The Kings had a four-game winning streak snapped in a 23-8 loss at Western last week. The win gave the Panthers a share of the Mid-Indiana Conference crown.
“We played better in the second half of the season, and sometimes that’s hard to tell because our schedule is tough at the start of the year,” Mannering said. “I was really disappointed in the way we played against West Lafayette and Northwestern in particular. The Hamilton Heights game I thought we showed some improvement. We got beat by a good Western team last week. We were in the ball game and had opportunities, but they deserve to be conference champs. We’re above .500 right now and as good as we can be, and we hope that can carry us into [tonight].”
Leading Cass’ wing-T offense is Gabe Welch, who enters postseason play with 855 yards and nine touchdowns on 116 carries. Brendan McGehee has also shown to be a formidable option on the ground with 70 carries for 525 yards and eight TDs. Payton Young has also performed well for a deep backfield with 77 carries for 500 yards and three TDs. Quarterback Owen Ohman is 24 of 50 through the air for 379 yards, six TDs and one interception.
“They’re very balanced,” Tolle said of the Kings. “They don’t have that one go-to guy, but rather an offensive system. What that makes us have to do is be very disciplined at every position on defense. You have to be just as disciplined on defense as they are on offense, because coach Mannering will find the guys who aren’t being disciplined and exploit them. It’s a tournament ballgame, and who wants to practice more next week is what it comes down to.”
Nate Hein leads Tipton’s rushing offense with 139 carries for 849 yards and six TDs, while Brody Dell has added 117 carries for 639 yards and eight TDs. In just over four games of action, Hooker is 43 of 79 through the air for 629 yards, four TDs and one interception. He also has 44 carries for 263 yards and six TDs on the ground. Jake Devendorf is the teams’s leading receiver with 28 catches for 382 yards and three TDs.