For the first time in six weeks, Triton Central football coach Tim Able will have a full roster intact.
Injuries stretched the Tigers’ roster thin over the last five weeks which resulted in a 2-3 record after starting the season 2-0.
“I feel better about our overall balance,” said Able. “Our backup roles are pretty solid now.”
Triton Central (4-3, 2-3 Indiana Crossroads Conference) will spend the last two weeks of the regular season on the road starting Friday at Beech Grove (3-4, 2-4 ICC) before closing out the schedule on Oct. 15 at Class 2A, No. 10 Speedway (6-1, 4-1 ICC).
Already eliminated from winning the conference championship, Able will spend the last two weeks making sure his team is healthy and ready for the postseason.
“That’s what we’re trying to do … we just have to do it on the field,” said Able. “The kids have been excellent with their attitudes the last couple of weeks. They are learning the system inside and out. Tonight (Wednesday), the offense was fluid and sharp. You can tell everybody is back.”
Starting quarterback Jace Stuckey returns to the field after missing two weeks with an arm injury. The sophomore has completed 54% of his pass attempts for 684 yards and six touchdowns.
Ray Crawford continues to lead the team in rushing with 757 yards and six touchdowns.
Brayden Wilkins (20 carries, 114 yards) returns from injury as well giving Able a full complement of backs with Brad Schultz, Lucas Kleeman and Jaquan Blake.
Stuckey’s return also allows the Tigers to open up the offense downfield with Devon Emberton (19 receptions, 235 yards, 3 TDs), Crawford (14 receptions, 222 yards, 2 TDs), Anthony Dunville (14 receptions, 179 yards, 1 TD) and Schultz (11 receptions, 104 yards, 1 TD).
Stuckey may need all his weapons to keep up with Beech Grove.
Quarterback Adonis Adams (6-foot-3, 2-5 pounds) has thrown for 1,279 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. The junior also has thrown nine interceptions.
Adams has four receivers that have combined for 55 catches, 950 yards and 10 touchdowns. Steven Edmonds (5-11, 155) leads the way with 18 receptions; Aeden Crawley (5-11, 185) has 15; Eric Freeman (5-9, 165) has 12; and Skyler Thacker (5-10, 165) has 10.
“They are very athletic offensively,” said Able. “They are an up-and-down team but they are very talented.”
While the Hornets have averaged 28 points per contest, their defense is allowing 27 ppg.
With a 36-12 win over Monrovia last week, Class A, No. 1 Lutheran (7-0, 6-0 ICC) is all alone atop the ICC standings. Speedway and Monrovia are both 4-1 vs. ICC foes.
Triton Central leads the bottom half of the eight-team conference.
On Friday, Ritter (0-7, 0-5 ICC) is at Scecina (4-3, 3-2 ICC); Monrovia (5-2) travels to Cascade (2-5, 0-5 ICC); and Speedway is at Lutheran.
Triton Central has played for a sectional championship in all eight of Able’s seasons in Fairland. The path to a ninth-straight appearance will become visible Sunday when the Indiana High School Athletic Association airs its football pairings show on IHSAAtv.org.
Able has no special plans to watch the show, citing the need to prep for a showdown at Speedway.
“I will wait until next week because we’ve got another team to play,” he said. “The following week we will worry about that. We will take care of it when it comes. We can’t control (who we draw). We will just see how it works out … but I feel good about our chances in the tournament.”
Triton Central and Paoli (4-1) are the only two teams in Sectional 39 with winning records headed into week eight of the season.
Providence (3-4), Mitchell (3-3) and Union County (3-3) each have three wins. The rest of the sectional includes Switzerland County (2-4), Clarksville (1-6) and Eastern (Pekin) (0-4).
The only intersectional result of the season so far is Providence’s 46-27 win at Clarksville on Sept. 10.