In the eyes of many, not all things are created equal.
Such could be the case for the Elkhart and Frankston football team’s as they prepare for this week’s Week 1 matchup at Elkhart’s Jerry Ives Memorial Stadium (7:30 p.m. kick-off).
Both the Elks and Indians are coming off of season-opening losses, but one team might feel better about things than the other.
In their loss, the Elks gained more than 300 yards offensively and put 28 points on the scoreboard. If not for the team’s five turnovers, their 51-28 loss to Alto might have been closer.
“Three of the turnovers were interceptions and that’s with (new quarterback) Kevin Kidd playing his first game at quarterback and getting used to the position,” EHS coach Sam Wells said. “He got his feet wet against a pretty good team. The other two were just mishandling the ball. So, that’s correctable stuff.”
For Frankston, the season-opener wasn’t that kind. Facing defending state champion Brook Hill, the Indians managed barely over 100 yards of total offense, and were shut out.
“Our kids believe. They don’t give up,” FHS coach Matt Nally said. “The biggest thing is, Brook Hill is a great team and we knew that going into the game. We just got better playing Brook Hill.”
Maybe more than two teams gunning for their first win of the young 2012 season, Friday night will be about a reunion of sorts on the field in Elkhart.
It’ll mark the first time Wells will face his old team, and his old offensive coordinator in Nally.
Both coaches, however, said that when the lights come on, it’ll be just another Friday night.
“It’ll definitely be weird. But, it’s only weird until the game starts and then it’s just another game,” Wells said. “Having coached those kids the last four years...I’ve known most of them their whole lives.”
Added Nally, “It’ll be just like any other Friday night. I don’t see it being a lot different. Obviously there’ll be that hint in the air of the transition period that both teams are going through right now.”
Both teams should be very familiar with one another, Wells because he coached the Frankston players for the past four years, and Nally because the Elks’ new offense is very similar to the one that Frankston still runs.
With that type of familiarity, who wins the game could come down to execution.
“That’s all of it,” Wells said. It’s who executes, who takes care of the football...who doesn’t make mistakes. It’ll come down to who blocks and tackles the best.
Nally said he’ll be hoping to see his team become “more consistent on offense,” against the Elks.
Under new quarter Tye Griffin, the Indians struggled to move the ball against Brook Hill, something not unexpected with all the changes the Indians are undergoing.
With Griffin also spending a lot of time on the defensive side of the ball — he’s an all-state linebacker — Nally said to expect a little more tandem play under center for Frankston, with the Indians utilizing both Griffin and Ozzie Buckner.
“There’s going to be a bit of transition period there,” Nally said.
Elkhart running back Jeffrey Wilson picked up against Alto right where he left off at the end of 2011. The junior ran for 157 yards and two touchdowns, while catching three passes for 46 yards and another score.
After seeing him in his first regular season game, Wells reiterated what he’d been saying all preseason about his star runner.
“He’s a complete back and he had a complete game,” Wells said. “Had some big catches for us and he ran the ball well. He did a good job blocking and everything else.”
Nally and his staff also were on hand for the game, and also came away impressed with Wilson’s play.
But, he added, his team should be “up for the challenge.”
“We went and watched them play against Alto and he is a phenomenal back. Elkhart has a good front,” Nally said. “We faced a great back Thursday night, (Brook Hill’s) Will Weathers is a great back. We’re just looking at it as it will make us a better football team.”
Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at email@example.com
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