THE Columbus East High School football team might have noticed the offensive strategy that Jennings County used in its 21-20 overtime win against Madison on Sept. 14.
Run. Run. Run.
The Olympians, 6-0 overall and 4-0 Hoosier Hills Athletic Conference, probably need only to play up to their potential with their powerful running game in order to beat the struggling Cubs (2-4 overall, 1-3 in the Hoosier Hills Athletic Conference) on Friday in Columbus.
Madison would have had another game in the loss column, except that it picked up a forfeit victory against Jeffersonville (which used an ineligible player during its 36-7 win against Madison).
Bob Gaddis and company are likely to attempt to impose their will on a Madison defense that has had a hard time stopping the run all season. Jennings County did nothing but run against the Cubs, who still couldn’t stop it.
While East knows what to expect against Madison’s defense, the Cubs’ offense is another matter.
“They have a crazy offense, and they do a lot of different things each week,” East defensive tackle Dalton Bateman said. “But we’re looking forward to Madison. We’re looking forward to this whole week.”
Gaddis said, “They’ve got three very good offensive players, and they put them in spots where they can get them the ball. “They had three different offenses the last three weeks. We have to prepare for all of it.
“But this is good, too, in that we will see if our kids can make all the adjustments.”
Madison might have used a different offense in each of the past three games, but the results have been spotty. Although the team played better overall in a 10-0 loss to New Albany on Friday, it still failed to score any points. Part of that was because Madison has seen its top two quarterbacks injured and now is down to a running back behind center.
Gaddis said the Olympians should not be looking at the numbers and only need to continue to do what they’ve done all season.
“We have to be physical up front, and we have to control the line of scrimmage,” he said.
It’s homecoming at East; and to Gaddis, that means distractions — fun distractions, but distractions nonetheless.
With this week’s festivities, Gaddis seemed just as worried about his team taking care of its responsibilities leading up to Friday’s game.
“Homecoming is a distraction week,” he said. “You find out about the maturity of your team.”
Perhaps East’s most pressing issue is the condition of tailback Markell Jones, who missed one game with a lower leg injury and then returned to the lineup only to experience more soreness. The staff will have to decide whether to play him or if it’s better to shut down Jones for a while and get him ready for the postseason.
If Jones can’t go, it means that talented tailback Chris Wichman gets the call, but it also means that Wichman can’t play as much on defense.