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Timeout Football: Hobart knows they must play ‘all four quarters’ in rematch with KV

Hobart's Anthony Burgos Anthony Peek force Kankakee Valley's Johnny Morrisfumble first quarter Friday night Kankakee Valley. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times

Hobart's Anthony Burgos and Anthony Peek force Kankakee Valley's Johnny Morrison to fumble in the first quarter Friday night at Kankakee Valley. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 20, 2012 11:15AM



Several times during an interview, Hobart head coach Ryan Turley repeated: “Four quarters of Brickie football.”

He’s making it clear to everyone — his team, especially — that one quarter is not going to be enough.

“We were just outplayed in the first game,” Turley said of the Brickies’ 27-21 loss to Kankakee Valley in Week 4. “It didn’t seem like we woke up until the fourth quarter.”

Hobart (7-2, 5-1 NCC) will have the chance to make amends for that performance when the Brickies head to Kankakee Valley (8-1, 5-1 NCC) on Friday to take on the Kougars in the first round of Class 4A Sectional 10.

“We were proud that our team didn’t quit,” Turley continued. “This time around, if we’re going to have a chance, we need to play all four quarters against them.”

The Kougars held a 27-7 lead in the third quarter of that previous matchup, before Anthony Burgos scored touchdowns on a 75-yard punt return and a 42-yard pass to pull the Brickies within six points. KV hung on for the the victory, though, giving the program its first 4-0 start since 1995.

“We made some mental mistakes,” KV coach Brad Stewart said. “We can’t make those and let a team back into the ballgame.”

Much of the KV offense has been generated by running back Tyler Birky, but it was some of the Kougars’ other weapons that made the big plays.

Johnny Williams racked up 140 yards on eight carries, including a 56-yard scoring run. Depth players like Williams led this year’s KV offense.

“Johnny was the one that stepped up in that game but we’ve had other guys make big plays at certain times,” said Stewart said. “(Running back) Keegan Higgins was big last week, (fullback) Alex Berdine the week before that. We’ve got some versatility with different guys.”

Turley said focusing too much on one player — such as Birky — was a part of his team’s downfall in the regular season.

“KV is a solid team across the board,” he said. “I think our kids were definitely keying on Birky and the next thing you know, another back got us. If we can have all of our guys flying to the ball, we’ll have a good chance.”

Hobart’s offense has its share of weapons, too, starting with running back Ian Drobac.

“It’s no secret that we want to be a running team,” said Turley. “But we also have a very good quarterback and some great receivers. It’s nice to have a good mix there. Our passing has picked up, especially in the second half of the season.”

Said Stewart: “We have to be able to control two different aspects of their game: they have an outstanding back in Drobac and we’ll have to contain him. The passing game is always a big threat and we know that Burgos is one of the best athletes in Northwest Indiana. We can’t let him get yards after the catch.”

Both programs are starving for postseason success. KV has not won a sectional title since 1985. Hobart’s drought reaches back to 1997, despite the Brickies reaching the sectional title game six times since that season.

“Our ultimate goal has always been to be successful in the postseason, what we call the real season,” said Turley. “We talked about being more consistent in the second half of the season because we were on a roller-coaster in the first half. We said if we truly wanted to make a good postseason run, we’d have to be more consistent.”

It’s been a resurgent year for the Kougars, who hadn’t won eight games since 2006. A win on Friday would set a school record with nine wins in a season. And Stewart said he’s expecting an atmosphere worthy of this matchup.

“I think it’s going to be very similar to what our regular season game was, with outstanding crowds on both sides,” he said. “There’s a little more at stake because it’s tournament play. It’s going to be the type of atmosphere you’d expect … a championship-type atmosphere.”



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