Concord was wobbly for a few weeks, but the Minutemen are back on their feet.
A lopsided victory last Friday over Northridge was a good salve to soothe the Minutemen’s wounds following back-to-back losses to Jimtown and Plymouth.
Now comes the real question: Did a win over a winless Raider team truly get Concord ready for Friday’s NLC championship match Warsaw?
Tim Dawson thinks so.
“A win does cure things and it does help for a better week of practice,’’ said Dawson, the Minutemen’s head coach. “You talk about playing for a championship and now we’re finally at the game where at the end of it there’s a trophy awarded and that’s important.
“I feel very good, they’re confident. (Against Northridge) we never punted the ball ... when you do that, that’s pretty special,’’ Dawson said. “The kids played hard, they were excited and we were encouraged by all three phases of the game. It was never a game where it got close.”
Concord, Warsaw and Plymouth all have a chance to claim the NLC trophy. The Rockies, which play at home to NorthWood on Friday, would share with the Minutemen-Tigers survivor.
If the Panthers upend Plymouth, then the Concord-Warsaw winner grabs the title.
For the Minutemen, it would mark the first time in school history that football had won three straight conference crowns. The last NLC program to win or share three straight was Warsaw from 1999-2001.
NorthWood, from 1991-96, was the last Elkhart County school to win three consecutive NLC titles.
According to Dawson, the Minutemen have to withstand Warsaw’s “will’’ on Friday.
“They are as about a vanilla of a team on offense with formations and what they like to do,’’ Dawson said. “They impose their will. We’ve got a dose of it ... we played Jimtown, we played Plymouth. It’s not going to be any secret what they want to do ... they want to give (Tristan McClone) the ball 35 times and mix in some play-action passes.
“We’re on the road, it’s enemy territory, a conference title on the line ... we are the defending champion and we have a chance to add to it.’’
It isn’t exactly “Air Baugo,’’ but Jimtown has carved out another 8-0 record and a Class 3A No. 1 ranking with more than just a talented backfield and stable of running backs.
With Brody Olson tossing passes and tight end Carter Gill a lethal target, the Jimmies are logging school record-setting numbers in the passing game.
Gill has caught a JHS single-season mark of eight TD’s this year, breaking Landon Gilbert’s total of 7 in 1998, and Olson, with 12 TD passes, is within five of Robert Menchinger’s 1999 mark of 17.
Olson also is eyeing team marks for completion percentage and yards per reception. The senior currently has connected on 28-of-46 (60.9 percent) and 636 — an average of 22.7 yards per catch. Gill has 11 receptions for 312 —28.4 per catch.