Sebastian Martin | Staff Writer
The football team opened their season 0-2 for the first time in recent history, suffering defeats to conference rival Warren Central and 5A power New Palestine 27-15 and 31-9 respectively. Tonight, the Trojans will attempt to improve their record despite obstacles posed by injuries and a rigorous regular-season schedule.
“We have to overcome adversity,” quarterbacks and receivers coach Joseph Siderewicz said. “The message from the coaches has been to keep getting better and try to improve by the playoffs. Don’t get depressed and don’t give up and quit. You can’t have an undefeated season every season.”
The Trojans suffered injuries on the offensive side of the ball in the opening two games to starting running backs Gavin Matheson and Carson Steele, along with wing back Sam Hohlt. While Hohlt is out for the season with a fractured collarbone, Matheson and Steele should be back in the lineup tonight.
“I don’t think I’ll start, but [I’m] probably going to rotate in as needed,” Matheson said. “I feel good, but the coaches are still rightfully concerned. Either way, we’re going to be effective tonight.”
A strong backfield could be a deciding factor in tonight’s game, as Carmel’s defense has been solid in the team’s 2-0 start, including a 34-7 victory at Noblesville last week.
“[Carmel] has a big defense and a lot of experience,” Siderewicz said. “They can be safe on offense and sit back a little bit without taking too many risks because their defense is so strong.”
Cach Moore agrees with Siderwicz in saying that battling Carmel’s defense will be a challenge this evening, adding that the team excellently targets the runs.
“They have tremendous line size, and never penetrate too deep,” Moore said. “They have excellent tackling against the run.”
To counteract the Greyhound defense and attempt to alleviate game-changing mistakes, the Trojans have taken a simplified approach to their game plan.
“We’ve gotta block and tackle, simple as that,” Moore said. “We’ve simplified our offense. Guys don’t have to worry about the mental aspect of the game so much and can focus on just physically playing. We’re going back to the basics.”
Siderewicz also stressed the importance of fundamentals for tonight’s matchup.
“You’ve gotta get the basics down before you can move onto other stuff” Siderewicz said. “If you clean up fumbles and penalties and ball handling, and don’t kill drives, you don’t give the other team the ball.”
Despite having to make adjustments to their game plan the Trojans remain optimistic as they chase their first victory.
“[Their] attitude and determination has been amazing,” Moore said. “We’ve just gotta focus on intensity and being physical. We’ve done more one-on-one and hitting drills in practice this week than ever before.”
This is not the first time the Trojans have faced adversity in a game against Carmel. Ten years ago, the Trojans’ determination was evident when they found themselves trailing 33-14 with six minutes left in the state championship game. However, the team would score the final 28 points, capped by a Luke Swift 5-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion to secure a 36-33 victory and Moore’s first state title.
Attitude and determination are traits that Moore has preached throughout his 18-year career, a career some have speculated is nearing its end.
When asked if Friday night will be his last Copper Kettle game, Moore only laughed and said, “It’ll be the last one this year, I’ll tell you that! It has been a privilege to coach for 20 straight Copper Kettle games, and I look forward to all Copper Kettle games in the future.”
Regardless of whether this is his last clash against the Greyhounds or not, tonight under the lights Moore and the rest of the Trojans will be fighting to defeat their fiercest rivals in the regular season for the fourth straight year.
Note: Center Grove will honor the 10-year anniversary of the 2008 state championship at tonight’s game.