Western football coach Nate Andrews is confident he has his team’s attention.
The Panthers have made its three opponents pay since a 28-18 upset loss to Maconaquah in Week 5, pounding Peru (52-27), Eastern (55-6) and Class 3A co-No. 8 Hamilton Heights (35-14).
Western enters the final week of the regular season sharing that 3A No. 8 ranking with Hamilton Heights, and with a home victory over Cass tonight, the Panthers also will share the Mid-Indiana Conference crown with the Huskies, assuming Heights is able to beat Peru on the road.
“I hope our mindset is one of knowing we’re competing for a championship,” Andrew said. “We’ve certainly set ourselves up to do so. We’ve worked hard and overcome a lot of adversities to be in this situation. I hope we can fulfill one of the goals that we set out to do early in the season.”
Awaiting Western (7-1, 5-1) is a Kings squad that’s playing well at the right time of the season as well, taking four straight wins over Peru (46-7), Eastern (61-29), Taylor (48-0) and Maconaquah (36-14) after three straight losses to 3A No. 3 West Lafayette, Northwestern and Heights.
“Cass is Cass,” Andrews said. “They do what they do very well and are very disciplined. I respect a program like that. They’re difficult to prepare for, I think, with their misdirection and speed offensively. What we have to be able to do is match their toughness for four quarters.”
The Kings (5-3, 4-2) attack with their wing-T offense. Gabe Welch leads the way with 826 yards and nine touchdowns on 108 carries. Brendan McGehee has added 483 yards and eight TDs on 62 carries, and Payton Young enters Week 9 with 455 yards and three TDs on 67 totes.
Western counters with an option attack that has imposed its will on opponents in recent weeks, led by Ben Lenahan, who enters the week with 774 yards and seven TDs on 112 carries, and running mate Ryan Alexander, who has 617 yards and nine TDs on 113 carries.