All week long, the South Bend Washington football team has been missing players due to illness.
At Thursday's practice, the Panthers were without 36 guys.
And in the end, it didn't matter.
Playing just 25 different guys, Washington crushed Mishawaka 24-0 at Steele Stadium, handing the Cavemen its first loss of the season and giving the Panthers a share of the Northern Indiana Conference championship for the first time since 1975.
The victory cements an amazing turnaround for the Washington program, which 0-10 the year before coach Antown Jones arrived last season.
With a smile after the game, Jones said he had all the confidence in the world that his team could get it done despite having more than 30 players out with illness.
Quarterback Nolan Dieter was among those that were out sick all week, but still played Friday night.
Dieter rushed for the game's first touchdown, caught the game's 2nd and then threw the third.
And how special was the 3rd---to fellow Adams transfer Eric Woods, who sprinted 68 yards for a touchdown to put the game away at 24-0.
Woods was playing in just his 2nd game of the season for the Panthers, aftering receiving a temporary restraining order against the IHSAA from a circuit court judge.
Woods will have a court hearing Tuesday to determine his eligiblity. If he loses the decision, Washington will be forced to forfeit the championship and Mishawaka will win the NIC title outright.
But for now, Washington and Mishawaka are all sharing the championship with Penn.
The Kingsmen kept their long NIC championship streak alive with a 35-0 win at Adams.
Gary Downey and Tre Parmalee caught touchdown passes in the first and the Kingsmen led 28-0 at the half.
Penn finishes the regular season at 8-1, Mishawaka at 8-1 and Washington at 7-2.
The Kingsmen open up sectionals at home against Goshen, Mishawaka hosts LaPorte and Washington will entertain Clay.