Running back Blake Dailey is the Indians’ top threat. He has rushed for 1,559 yards and 23 touchdowns. Quarterback Hontz McCarty has completed 43 of 73 pass attempts for 953 yards with 13 touchdowns and only four interceptions. His top targets are Peyton Lowe (16 catches for 361 yards and 4 TDs) and Seth McPheron (12-307-8).
The Indians allow 25.6 ppg.
The Panthers score 36.6 ppg and allow just 12 ppg. The Panthers’ offense is producing 312 rushing yards per game. Running backs Ben Lenahan (853 yards) and Ryan Alexander (662) and quarterback Drew Bellus (468) are the top threats.
Andrews knows field position and ball security are keys in sectional play.
“What we have to do is sustain drives like we’ve done these last several weeks. But more than that, we have to make them work offensively for everything they get. We can’t allow them or give them the big plays. We have to make them earn the scores,” he said.
The Western-Mississinewa winner will face the Delta-West Lafayette winner in the semifinal round.
NORTHWESTERN (6-3) AT BLACKFORD (1-8)
The Tigers open against the one team in the sectional with a losing record.
“You look at that 1-8 and sometimes it’s hard to look past that,” Hendryx acknowledged. “We’re trying to make sure [the Tiger players] understand that we’re going to their place, a long bus drive, fall break — just a lot of things going on. We just have to make sure we stay focused on the task.”
Northwestern and Blackford are first-time football opponents.
“I’ve never been to Blackford High School before so this will be a new experience for me,” Hendryx said. “I know their record is not what they want it to be, but they have some good athletes. Their quarterback [Trace Oswalt], from what everyone I’ve talked to has told me, is a good athlete — very fast, throws well and hard to sack. So, it will be a challenge for us.”