FORT WAYNE – The Homestead and Central Noble football teams are on the opposite ends of the streak spectrum.
The Spartans will look to extend a couple of winning streaks – they have won 26 straight regular-season games and 20 straight NHC games. Meanwhile, the Cougars will try to end a 27-game losing streak. Both streaks started in 2010.
Its an honor for those kids who have played in the past, but this is a whole new group and a whole new situation and new foes, Homestead coach Chad Zolman said. Its a tribute to the kids who have come before, but it doesnt mean much about this group yet.
The same goes for a losing streak.
We havent talked about anything that has happened over the last four or five years, first-year Central Noble coach Jeremy Yates said. We are just focusing every day on getting better.
It hasnt been mentioned one time. The losing streak is what it is, and theres nothing we can go back and do to end that. We have to focus on the game at hand.
Tonight, the Spartans (2-0) will face East Noble (2-0), the team that handed them their last regular-season loss. The Knights won 49-46 in a wild game Sept. 3, 2010. Homestead has finished the last two regular seasons unbeaten before losing in the sectional, last year to Snider and two years ago to Kokomo.
Homestead has won outright or shared the last six NHC titles.
We always tell our kids the most important game of the year is the one right in front of us, Zolman said. It should be a very challenging night for us, for sure. This group seems to be very coachable and hungry and a lot of fun.
A lot of good football players has as much to do with (the winning streak) as anything. They care about the game, their teammates, and understand the level of expectations that we have here and have embraced it. Its just something that when we step on the football field, we want our kids to expect to be successful. The expectations of the kids have never changed. I dont think we need to bring that stuff up.
Central Noble (0-2) is looking for its first win since Sept. 17, 2010, when the Cougars beat Fremont 14-7 for the second of back-to-back wins. Central Noble finished 2-8 that year and has limped through two straight 0-10 campaigns.
A win is going to be big for us, especially with the way our schedule is formatted, playing Fairfield, Busco and Lakeland in the first three weeks of the season, Yates said. Thats tough, and it has been tough for (a while) like that.
Both teams have already been close to having their streaks end this year. Homestead defeated Huntington North 37-28 and Valparaiso 21-10, hardly evoking the dominating Spartans of the past. Central Noble was close in Week 1 before losing to Fairfield 35-21, then lost convincingly to Churubusco in Week 2, 42-6.
Teams on the shorter end of the streak scale include Sniders 13 straight regular-season wins, Churubuscos 19 straight NECC wins and Norwells 13 straight regular-season losses.