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Friday, September 27, 2013 12:11 AM

By JIM METCALFE

Staff Writer

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Though Lima Central Catholic is no longer a member of the Northwest Conference, tonight’s showdown at Stadium Park with NWC front-runner Jefferson is still a big game for both clubs.

The Wildcats (4-0, 3-0 NWC) are ranked second in Division VI, Region 20, while the Thunderbirds (3-1) are standing tied for 12th in that same region.

In Anna, St. John’s is looking to turn things around against the Rockets in Midwest Athletic Conference action after a 1-3 start (0-2 MAC), while the Rockets enter at 2-2 overall.

LCC AT JEFFERSON

The Wildcats have answered some of the questions that head coach Bub Lindeman and his staff had at the start of 2013, especially up front on both sides of the pigskin.

“Those were the two biggest areas of concern we had coming in: we only had one guy back on each line. Everyone knows the game is still won or lost up there,” Lindeman said. “That is still a work in progress but we have come a long way; we don’t have all the answers but we have a lot more than when we started. They have opened a lot of holes for Zavier (Buzard) in the running game and given Austin (Jettinghoff) good protection. We hang our hat on defense and the play of our front line has enabled us to continue to do that.

“The biggest surprise of this year, though, has been the kids. They have bought into what we’re trying to do lock, stock and barrel. Our motto this season is ‘All In’ and they have done that. They have worked hard since the end of last season, during the winter, spring and summer, up til now. We have great leadership from our seniors in doing so.”

They will need more of that tonight as the speedy Thunderbirds come calling.

“Everyone knows what the hallmark of LCC is: great athleticism. They can put more great athletes out there than most NWC teams can,” Lindeman added. “What we have to do is first, keep their skill athletes in front of us on offense. They will get some big plays but if we limit them by playing smart, sound, fundamental defense and keep it close to the end, we’ve done our jobs. They want to get off to a quick start and strike quickly, so weathering the early surge will be crucial for us. These games have become physical matchups but we have to try and not allow them to get going, so being physical will be even more important tonight.”

ST. JOHN’S AT ANNA

For Blue Jay coach Todd Schulte, there isn’t one thing you can really point to as the culprit in the team’s slow start.

“If we knew what it was completely, we’d have fixed it by now. It isn’t for lack of effort,” he explained. “These kids do some good things and work really hard in practice but when we get into games, something doesn’t click. Whether it’s a lack of execution somewhere on offense or lining up wrong on defense, it’s something. We have not made things easier for ourselves this year with those kinds of mistakes. It’s more mental mistakes than physical.

“Early on, it could be blamed on the overall starting varsity inexperience we had but it seems to keep happening.”

That is why Schulte figures a quick start will be beneficial for his Blue Jays tonight at Anna.

“We need something good to happen for us right away and get off quickly. That would definitely put us in a better frame of mind,” he added. “Where we were inexperienced at the start of the year, Anna had a lot of veterans back. They feature a solid tailback in Williamson — he leads the league in rushing. He isn’t the fastest guy we’ve seen but he runs hard and people bounce off of him - he has great balance. They also have a returning senior quarterback that gives them an important threat in the passing game to complement their preferred running attack.”

Both games kick off at 7:30 p.m.

 

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