The wait has been longer than anticipated, but North Knox’s football team is finally playing a game on its home field tonight when Tecumseh comes to Bicknell for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
The Warriors (1-1) were supposed to host Owen Valley in their scrimmage three weeks ago, but construction to the Warrior field entrance, that includes a wrought iron fence, upper deck and aisles hadn’t been completed. So in essence, North Knox has played three consecutive weeks away from home.
“For this team, I kind of liked opening away from home, so we could just show up and play,” Warriors coach Josh Chambers said. “But we really haven’t seen our place yet. I know the kids are excited about it, unveiling our new stadium. We want to hear our home crowd, and I would think they would like the way we’ve played so far.”
North Knox is coming off a 65-0 rout of Eastern Greene last Friday, its most lopsided win since 2013. The Warriors haven’t allowed a point in the last seven quarters, stemming from the Sullivan opener. They scored on all 10 possessions last week, with senior Cole Richter and sophomore Rhett Sheren tallying three touchdowns apiece. North Knox racked up 592 yards of offense.
Richter has rushed for 247 yards on 28 carries with four touchdowns this season. Junior quarterback Reece Hammelman has completed 11-of-20 passes for 202 yards and a pair of scores.
Chambers expressed concern that last week’s win was too easy.
“I would like to come off a more competitive game. Our varsity only really played two quarters, so they missed game reps,” Chambers said. “On the flip side of that, we got younger guys meaningful time, and they played well in the second half.”
The coach is thrilled with his team’s defense, with senior linebackers Troy Noland and Matt Urbain, along with sophomore end Beau Noland among those standing out.
“That was an area we harped about after last season. We didn’t think we got better defensively as the year went along,” Chambers said. “The coaches have put in a lot of effort on that side of the ball. Players have gotten more physical and are trusting their reads. Since that first quarter against Sullivan, they’ve been stingy. We didn’t lose a lot playing JV kids in the second half last week either.”
Tecumseh (1-1) has the same record as the Warriors, with some conflicting scores. North Daviess routed the host Braves in the opener, 42-2, but Tecumseh rebounded for a 39-6 victory at Pike Central.
Junior running back Travis Parker ran for 1,464 yards a year ago, but was held to 21 yards against North Knox last year in the Warriors’ 52-7 win. Senior quarterback Griffin Tuley returns, having thrown for 460 yards and ran for 132 last season.
“I’ve had a hard time getting a solid read on them from the film. I’m not sure how good North Daviess or Pike Central are,” Chambers said. “They are athletic, run a spread offense and are going to try to work the ball into space. They’re more athletic than Eastern Greene, but I do believe we have a size and speed advantage.
“They don’t have as much coming back on defense as they did a year ago.”
The Braves have posted 4-7 record in three of their last four years, and North Knox has defeated Tecumseh the last three years since becoming a part of the schedule.
“It’s a game I want to see us be crisp and take care of business. The tougher part of our schedule is coming up fast,” Chambers said. “We didn’t execute some things offensively last week that we need to clean up. We didn’t miss many blocks, but we missed some things in the passing games and our running backs missed some holes.
“The defense I’m not going to complain about. They haven’t missed a lot of tackles and the intensity is there.”