#8 HANOVER CENTRAL WILDCATS (5-0, 3-0) @ #3 WHITING OILERS (5-0, 3-0)
WHERE: Gallivan Field – Whiting
WHEN: Friday 9/23 – 7:00
ALL-TIME SERIES: Whiting leads 4-0
LAST WEEK: Whiting 24 Lake Station 0; Hanover Central 35 Boone Grove 7
RSN COVERAGE: 90.5 FM WRTW/Live Video on Regionsports.com
GAME NOTES: Oftentimes in games featuring two teams with undefeated marks, you get one team that’s really strong defensively vs. a dynamic offense, or two high powered offensive teams with shaky defenses (or vice versa). But this one is a doozy, not only do you have the two highest scoring teams in the area, with Hanover Central averaging 41.2 points per game & Whiting at 35.8, but you also have two of the best defenses, with the Wildcats giving up a Region best 5.4 points a game and Whiting being third at 11.0.
Hanover Central enters this Week #6 showdown with a 5-0 mark for the first time in program history, thanks to a 35-7 win over the Wolves of Boone Grove a week ago. The ‘Cats haven’t given up double-digit points since surrendering 12 to Bishop Noll in Week #1 and haven’t scored less than 34 since the same game. The schedule hasn’t been overwhelmingly difficult (297th out of 322 per Sagarin ratings), but all that matters is that the Wildcats are lining up across their opponents and winning big.
Winning and winning big are things the opposing Oilers are used to, as over the last five regular seasons (prior to this year) they are a dominant 40-5. That impressive stretch has not only continued so far this season, but should even after this game against Hanover Central. Down the stretch, Whiting’s final three opponents have a current combined record of 2-13, with both of those wins belonging to Calumet.
BREAKDOWN: While both teams have had outstanding offenses so far this year, they get the job done in different ways.
There’s no disguising what Hanover Central wants to do when they have possession – pound the ball behind a stellar offensive line. Most of the carries go to running backs Dustin Lindley, who has 71 carries for 551 yards (7.8 YPC), along with eight TDs, and Vince Liggin, with 41 carries, six of which are for touchdowns and 405 yards. Quarterback James Delange has 63 rushes for 612 yards, with10 TDs, to carry his share of the load as well.
They’ll occasionally take to the air with Delange averaging six passing attempts per game, but make no mistake – the ‘Cats look to dominate in the trenches to move the ball.
Whiting has a rushing threat QB of their own in Stuart Glascow, who’s playing out his final season in Oiler green. After an outstanding junior campaign, Glascow’s 2016 season is playing to form, as he’s rushed for nearly seven yards per carry. He hasn’t had to throw much with Whiting winning games by such a large margin, but he’s been accurate when he does sling it, completing 17 of 23 passes with two scores.
Junior Dylan White (44 carries for 283 yards & 7 TDs) and bruising back Tom Davenport (40 carries, 171 yards & 7 TDs) join Glascow in the backfield to give the Oilers a three-headed monster of their own.
Those offensive philosophies could be the difference in this ballgame. We know that in tight situations, Whiting has the ability to throw the ball with veteran-passer Glascow, but does Hanover Central?
What will be huge for the visiting Wildcats is the first two quarters. If HC can withstand the Whiting attack early and keep the ball game close, they’ll have a fighting chance. However, if the Oilers go up by a couple possessions early and take Hanover out of what they like to do offensively, it could spell trouble for the ‘Cats.
Whiting will have, by a pretty far margin, the best offense that Hanover Central has seen this season. Look for the Oilers to keep HC off-balance by mixing in a lot of passes with their stout running game.
The Oilers have played in primetime games like this before, unlike their opponent. An early score would not only take Hanover out of their offensive flow, but it could demoralize them as well. That experience could end up being the difference.
FRIDAY NIGHT FORECAST: Whiting 28 Hanover Central 21
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