The opponents in the second week of the season will give the three local football teams as much of a reason to prepare as any other week, other than conference rivalry games. Greensburg faces one of the biggest - if not the biggest - power running squad in the state. North Decatur visits a much improved conference opponent, while South Decatur looks to avoid starting the season 0-2.
Greensburg at Jennings County
Friday, 7 p.m.
The Pirates travel to Mt. Vernon to battle the toughest squad on the ground it will face all year. Greensburg's trip to Jennings County will require a game plan to at least limit a Panther team that ran for 559 yards against typically tough Batesville. Senior Iyan Bass gained 337 yards with four touchdowns. Halfback Tommy Taylor followed with 152 yards and three scores.
Greensburg head coach Scott Moore said the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Taylor will be every bit as tough to take down as Bass.
"That's going to be an interesting task," said Moore. "We're going to have our hands full. It obviously poses a tough task for us."
The Panthers ended up topping the Bulldogs 51-27.
"They really had a lot of success in their power game," said Moore. "We can't have any slip ups. We're going to see that for four quarters. That's a tall order."
Greensburg will counter with its feature back, 6-foot, 215-pound senior Zach Balusik. Senior Tucker Hime also contributed to the 22-7 win over Shelbyville. The Pirates ran 57 times for 267 yards.
Moore does not expect the teams to pass the ball much.
"If anything," he said, "this game's going to move pretty quick. That clock is not going to stop much. Both teams are going to feature their running games."
Moore said special teams should also factor in the game.
"Special teams are going to be huge," he said of the kicking and return units. "You can't give a team like Jennings County a lot of room. We're putting an emphasis on special teams and we're working to make it go in our favor."
North Decatur at Edinburgh
Friday, 7 p.m.
North Decatur's next opponent, Mid-Indiana Football Conference rival Edinburgh, is no longer the pushover team that had not won a game in more than six seasons. The Lancers made strides in 2010, but struggled in a tough MIFC.
"They are a much improved football team from last year," said Louder. "They have a number of kids on the roster." Edinburgh lost a tough 20-19 season opener after playing well in the scrimmage, Louder noted.
Louder said Edinburgh's continuity begins at the top. Coach Bill Unsworth has the Lancers heading in the right direction and poses several challenges each week.
"They spread the field," he said. "They see what you're doing. They probably throw the football 60 to 65 percent of the time, and they have a good running back. They turn him loose when they bring in."
Louder said three starters who missed last week's game with injuries are returning.
"If we go out and play hard and avoid injuries, I'm looking forward to playing this game," he said. "I tell them every week the don't turn over the football. Keep down your missed tackles. Offense, protect the football."
The Chargers look to continue moving the ball as successfully as they have in years' past. North will feature junior back Jason Kirchhoff early and often, and utilize its threats in senior quarterback Christian McKinney and junior back John Hammersmith.
Still, the execution on the field depends on avoiding mental mistakes and turnovers that plagued North in its 28-6 loss to Union County.
"We have to limit the mistakes and protect the football," said Louder.
South Decatur at Eastern Hancock
Friday, 7 p.m.
Head coach Rodney Martin is encouraged with the spirit of his team entering its road game against Eastern Hancock. The Cougars have not let their heads hang down despite the 42-8 opening loss to Cambridge City.
"Our kids had a good practice," said Martin. "We're concerned with getting our team on track and playing at a higher level, a level we know we're more capable of."
South is looking to make progress as a young squad continues to develop and improve. Martin said the team is working to put the pieces in the right places to maximize its chances.
"We're in the process of seeing where people fit," he said, "get the best possible combination on the field to get the best chance to win. That's what we concentrated on this week. It'll pay off for them."
Martin said the Cougars have had a productive week of practice.
"We watched the game tape. We looked at some things that needed immediate attention, and we've worked on them a lot this week," he said. "Each week you try to throw in a little wrinkle that the other team may not have seen the previous week. You just look to add a little wrinkle that might attack the offense and defense that we didn't have before."
Martin told his team to maintain a positive attitude and not to let growing pains set it back.
"This is the first week," said Martin. "We have at least nine more weeks to play football. We're going to be successful. The kids are upbeat."