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Thunderbirds continue search for first win

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Eastern Greene Thunderbirds fell to 0-2 on the season following a 19-6 loss at North Knox last Friday night. This week they will try to notch their first victory of 2012 against the visiting North Daviess Cougars at Little Cincinnati. Above, Eastern Greene quarterback Briar Martindale (6) shows frustration after being sacked by North Knox senior Alex Smith late in the game. (By Donna Curl). [Order this photo]
LITTLE CINCINNATI -- There was very little good Eastern Greene head coach Luke Dean was able to find in his team's 19-6 loss at North Knox last Friday night.

Aside from scoring their first points of the season, Dean was expectedly disappointed in his team's performance.

They were held to negative yardage on the ground and were victimized for 205 rushing yardage themselves. What does this have to do with this week?

Well, the Thunderbirds (0-2, 0-2) face Southwest Seven Conference foe North Daviess (1-1, 0-1) and the Cougars have always been known as a grind-it-out type of football team -- and Dean doesn't expect any less this week.

"It's not going to get any easier," Dean said after the loss at Bicknell. "Watching North Daviess in the scrimmage against these guys, they took it to these guys a little bit. It's not getting any easier from here on out."

The Cougars have pretty much controlled things in the brief seven game series between the two schools.

Despite a 19-6 win in their first meeting in 2005 -- which was the Thunderbirds first win in school history -- the outcomes have been bleak from Eastern Greene's standpoint.

The Cougars have won the last six in a row, including a 33-27 win at Elnora a season ago. That was the second most points the Thunderbirds have managed to put on the scoreboard against a North Daviess team.

They have posted 14 points twice -- both were lopsided losses 54-14 in 2009 and 48-14 in 2010.

EGHS was shutout in a 14-0 loss in 2007 and were routed in a 36-8 loss the following season.

The Cougars enter the contest on a bit of a sour note splitting their first two games. An opening night win over Tecumseh 34-28 followed a 42-18 SW7 loss to North Central.

Both games were at Cougar Valley.

For the Thunderbirds it's been a disappointing start.

They opened at home with a 40-0 loss to conference powerhouse Linton-Stockton ahead of last week's road trip debacle.

Dean is well aware of what to expect from the Cougars on Friday night, it's his own team's inconsistency that likely has him chewing Rolaids in his office.

They've ran the football for just 157 total yards in their first games while allowing 460. Don't expect the rushing to be a secondary matter when the Cougars come calling.

North Daviess has never been considered a passing team under coach Scotty Helms. He's more of a chew it up and grind it out style coach so Dean put it as simply as he could.

"They're going to just power the football right at us," he said. "We've got to figure something out, we've got to stop the run."

Points have been a premium as well for the Thunderbirds. They average right at three points per game while allowing nearly 30.

Granted, those numbers are skewed because of a small sample size, but they also could be an indication of things to come.

If there's a light at the end of the tunnel for the Thunderbirds, it comes in knowing that the Cougars defensively are no juggernaut.

They've given up an average of 35 while scoring an average of 26, so there is hope for Eastern Greene to hit paydirt more than once.

But, that will come only if they can find a way to spring loose tailback Jared Groomer.

In his first outing against the Miners he rambled for 100 yards before being limited to just 11 yards on 11 carries by the North Knox defense.

While the overall picture seems muddied at this time, the passing game has been the bright spot to those observing outside the Thunderbirdth camp.

In his two starts quarterback Briar Martindale has been able to pass effectively, albeit sparingly against Linton-Stockton, for 339 yards.

When he's not throwing, he's also a weapon in preventing further damage. He has proven he can get outside of the rush and make forward progress.

Even with all of that, the game is likely to come down to how well the Eastern Greene defense responds to the challenge their coach will undoubtedly issue in practice this week.

The game is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff Friday at Little Cincinnati.

Eastern Greene football series

vs. North Daviess

North Daviess leads series 6-1


2005 -- Eastern Greene 19, NORTH DAVIESS 6

2006 -- NORTH DAVIESS 16, Eastern Greene 8

2007 -- NORTH DAVIESS 14, Eastern Greene 0

2008 -- North Daviess 36, EASTERN GREENE 8

2009 -- NORTH DAVIESS 54, Eastern Greene 14

2010 -- North Daviess 48, EASTERN GREENE 14

2011 -- NORTH DAVIESS 33, Eastern Greene 27

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