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Knights look to remain unbeaten at Wabash

Football: Wabash’s Bryant Boggs (right) reels in the game-winning touchdown over Peru’s DuanteMajors (left) during last week’s contest.

BY JACOB RUDE - sports@wabashplaindealer.com

Back-to-back intra-county match-ups are set for the next two weeks in Wabash County on the gridiron on Friday. Southwood will look to remain unbeaten against a feisty Wabash side while Northfield and Manchester will look to kickstart potential mid-season winning streaks. 

Southwood (4-0) at Wabash (2-2), 7 p.m.

Last week: Southwood win vs. Northfield, 20-6; Wabash win at Peru, 27-26

As the Knights have continued to knock off opponent after opponent this season, so to have they risen up the rankings. The latest Indiana Football Coaches Association poll sees Southwood all the way up to No. 4 in Class A after clearing its latest test last week with a win over rival Northfield.

This week’s challenge will be another Wabash County foe in Wabash. The Apaches will present a unique challenge the Knights have yet to face this season with one of the top receivers in the conference and state lining up for Wabash.

Through four games, Bryant Boggs’ 499 receiving yards ranks first in the state. The junior wideout has reeled in 17 passes with six touchdowns. Three of those scores came in last week’s win over Peru, none bigger than the 32-yard score with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter that moved the Apaches into the lead.

Wabash quarterback Payton Sodervick has tossed for 695 yards on the year with seven touchdowns and two interceptions, the most yards passing of any quarterback in the Three Rivers Conference (TRC). Third on that list, though, is North Miami’s Tristan Working who was limited to just 133 yards through the air with four interceptions against the Knights two weeks ago.

While Southwood’s defense has not quite met the stingy standards of last season, the Knights are allowing just 9.25 points per game this year, the sixth-best mark in Class A.

Southwood’s offense has been by committee this season with a host of Knights stepping up. Gabe Lloyd leads the team in rushing with 271 yards and six touchdowns. Logan Barley stepped up in Alex Farr’s injury absence, racking up 417 yards of offense while Farr himself has 223 yards, the majority of those coming in last week’s contest. A trio of Knights has caught touchdowns on the year in Dawson Filip, Jackson Simons and Carson Rich.

Southwood has a commanding lead in the series between the two, winning 32 of the last 36 meetings and winning 37 of the 43 meetings between the two schools. Last season, Southwood earned a 31-6 win over Wabash. The last Wabash win over the Knights came in 2007. 

Northfield (0-4) vs. Manchester (1-3), 7 p.m.

Last week: Northfield loss vs. Southwood, 20-6; Manchester loss at Rochester, 24-13

Unlike the other contest in Wabash County on Friday, Northfield and Manchester will enter as sides looking for a spark this season. Manchester looked to have found one with a late win over Wabash two weeks ago but struggled at Rochester last week.

Northfield, meanwhile, has yet to find any spark on the year after dropping its fourth straight game of the regular season against Southwood last week. The good news for Northfield faithful is that the Norse have dominated recent history in this rivalry, Northfield has won each of the last five meetings between the teams, scoring 238 points in those five games for an average of 47.6 points per game.

Scoring has been a struggle this season, though, for Northfield. The Norse are averaging just 13.5 points per game this fall and have just 13 total points in the last two weeks. Despite not starting at quarterback last week, Fulkerson took over under center in the second half and remains the Norse’s top offensive player this season, amassing 421 total yards of offense with five of the team’s seven touchdowns on the year. 

Jarrett Shafer (117) and Braden Ripplinger (110) are the only players to break the century mark on the ground while Graydon Holmes (110) and Alex Haupert (100) have both done so as receivers.

For Manchester, Devin Marcum is second in the TRC in passing with 651 yards but has just three touchdowns to five interceptions. Marcum’s top target has been Trey Clark with the senior tandem connecting 13 times for 222 yards and a score. Seth Gaerte has six catches for 184 yards and a score on the year as well.

While Northfield has the recent advantage in the series, Manchester still has a commanding lead overall, winning 26 of the last 35 meetings and 26 of the last 30 prior to the Norse’s current five-game winning streak.