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Greg Jones

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Today
Bishop Luers at Leo, 7 p.m.
Concordia at South Side, 7 p.m.
Northrop at Dwenger, 7 p.m.
Snider at Penn, 7:30 p.m.
Wayne at North Side, 7 p.m.
Bellmont at Norwell, 7 p.m.
Col. City at Homestead, 7 p.m.
East Noble at DeKalb, 7 p.m.
New Haven at Carroll, 7 p.m.
Adams Central at Garrett, 7 p.m.
Bluffton at Woodlan, 7 p.m.
Heritage at South Adams, 7 p.m.
Angola at Lakeland, 7 p.m.
Eastside at Churubusco, 7 p.m.
Prairie Hts. at Cent. Noble, 7 p.m.
So. Wells at Fremont, 7:30 p.m.
West Noble at Fairfield, 7 p.m.
Concord at Wawasee, 7:30 p.m.
Huntington N. at Kokomo, 7 p.m.
Manchester at Whitko, 7 p.m.
Southwood at Tippy Valley, 7 p.m.
Warsaw at Elkhart Memorial, 7:30 p.m. Updates
•Keep track of Friday’s scores on your phone at www.jgmobile.net/fbscores

Carroll, New Haven depend on defense

The numbers may indicate the New Haven-Carroll matchup will be all about the offenses, but both coaches say that may not be the case.

The battle of unbeatens has teams that have put up a lot of points – the Chargers (3-0, 1-0 NHC) have scored 166 points, the Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0) have scored 164. Last week, Carroll set a school record for single-game points in a 70-15 win over Norwell, while New Haven won 54-0 over DeKalb.

While one would expect a crowd-pleasing offensive shootout, the defenses aren’t too shabby either.

Carroll has outscored its opponents an average of 55.3 to 7.0, while New Haven has had an advantage of 54.7 to 14.0.

“The defenses might be the story,” New Haven coach Jim Rowland said. “Going in, there is a lot of attention on the offenses because both teams are scoring a lot of points, but both defensive units are a little underappreciated and undervalued. The defenses are going to play a bigger part in the game than a lot of people are predicting.

“A lot of the points we are both putting up is because the defenses are creating turnovers and getting good field position for the offenses. Points per game is misleading because defensive scores still go on your points per game, the offense had nothing to do with it. The defense is sometimes overlooked when it comes to the points per game that a team is putting up.”

The teams have the two top-scoring offenses in the NHC. The third-best point total in the conference is East Noble’s 106 points.

Carroll is led by running back Drue Tranquill, who can get into the end zone in a variety of ways. He has accounted for 579 yards of total offense, has rushed for 409 yards and has scored 11 touchdowns. His brother, receiver Justin Tranquill, has 250 yards of total offense and four touchdowns. Carroll quarterback Chandler Boggs has 502 yards passing and has thrown for three touchdowns.

“After three weeks of the season, it is a bit premature to characterize our offense as high-powered,” Carroll coach Doug Dinan said. “So far in the season we have been fortunate to play the short field for several drives and capitalize on takeaways by the defense.

“Regardless of the level of play – high school, college or pro – playing sound fundamental defense is the key to success. The team that plays the toughest defense, creates the most turnovers and takes advantage of field position is the team that is most successful.”

The Bulldogs have their own superstar, receiver Jordan Hogue, who has 382 yards receiving and six touchdowns. Quarterback Vance Shearer has thrown for 509 yards and eight scores, while running back Ariest Vasquez has 397 yards and 10 touchdowns.

New Haven put up 61 points in Week 1 against Heritage, which had 21 points.

“Both offenses are equipped to spread the ball around,” Rowland said. “It’s going to be an interesting game.”

One thing is for sure: It will be a matchup worthy of watching for fans, regardless of the point totals.

“We are looking at this game as an exciting opportunity to go out and see how good we are,” Rowland said. “It is a measuring stick and a big game for us.”

Greg Jones is the high school sports editor for The Journal Gazette and has been covering sports in the Fort Wayne area since 1998. He can be reached by email gjones@jg.net; phone, 461-8224; or fax 461-8648.

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