Unbeaten NorthWood prepares for unbeaten Mishawaka

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 12:30 PM EDT
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NAPPANEE, Ind. (WNDU) - Our Spotlight Game of the Week is a battle of unbeatens between the Mishawaka Cavemen, ranked No. 1 in Class 5A, and the NorthWood Panthers, ranked No. 3 in Class 4A.

It’s the first time since 2018 that the Panthers have won their first six games. They ended up going undefeated until the Sectional Championship that season.

The Panthers say it feels good to be playing meaningful football games this late in the season.

“It’s so exciting; gets us ready for the tournament,” said senior linebacker Luke Miller. “It’s a tough ballgame, probably one of the toughest all year. We have to bring our A-game, and it means a lot to be playing tough ballgames late in the season. They’re number one in 5A, and they’re a great team, so if we can get a big win against them, that would really solidify us as one of the top teams as well in northern Indiana.”

“I think we’re all hyped up for this game, even since summertime,” said senior tight end Parker Filley. “It’s like we’ve all been ‘can’t wait to play Mishawaka.’ So, I think this game is really hyped up for us, and we’re all excited.”

“It’s a big game,” said head coach Nate Andrews. “It’s a fun game. They’re a good team, we’re a good team. Communities love to support. Should be the hottest ticket in town, there’s no doubt in my opinion. It’s what it’s all about.”

The Panthers have played a pretty good triple option offense when they handed Warsaw their first loss of the season back in Week 5. Their defense held that Tiger offense to just 21 points.

However, they face another triple option offense on Friday against Mishawaka, who have also beaten the Tigers this season.

The Panthers touched on what a good triple option offense does, and how Mishawaka does it so well.

“They get off the ball quick,” Miller said. “They’ve got three different things they can do on each play, so everyone’s got to be assignment-sound. They get off the ball hard, fast – they’re physical, and so we’ve got to be ready for that.”

“It’s consistent,” Andrews said. “It keeps your defense on the field, or at least it likes to. It’s sound. It adjusts. It’s monotonous. It’s physical.”

“There’s this thing that they only think of like three or four yards,” Filley said. “That’s a victory for them. So, it’s just like, that’s why the games take for so long because that’s all they do, three or four yards low and fast. Strong dudes, and that’s what makes these types of teams like Mishawaka big, low, and fast.”

Kickoff at Steele Stadium in Mishawaka is set for 7 p.m. on Friday.