BEATEN up just a week ago by rival Columbus East, the Columbus North football team has to bounce back in a big way tonight if it expects to compete for a Conference Indiana title.
The Bull Dogs (1-1) go into their conference opener on the road at Bloomington North (1-1). The Cougars also have a loss to East, but bounced back last Friday with a 41-14 win over Bedford North Lawrence.
Bloomington North, coached by Scott Bless, won a sectional title last season and looks the part of a conference contender.
Tim Bless, Scott’s brother and the Bull Dogs’ coach, was asked if his team has been able to shake off the disappointing loss to the Olympians.
“It’s not easy,” Tim Bless said. “Football is not easy. That is why it is the greatest game ever made. That is the beauty of it.”
While Columbus North is headed into a game that might well go down to the wire, Columbus East (2-0) will be hosting Seymour (0-2) which is trying to rebuild its program.
Olympians coach Bob Gaddis said his players will continue to work hard toward their goals in the Hoosier Hills Conference opener.
“What Seymour does offensively will be good preparation for us,” Gaddis said. “They are an option team, and that is something completely different than what we see.
“I think our players have been doing a pretty nice job (focusing after the win over North). We’re working on the things that we have to do.”
Gaddis said the Owls go with a 3-3 attacking scheme on defense. Like Seymour’s offense, its defense will offer the Olympians looks that they don’t normally see. He said it will be an excellent challenge for his offensive line.
East has practiced with a short week after taking Monday’s holiday off. “Since the preseason, our guys haven’t had any time off,” Gaddis said. “Then we played a good team the first week of the season and a good team the next week. It was time to take a break. We wanted to let them be kids for a day. I told them to do nothing football related.”
Columbus North could not afford a day off. Defending Conference Indiana champ Southport has started the season 2-0 and looks like a power again this season. Columbus North and Bloomington North both look like teams that can challenge Southport but neither can afford a loss in the conference opener.
The Cougars are led by all-state junior quarterback Jack Smith.
“He is a high school Johnny Manziel,” Tim Bless said. “And Bloomington North has some very good perimeter athleticism. Their receivers are athletic and fast.”
Cougars’ 6-foot-3 wideout Drew Ludwig has committed to Air Force. “Ludwig also brings the dimension of being huge,” Tim Bless said.
Columbus North could get a spark tonight as senior captain Josh Holt returns to action after missing the first two games with a sprained knee.
Although Holt was expected to be the starting tailback this season, he most likely will concentrate on defense tonight as a linebacker.