miss, and New Prairie to make state.
  12. Northridge has won a team state title in softball in 88 and various individuals in wrestling, swimming, cross country, etc....
  13. Fun reading through all of this thread and seeing almost if not everyone was wrong in their predictions
  14. Ken Fox is the Sports Editor of the Elkhart Truth. You may reach him at kfox@elkharttruth.com or @KenFoxTruth on Twitter. NEW CARLISLE — Tag Gott had total faith in Jethro Hochstetler's ability to make a play. It was a brilliant decision that has the Northridge football team going to the state finals. The two juniors hooked-up for a 76-yard touchdown pass with 1:31 to play Friday to give the Raiders an exciting 20-14 victory over New Prairie in the Class 4A north semi-state. It will be the Raiders' first trip to the state finals and they'll see another rookie finalist in Mount Vernon at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the Class 4A title game. But back to Gott and Hochstetler. The Raiders' game-winning touchdown was set-up by Gott — who else — on an interception of New Prairie quarterback Marshall Kmiecik, just as the Cougars appeared to be on their way to a touchdown to take the lead themselves. After a run went nowhere on the Raiders' first play after the interception, Gott stepped up in the face of an onrushing Cougar lineman and found Hochstetler behind the New Prairie defense. Hochstetler cradled the ball in his hands and then easily outraced the New Prairie secondary to the end zone, which brought an eruption from the Northridge faithful that may have been heard back in Middlebury, if anyone was actually still there. "I know Jethro is a playmaker and if it's a jump ball play, he's going to come down with it,'' Gott said. "I put the ball out there and he made a great play and got the touchdown.'' Northridge caught the Cougars in man-to-man coverage on the play, without a safety back. So once Gott made the picture-perfect pass, it was just a matter of Hochstetler catching the ball and taking it to paydirt. But the duo wasn't done yet. Even after the Raiders recovered a pooch kick on the ensuing kickoff, New Prairie still had three timeouts left. Northridge had a pair of running plays that gained five yards, followed by an offside penalty and then an incomplete pass, setting up a fourth-and-10 at the Cougars 32. A first down and the game is over ... if not, New Prairie gets the ball back with a chance to win. To those of us along the sidelines, there was little doubt where Gott would try to go. Hochstetler. After having time initially, Gott was flushed left out of the pocket by the New Prairie defense. But instead of trying to run for a first down, Gott stopped and fired a dart toward Hochstetler. The pass zipped between two Cougar defenders and settled into Hochstetler's hands for a first down, setting off another Northridge celebration. "Man, that was a great throw,'' Hochstetler said with a smile. "When I saw Tagg starting to scramble I moved to try and get open and thankfully he saw me and made the pass.'' Two plays from the victory formation later, Northridge and the huge group of fans that found their way to Amzie Miller Field on Friday could begin making reservations for Indianapolis. That's right, the Northridge Raiders ... with a 26-year-old, first-year coach and the team's fourth quarterback of the season ... a team that was 5-4 in the regular season and lost with a running clock in its final two games ... will play for a state title at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday. So the Raiders' adopted mantra of "Why not us?" will continue down U.S. 31 South. For Hochstetler, the opportunity to play for a title is special, but not just for him. Jethro's brother Micah was the Raiders' starting quarterback to start the season and helped Northridge to a 4-0 start. But in the team's Week Four game against Plymouth, Micah Hochstetler suffered a leg injury and was lost for the rest of the season after surgery. "When Micah got hurt, it was really disappointing because we had talked about going to state together this year,'' Jethro admitted. "So for us to win tonight and get the opportunity to play for a title, well I know I'm there for Micah and I both.'' Meanwhile, Gott has his own family story. After spending his freshman year at Northridge, Gott's family, including older brother Jett, moved to Schoolcraft, Michigan, for Jett's senior year. Once Jett graduated and moved on to Wheaton College to play football, the Gotts came back to Northridge. And thank Gott he did. Tagg Gott started the year as a running back, before eventually becoming the Raiders' starting quarterback in the final game of the regular season. Now, after rushing for 105 yards and passing for 120 against New Prairie, Tagg will be the starter in a state title game in the stadium that legendary Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning helped build. "It's still pretty surreal,'' Gott said with a big smile after the game. "I'm so happy for my teammates and this great coaching staff. They've made me feel at home from the first practice of the season and I'm proud to be part of this team.'' Northridge now has one more week of football ... another week to discover new heroes and for the Raider defense to try and stop a team with gaudy statistics. But no matter what happens in Indy, Northridge fans will not soon forget Tagg to Jethro on a frigid night in New Carlisle. So really, "Why not us?" Ken Fox is the Sports Editor of the Elkhart Truth. You may reach him at kfox@elkharttruth.com or @KenFoxTruth on Twitter.
  15. New Prairie was as tough of a team as we have seen, that was an amazing atmosphere between two great teams last night. Hope to see you guys next year at semi state again.
  16. Northwood, Leo, Ole Miss, and New Prairie were all significantly higher ranked than Northridge. Both teams are going to Lucas Oil for a reason, while the rest of 4a watches from their living rooms. Congrats on a good season.
  17. Two teams very few people had making it to Lucas Oil. So proud of the Raiders for battling adversity and making this run. #whynotus
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