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County schools look to build off gridiron wins

BY JACOB RUDE - sports@wabashplaindealer.com

In the penultimate week of the regular season, Southwood can secure a share of the Three Rivers Conference (TRC) title with a win while all four Wabash County schools look to build off of wins last week. 

Southwood (6-0) vs. Rochester (3-4), 7 p.m.

Last week: Southwood win vs. Peru, 35-0; Rochester loss vs. Northfield, 40-21

With Tippecanoe Valley’s loss to Maconaquah last week, Southwood can clinch a share of the conference crown with a win over Rochester. The conference title would be the third-straight TRC title for the Knights. In Rochester, though, Southwood will be meeting a side they have not faced since 2015, a game which the Knights won 39-7.

After his best rushing performance of the year last week, Gabe Lloyd now sits at 491 yards on the ground this season to the Knights. Alex Farr has 249 yards on the ground to follow him while throwing for 599 yards and a total of nine touchdowns.

Defensively, the Knights have flexed their muscle in recent weeks with 26 points allowed over the last six weeks and no more than seven allowed per game in that span. On the year, Southwood’s average of 6.1 points per game allowed is the second-best mark in Class 1A.

The series between the two is evenly-matched the last 35 years with Rochester holding an 18-12 advantage. 

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

Last week: Northfield win at Rochester, 40-21; Whitko loss vs. Manchester, 14-0

After an 0-4 start to the season, Northfield has won three-straight games and has done so in dominant fashion. Over that three-week span, Northfield has scored 139 points after scoring just 54 points in the first four weeks.

Levi Fulkerson has been at the center of the offensive revival, throwing for 745 yards and rushing for 466 yards with 13 touchdowns. His 1,211 total yards are third-most in the TRC. Jarret Shafer is second on the team in rushing this season with 372 yards and five scores while Graydon Holmes is the leading wideout with 232 yards and four touchdowns.

Northfield won last year’s meeting with Whitko 31-8 and has won each of the last three meetings. 

Wabash (3-4) vs. Maconaquah (5-2), 7 p.m.

Last week: Wabash win vs. North Miami, 32-27; Maconaquah win vs. Tippecanoe Valley, 24-3

Wabash bounced back from a pair of blowout losses to county teams with a big win over North Miami last week. Led by Kallen Kelsheimer’s best performance of the season and the 500-yard plateau on the season in the process, sitting at 571 yards and seven touchdowns.

Bryant Boogs continued his impressive season and sits at 617 yards on 24 receptions with seven scores.

The Braves enter having lost just one TRC game this season, that coming in week one to Southwood. In four of their six conference games this season, the Braves have scored at least 40 points.

Last season, Maconaquah knocked off Wabash 48-20. The two sides have met just four times in the last 35 years with each winning twice. Wabash’s last win in the rivalry came in 2016. 

Manchester (2-5) vs. Tippecanoe Valley (5-2), 7 p.m.

Last week: Tippecanoe Valley loss at Maconaquah, 24-3; Manchester win at Whitko, 14-0

The Squires could play spoiler on the night on Friday against Tippecanoe Valley. The Vikings can still clinch a share of the TRC title with wins in each of the last two weeks of the regular season.

Manchester, meanwhile, picked up their second win of the season with a shutout of Whitko on the road. The Squires are led offensively by Devin Marcum’s 1,102 yards with eight touchdowns through the air and 96 yards and three more scores on the ground.

Marcum has spread the wealth with his receivers as six Squires have at least 100 yards receiving. Seth Gaerte leads all with 335 yards and a score. Sam Martindale leads the team in rushing with 356 yards and five touchdowns.

Manchester has struggled with the Vikings historically, winning just seven of the last 37 meetings. Tippecanoe Valley won last year’s meeting, 46-25. Manchester’s last win over the Vikings came in 2014.