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The Franklin Central football team has several players who have the quickness to score from any spot on the field.
So far this season, the Columbus North defense has made mistakes that have led to long touchdown plays.
It’s not a good combination.
If the Bull Dogs (0-3 overall, 0-1 Conference Indiana) hope to stay in the race for a league title, they will need to pull out a road victory Friday night at Franklin Central.
That means stopping players such as Flashes running back Aaron Austin, who in a 58-50 win against Decatur Central this season had 235 yards rushing and five touchdowns. Austin had touchdown runs of 72, 51 and 47 yards.
“They will run the ‘I’ formation but also a double wing out of a lot of formations,” North coach Tim Bless said. “We have to know where No. 24 (Austin) is at.”
Flashes quarterback Corey Durm also has shown that he can hit the big play either through the air or on the ground.
“The quarterback is a good runner, too,” said Bless, noting that his defense must continue the improvement it displayed in the 19-14 loss to Bloomington North on Friday.
Franklin Central (2-1, 1-0) has other big-play threats in Devin Hunley, who has caught a 61-yard touchdown pass this season, and Marcel Price, who has a 48-yard touchdown to his credit.
On defense, the Flashes will try to stop a North running attack that has struggled the past two weeks.
“They really stack the box,” Bless said. “They have Derek White and Robi Ford, who are very aggressive downhill linebackers. And they are very athletic up front.”
While the Flashes seem to match up well against the Bull Dogs, they don’t have a lot of experience back from last year’s squad, which won a 42-35 regular-season shootout against North. The Flashes return only three starters on defense and six on offense.
If North can get its running attack going, which means it will control the clock, the game could come down to the wire.
Meanwhile, Columbus East (3-0, 1-0 Hoosier Hills Conference) doesn’t figure to be pressed to the wire in its road game against a Jennings County team that is 0-3 and just lost 55-6 to New Albany.
The Olympians have outscored their opponents 158-34, while the Panthers have lost by a combined score of 32-136.
Even so, Jennings County has a new coach in Dustin Roller, so East will have to prepare for new schemes.
“It’s fun for us,” East coach Bob Gaddis said. “It’s a new coach and a new philosophy that we need to prepare for.”
Gaddis said Jennings County will try to work the play-action pass, so it will be good preparation for his defense as his players move forward.
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