White Pigeon (2-1) heads to New Buffalo (0-3) Friday.The Chiefs are coming off a 34-7 home loss to Watervliet, which is currently just outside the Associated Press Division 6 top-10 poll. The Bison have been outscored 135-27 so far this season in losses to Cassopolis, Climax-Scotts and Niles Brandywine.
Chiefs coach Joseph Morsaw said junior split end/linebacker Mike Crowl has a strained ligament and was held out of the more rigorous portions of practice this week. Crowl’s status for Friday is uncertain.
Scouting New Buffalo
“New Buffalo has many athletes in their school and they excel in baseball,” Morsaw said. “The same athletes play football but struggle getting a cohesive group together on the football field. Athlete for athlete I think we match up at many positions. The big difference is we have a few athletes who are outstanding at their position and can overwhelm their opponent.
“New Buffalo had their starting QB injured last week which made them deviate from their [spread motion] offense to a power-I look with their backup. We will prepare our defense for both scenarios and keep them from moving the ball on the ground or through the air.”
Senior linebacker Chas Rathburn leads White Pigeon with 33.5 tackles and five for loss. Senior linebacker Shaun Harmon also has five tackles for loss and has locked down the edge on the outside this year. Perhaps overshadowed, but no less important, have been the performances of senior defensive tackle Mitch Black, “who applies pressure up the middle but is double teamed most of the time,” Morsaw said, and senior cornerback Matt Eger, who is “a good ball hawk and seems to come out of nowhere and knock many balls out of the air, and is a sure tackler when the ball comes to his side.”
By The Numbers
Morsaw said he’s seen drastic improvement in point-after attempts this season.
“We were horrible in kicking or converting our PATs last year,” he explained.
Junior Chase Personette is 5 for 7 on PAT tries and the Chiefs are operating at a 50-percent clip on 2-point conversions. White Pigeon has also registered at least one red-zone stop in each of its first three contests.
Surveying the St. Joseph Valley
No league games have been played yet, but Morsaw has certainly been paying attention to Centreville, Mendon and Bronson’s early-season results.
“I’m surprised we have not seen more success with Bronson (1-2),” he said. “With the loss of their old coach, Jeff Gallup, it appeared they kept the program with the same offense/defense but have been struggling through their first three games. Mendon (ranked No. 2 in Division 8) is still the powerhouse they have been for the past decade and we will see how we are both clicking in our upcoming games.”