The Mid-Indiana Conference’s football championship picture will start to come into focus tonight when Class 3A No. 4-ranked Hamilton Heights entertains Western in the squads’ annual Week 8 clash.
Heights sits atop the league standings at 5-0 with Western and Maconaquah a game back at 4-1 each. The Huskies, with a win tonight, can secure at least a share of their second straight league title. On the other hand, if the Panthers pull the upset, they will create a tie at the top heading into the final week of the regular season.
Heights has won 13 straight MIC games. Western was the last conference opponent to beat the Huskies, with the Panthers taking a 34-31 road win two years ago. The Huskies beat the Panthers 33-0 last year.
“Heights is Heights — defending conference champion, defending state runner-up, and have a lot of the same weapons returning so it’s a great challenge for us and one that we are definitely looking forward to,” Western coach Nate Andrews said. “With all that being said ... it’s nothing out of the ordinary for them or for us. It just happens to be another football game on the schedule. We have to approach it that way if we’re going to continue to improve, and that’s what we’re looking forward to.”
Heights (6-1 overall) has a pair of dangerous playmakers in senior running Conner Faulkner and junior receiver/return specialist Grant Weatherford. Faulkner has rushed for 885 yards and 13 touchdowns through seven games. Weatherford has 671 yards and nine touchdowns on 28 receptions plus he is averaging 30.4 yards per punt return and a whopping 133.3 all-purpose yards per game.
“Their kicking game is probably the one that sets them apart from everyone else in our league because at any moment, they can take it the distance and do that often,” Andrews said. “And then, I think in terms of their offense, if you load up in one area [run or pass], they’ll hurt you in the other. That makes it very difficult to play both of them sound. And if you do play both of them sound, they’re probably still good enough to do both of them well. It presents a lot of challenges and I hope our kids are ready for those great challenges.”