New Prairie, NorthWood gear up for regional final clash
(WNDU) - We’re entering the final weeks of high school football season here in Michiana, and several local teams are looking to keep their state title hopes alive this weekend.
Two of those teams, New Prairie and NorthWood, are facing each other for the first time since 2004 in a Class 4A regional final.
NorthWood enters this game on a roll. The Panthers have won seven straight dating all the way back to mid-September. It’s helped them get to a 10-2 record, and recently their defense has been the key.
The Panther’s haven’t given up more than 14 points in their last four games, and they’ve only allowed an average of 11.8 points per game since the calendar flipped to October.
But NorthWood knows New Prairie is one of the best teams they’re going to play this year.
“We’ve got a regional in front of us versus a really good, tough regional opponent,” said NorthWood head coach Nate Andtews. “It’s a toss-up in everybody’s head and everybody’s mind. Everybody thinks it’s a clash of styles, I’m not so sure it is. It’s two really good football teams, good programs, and the fans of the communities love football, and it’s going to be a good football game for everybody to watch whether you like offense, defense or the kicking game.”
On the other side, the New Prairie Cougars are one of the most successful programs in the class recently. The team has won three straight sectional championships and now is looking for its third regional crown after making it all the way to the state championship game last season,
Senior quarterback Marshall Kmiecik has been the starter for all these runs. And now in his last year, he knows exactly how he wants his career to end.
“We’re going to win, win everything,” Kmiecik said. “I was so close my sophomore year, and then my junior year we finally made it there. There’s only one more thing for me to do, and that’s win the whole thing. And that’s what I’m here to do.”
New Prairie knows taking down NorthWood on the road is a tough task, but the Cougars are ready for the challenge.
“I think it’s a matchup we kind of need,” said New Prairie senior defensive end Dylan Wilson. “It’s another good team that’s had some success, that’s had some energy going. I think we could shut them down and take some good steps to keep on going through this postseason.”
Kickoff on Friday night at Andrews Field is set for 7:30 p.m. EST.
Meanwhile, New Prairie and NorthWood aren’t the only Michiana-area teams we’re following in regional action this weekend. Here’s a look at some of the other teams from our area who are looking to punch their tickets to the next round:
Crown Point at Penn (Friday at 7:30 p.m. EST)
Fort Wayne Snider at Mishawaka (Friday at 7:30 p.m. EST)
Knox at West Lafayette (Friday at 7:30 p.m. EST)
LaVille at Lafayette Central Catholic (Friday at 7:30 p.m. EST)
Park Tudor at North Judson (Friday at 7:30 p.m. EST)
Division 4 Region 2
Portland at Niles (Friday at 7 p.m. EST)
Division 6 Region 3
Ovid-Elsie at Constantine (Saturday at 1 p.m. EST)
Division 8 Region 3
White Pigeon at Ottawa Lake Whiteford (Friday at 7 p.m. EST)
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