Triton Central takes a step up in competition in week two of the IHSAA football season with a showdown looming in week three against the top-ranked team in Class A -- Indianapolis Lutheran.
Class 2A, No. 7-ranked Triton Central (1-0) hosts Greensburg (1-0), a 42-21 winner over Shelbyville in week one, at Bud Mendenhall Field Friday in Fairland. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
“They are always a big athletic team,” said Triton Central head coach Tim Able, now in his ninth year with the Tigers (73-27 record over that span). “Offensively, they give you multiple looks. The quarterback throws well and the receivers can go get it.”
Last week against Shelbyville, junior quarterback Sam West (6-5, 205) completed 6-of-12 pass attempts for 124 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball 11 times for 95 yards and another score.
Freshman running back Kaden Acton (5-9, 165) had seven carries for 78 yards and a touchdown in his varsity debut, which also included an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
“They’ve got size and speed … they’ve got everything you need to be a good team,” said Able.
Head coach Scott Moore is in his 14th year at Greensburg and is 69-69 after the Pirates’ season-opening victory.
At Cascade in its season opener, Triton Central simply wore down the Cadets. The ground game behind a revamped offensive line racked up 223 yards and two touchdowns while protecting sophomore quarterback Jace Stuckey, who threw four touchdown passes.
Two sophomores and a freshman are listed as starters on the offensive line in week two. Jayden Mays (5-11, 205) is the only senior. Junior Aden Sosbe (6-1, 260) is the other starting guard with Mays. Sophomore Henry Smith (5-7, 170) gets the call at center while sophomore Max Ray (6-0, 235) and freshman Colton Crawford (6-1, 205) are the starting tackles.
Ray Crawford started his sophomore season with a target on his back. That’s the result of rushing for 1,300 yards as a freshman. But in his 2021 debut, Crawford proved just as dangerous as a receiver, hauling in TD passes of 62 and 55 yards.
In the Tigers’ 45-7 win, Crawford had 117 yards receiving and 94 yards rushing. That was enough to cause Able to quip after the game, “Who thought Ray would have more receiving yards than rushing yards?”
Stuckey made several nice throws in the win – and held on to the ball too long in other passing situations. Able believes the sophomore learned a valuable lesson from his first Friday night under the lights as a starting signal caller.
“There was a lot of good stuff and a lot of things he needs to clean up,” said Able. Stuckey twice was called for intentional grounding when he tried to throw the ball away. “He has to have a clock in his head and get the ball out. He has to throw it away or scramble.”
Triton Central and Greensburg will each have a second opponent to deal with Friday – the heat. With soaring temperatures and high heat indexes all week, Able has had the Tigers practicing inside in sweat pants to get used to the heat then go outside and finish practice on the artificial turf at Mendenhall Field.
Conditioning is crucial for Triton Central, which does not have great depth at the varsity level yet.
“It’s going to be hot,” said Able of Friday’s forecast. “And when it is you can’t warm up as much as you like … you can’t get in a rhythm. You don’t want to sweat too much.”
This is the fourth-straight season that the Pirates and Tigers are week two opponents. Triton Central has won the first three by an average of 30 points.