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McCutcheon, Harrison football eagerly awaiting rematch in sectional

October 18, 2012
Harrison ( West Lafayette ) High School

As two football teams with one victory between them, a tough sectional draw could have overshadowed the past two weeks for Harrison and McCutcheon.

Instead, drawing each other for the first round of the Class 5A, Sectional 4 tournament has invigorated the Tippecanoe School Corp. rivals. It’s the fifth sectional meeting between the Raiders and Mavericks and first since 2008, when Harrison won 42-14 at home.

“It’s always a great atmosphere,” McCutcheon senior defensive lineman Nick Mack said. “I hope we have a large crowd on both sides again, and an even larger crowd on our side.”

Thunderstorms postponed the team’s scheduled Sept. 7 meeting by one day. The Mavericks eventually won 40-6 at Rickard Field to retain The Sword, the teams’ traveling trophy. It was McCutcheon’s only victory, and the Raiders are trying to end a 25-game losing streak .

“When we found out, everyone was really excited about it,” Harrison senior defensive back Zach Linzey said. “We really want another shot at those guys. Yesterday at practice was really energetic.”

The Mavericks led 13-6 at halftime of the regular-season meeting, with Harrison scoring on a Jake Lasky-to-Nathan Brown touchdown pass late in the first half. But McCutcheon dominated the second half, holding the Raiders to 5 net yards and no first downs.

The Raiders have made some personnel changes since then, partially due to injuries. Daniel Wright, Harrison’s leading rusher in four of the last five games, had no carries in the first McCutcheon game.

“We weren’t able to run the ball effectively against McCutcheon,” Harrison coach Tony Martin said. “On the other hand, we have to effectively pass the football.

“Putting it together this week is the key if you want to play another week. That’s true for every team across the state.”

Mavericks junior Nate Deno rushed for 238 of McCutcheon’s 498 offensive yards against Harrison. While McCutcheon won easily, the Mavericks did commit seven penalties for 74 yards.

McCutcheon coach Ken Frauhiger said senior quarterback Matt Marencik had his best passing game of the season last week against Noblesville, but it wasn’t evident due to eight Maverick drops.

“We have to do a better job not shooting ourselves in the foot,” Frauhiger said.

Neither program has experienced a sectional victory in the past four seasons. The rivals’ 43rd meeting could provide lasting memories for seniors on either team.

“I think we’d enjoy playing each other nine times out of the nine (in the regular season), because it brings a little more of the emotion into it,” Martin said.

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