Chance To Clinch / Bull Dogs can win at least share of title; Olympians look to bounce back

All season long, the goal for the Columbus North football team has been to win the Conference Indiana title.

The Bull Dogs have a chance to clinch at least a share of that title tonight at Bloomington North, and with wins in both of its final two regular season games, Columbus North would win the title outright for the second consecutive year.

The Bull Dogs (4-3, 3-0) put themselves in position to repeat as conference champs with a decisive 34-10 win against Class 5A then-No. 3 Bloomington South last week.

“We feel good about how we’re playing football right now, but what we did last week doesn’t have a whole lot of effect on what we’re doing this week,” Columbus North coach Tim Bless said. “We have some kids that are dinged up like everybody does right now, so we have to continue to work on getting healthier and being our best version at Bloomington North.”

The Bull Dogs’ Luke Hammons has completed 74 of 119 passes for 932 yards and 13 touchdowns and has carried 80 times for 310 yards and six scores. Dyllan Redmon has 97 carries for 536 yards and two touchdowns, and Keegan Castetter has 27 catches for 439 yards and five scores.

Bloomington North’s Reese Lozano has completed 46 of 71 passes for 770 yards and nine touchdowns and carried 51 times for 301 yards and six scores in five games. Cody Mikulich has carried 97 times for 757 yards and 12 touchdowns and caught 19 passes for 391 yards and six scores. Tight end Aidan Steinfeldt has 17 catches for 335 yards and three touchdowns.

The Cougars (5-2, 2-1), who are coached by Bless’ brother Scott, are averaging more than 38 points a game.

“They’ve been scoring points in bundles,” Tim Bless said. “They have a four-year starter at quarterback. The kid can do everything. He has a strong arm and is very athletic. He’s physically strong and hard to bring down. That’s kind of theme this year. We’ve seen so many good quarterbacks week-in-and-week-out.

“Then, their running back is only a junior, but he’s a three-year starter,” he added. “They’re great football players. They’re hard-nosed kids. Then, they have a big-bodied tight end that can block and run, and they have threats out on the perimeter. They tend to always have tall wide receivers that create some matchup issues. They’ve been scoring an awful lot of points, so we have to bring our best effort on defense.”

Meanwhile, Columbus East will try to bounce back from a 42-0 loss at 4A No. 8 Bishop Chatard when it travels to Jeffersonville for a Hoosier Hills Conference battle.

“Really the keys for us have been to focus on us and being able to execute offensively and defensively and on special teams,” East coach Eddie Vogel said. “With the group that we have, we have to continue to get better across the board and be able to execute and cut down the mistakes.”

The Olympians’ Ethan Duncan has completed 36 of 69 passes for 416 yards and two touchdowns and carried 108 times for 441 yards and four scores. Tryce Villarreal has 135 carries for 587 yards and six touchdowns, and Logan Christophel has eight carries for 136 yards.

The Red Devils (2-4, 1-3) beat a Seymour team that handed East (2-5, 2-2) one of its conference losses, but lost to a Floyd Central squad that the Olympians beat.

“They’re a typical Jeffersonville team,” Vogel said. “Their offensive line is huge. They have some good skill players that can do some things, and defensively, they fly around. So they’re going to be a good challenge for us.”