The most-watched film at Columbus North High School this week would be titled, “The wing-T.”
It’s apropos this Halloween week because it is a horror film.
Center Grove High School has used the offense to slash open defenses all season on its way to a 10-1 record.
The Trojans, who have averaged 40.7 points a game this season, have won their first two sectional games by a combined score of 103-18. Next up is visiting Columbus North (6-5) at 7 p.m. Friday.
About the Trojans
NORTH’S OPPONENT: Center Grove Trojans
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday at Center Grove High School
RECORD: Center Grove 10-1 after a 62-6 win against Franklin on Friday
MOST RECENT MEETING: Defeated Columbus North 38-24 in the sectional championship game in 2011
KEY PLAYERS: QB Luke Calvert, RB Lane Morris, TE Nathaniel Wozniak, S Alex Aukerman, DT Dillon Dallas
CENTER GROVE COACH: Eric Moore
“The wing-T is such a hard offense to prepare for,” Columbus North coach Tim Bless said. “We aren’t able to do Center Grove’s offense justice on the field in practice. So we will be watching a lot more tape this week.”
The wing-T often puts a slot behind the tight end and a split end on the weak side. Players go in motion, and the quarterback plays a kind of shell game with the football. Defenses have to keep track of the ball, which isn’t easy if the quarterback is talented.
“Our quarterback, Luke Calvert, has to be a little tricky handling the football,” said Center Grove coach Eric Moore, who has a 126-48 record in 14 years at the school. “He has to control all the motions.”
Moore said Calvert, a junior, isn’t the most athletically gifted athlete around, but he has been a tremendous fit for the offense. “Luke has had a solid year,” Moore said. “He’s just a winner. He’s a good Christian young man, and he never puts himself ahead of the team. Sometimes those are the best kinds of kids to have at quarterback.”
While Calvert runs the offense, he doesn’t rush many times. He has only 26 yards rushing on the season.
The Trojans have a share-the-wealth offense. Running back Connor Stapleton leads the offense with 756 yards while Lane Morris has 673 yards. Logan Hutson has compiled 615 yards. Opponents can’t key on one player.
Calvert can throw when needed. He has 825 yards passing and eight touchdowns. Kyle Buchanan (15 catches) leads the team with 309 receiving yards while Nathaniel Wozniak (15 catches) has 252 yards. Wozniak, who is 6-foot-10, is being heavily recruited by Miami, Purdue and Indiana, among others.
The Trojans do everything quickly on offense. “I know how fast they are at the line of scrimmage,” Bless said. “Would they win a 40-yard dash against the best players from Lawrence Central? Probably not. But their team speed on the field, one through 11, might be better.”
Defensively, Center Grove is led by Dillon Dallas, a 6-foot-1, 230-pound junior who has 10 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. “He is a big, strong kid, and he has great strength and great athleticism,” Moore said.
Their leading tackler is Alex Aukerman, a safety who has 62.5 tackles. Joshua Piper is a big hitter who sets the tone.
“It always starts with our defense controlling the line of scrimmage and not letting people run up and down the field,” Moore said. “This is going to be a game between two good teams who run the ball well.”
Moore said he has been impressed with North’s defense. “They play so hard and so fast,” he said.
“Thomas Shoaf does a great job on both offense and defense. The fact that he is playing two ways at this time of year is a great tribute to him.
“And Shaquille Ash is a very physical player who has a huge upside at the next level.”
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