T-Birds look for first win in young season
LITTLE CINCINNATI -- Three is a magic number -- or at least it would be for the Eastern Greene Thunderbirds against North Knox.
Only twice in the relatively brief history of Eastern Greene football have the Thunderbirds been successful over their Southwest Conference rivals. And this year it likely won't get any easier.
The Warriors walked off the field at Bicknell last weekend with a school record and state-leading 79 points under their belt against a seemingly always hapless Pike Central team while the T-Birds found themselves on the short end of a 50-12 loss at Linton-Stockton.
Overall the Thunderbirds are 2-9 against North Knox. The first win came in 2009 at Little Cincinnati when they prevailed 20-13.
Their most recent triumph came when the T-Birds won their first postseason contest. It came in 2011 at North Knox's expense 22-20 at Bicknell.
Since, in between and before the Warriors have held a steady hand in the series since its inception in 2003.
Dean enters the 2013 meeting hoping to avenge a 19-6 loss last year on the road.
"North Knox is a tough, physical team," Dean said. "They hit us straight in the mouth last year."
He doesn't expect anything less this time around against a team that racked up 556 total yards of offense against the Chargers -- the majority of which came in a 454 yard rushing onslaught that saw Jordan Meurer, Austin Miller, Dustin Davis, Skyler Ballew and Dylan Hagemeier all hit paydirt on the ground.
Quarterback J.D. Graman only touched the PC defense for a paltry 46 of the Warriors total 22 yards, but he was just effective enough doing it tossing a scoring strike to Brett Ridgeway.
Dean hopes to see his team overcome the offensive sluggishness and misfires that defined them in three of their first four quarters against the Miners.
After quarterback Briar Martindale connected with Cody Hopkins and Keith Ringer in the first quarter to cut the Linton-Stockton lead to 14-12, the offense was virtually no factor the rest of the night.
Now Dean worries that could happen again against a Warrior squad that gave up just 147 total yards to Pike Central in last week's 79-8 decision.
"We know they'll come out and try to do the same thing Linton did last week," Dean said. "They will try to push us around and we can't let that happen."
Dean's squad was also looking for an identity as they try to replace the stable, powerful and graduated legs of Jarred Groomer.
Cole Postell handled the majority of the duties against Linton-Stockton and finished with 23 yards on 12 carries.
Martindale found the going tough through the air after the two initial successes. He threw for 177 yards and the two scores, but he was also intercepted twice.
Hopkins proved to be the most dangerous of the receivers hauling four Martindale throws for 111 yards while Ringer added another 44 to the final air tally.
While the forecast may be one of doom and gloom to the outsiders looking in at the game, the computer rankings of Bloomington's Jeff Sagarin say the Thunderbirds are a 5-point favorite.
How that translate to the real world will decided on Friday at 7 p.m. at Little Cincinnati.
Eastern Greene football series
vs. North Knox
North Knox leads series 9-2
HOME TEAM IN CAPS
2003 -- North Knox 32, EASTERN GREENE 7
2004 -- NORTH KNOX 19, Eastern Greene 6
2005 -- North Knox 28, EASTERN GREENE 0
2006 -- NORTH KNOX 15, Eastern Greene 0
2007 -- North Knox 56, EASTERN GREENE 14
2008 -- NORTH KNOX 49, Eastern Greene 14
2009 -- EASTERN GREENE 20, North Knox 13
2010 -- NORTH KNOX 27, Eastern Greene 21
2011 -- North Knox 35, EASTERN GREENE 13
2011 -- *Eastern Greene 22, NORTH KNOX 20
2012 -- NORTH KNOX 19, Eastern Greene 6