Warsaw football gears up for pivotal NLC matchup at Mishawaka

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 7:47 PM EDT
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WARSAW, Ind. (WNDU) - When Warsaw and Mishawaka take the field Friday night at Steele Stadium, it could likely end up determining who wins the Northern Lakes Conference.

The Tigers and the Cavemen are both 3-0 in NLC play, and the winner of Friday night’s showdown will be in the driver’s seat to claim the league title.

After stopping by Mishawaka’s practice Wednesday afternoon, 16 Sports stopped by Warsaw’s practice Thursday morning, which was held as the sun was rising. We asked Tigers head coach Bart Curtis how important this midseason matchup is in terms of the NLC standings.

“It is a unique battle that puts whoever comes out on top in a really good position heading down the last three games,” he said.

When we heard from Mishawaka head coach Keith Kinder on Wednesday, he shared a similar view.

“I’ve told our kids this week, ‘If we’re not successful on Friday, I do not believe we’ll win the conference,’” Kinder said. “Now, if we are successful, we’ve still got some work to do, but I do believe not being successful eliminates us. Our kids understand the importance of the game, I think they’re excited for the opportunity, and we’re going to strap it up and see what happens.”

Warsaw and Mishawaka both had solid regular seasons last year, but the meeting between the two had a lopsided result. The Cavemen ran off with a 43-19 victory, and this year’s Warsaw Tigers remember all too well what the Cavemen are capable of.

“Last year, they had a really good o-line and d-line, and their halfbacks are pretty good… fullbacks, too,” said senior running back Lucas Ransbottom. “Yeah, they’re just all-around pretty good.”

“Last year, I just remember they were a super-strong team, scored a lot of points against us,” said junior kicker Mason Smythe. “Hopefully we turn that around this year.”

“Last year, they put 43 on us, and it could have been a whole lot worse,” Curtis remembered. “Playing the game one play at a time as hard as you possibly can is going to be what needs to happen.”

Kickoff on Friday night at Steele Stadium in Mishawaka is set for 7 p.m. 16 Sports will be live at the stadium on Friday night with a preview of the big matchup.

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