WHILE the Columbus North High School football team would like to turn around its fortunes at Friday’s game at host Perry Meridian, it appears the Falcons already have done just that.
After a rough start, Perry Meridian has put together a 40-21 victory against Franklin Central and a 36-35 win against Bloomington North to go 3-3 overall and 2-2 in Conference Indiana.
A rejuvenated offense has led the rally, with quarterback Connor Smith in the forefront. Smith has completed 142 or 233 passes for 1,571 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has thrown only six interceptions.
“They throw it 70 percent of the time,” North coach Tim Bless said. “That quarterback has got our respect. He has that swagger and that confidence in the pocket.
He’s like Ben Roethlisberger standing back there. He is big, but not that mobile.”
Smith has been putting up college-level efficiency numbers and that is a big reason why the Falcons believe they can do some damage in the state tournament.
It also creates quite the problem for the Bull Dogs, 1-5 overall and 1-3 in Conference Indiana. North has been susceptible to the big play all season, and that appears to be the danger once again.
Bless watches his team stuff opponents for long periods of time, but those 30-plus-yard gains have been killers. Perry Meridian has such a big-play guy in wide receiver Montero Dubose, who has caught 37 passes for 410 yards.
However, if North can keep Dubose in front of its defensive backs, it should have a shot at a victory. Perry Meridian running back Andrew Robinson, who has gained 295 yards, has not been a breakaway threat, while teammate Daymeon Hamilton is more of a possession receiver with 22 catches for 130 yards. “They run enough to keep you honest,” Bless said.
“But they also throw screens to every available receiver.”
After going through what Bless called a “murderers’ row” of opponents, the Bull Dogs get three shots at building some momentum going into the post season.
It won’t be easy. “On offense, we’ve always battled with Perry Meridian’s defense,” Bless said. “They play a 3-5 and they bring it from every angle.
“But we do have some size advantages here and there and we have to take advantage of those.”