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Vikings set to host Columbia City in NE8 duel

RUSH: Garret Johnson carries the ball during Huntington North’s 36–20 loss at East Noble on Friday.

by Eric Andrews - eandrews@h-ponline.com

The Huntington North football team will return to the gridiron on Friday to resume their Northeast 8 Conference (NE8) schedule on Friday, hosting Columbia City at Kriegbaum Field.

The Vikings enter Friday sporting a 2–1 overall record, including an 0–1 mark in NE8 play having fallen 36–20 to East Noble last week.

After trailing 14–10 with three minutes left in the third quarter, the Knights came to life down the stretch, scoring three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to hold off Huntington North’s upset bid.

The Vikes posted over 300 yards of offense in the defeat, including 219 yards on the ground. Junior Lawson Shearer led the way with 97 yards on 20 carries, while senior Deven Newcomb picked up Huntington North’s lone rushing touchdown of the game.

Junior quarterback Reid Johnson threw his first two touchdown passes of the season in the loss, both of which were hauled in by sophomore Cam McCarver. McCarver led his team with 62 receiving yards on six catches.

Despite the Vikings’ coming up on the short end of the outcome, head coach Bob Prescott was pleased with his team’s showing and believes they can continue their strong play through effort and enthusiasm on Friday. With that, though, Prescott also knows his squad has things to work on in order to pick up a win.

Prescott noted a few poor decisions and penalty issues ruined some important drives against East Noble, which could have changed the course of the game had there been different outcomes.

“Just little things (need to be fixed), which is a great problem to have,” Prescott said. “That we’re that close (is good) and now we just keep encouraging and telling them to keep working even harder and let’s just clean up the little stuff.”

Meanwhile, Columbia City enters Friday’s contest holding a spotless 3–0 record, including a convincing 44–0 whitewashing of Bellmont in a NE8 battle last week.

The Eagles’ quarterback, Greg Bolt, threw four touchdown passes in the win, connecting with Michael Sievers for three of them. Sievers also added a 78 yard rushing touchdown late in the game to seal the victory for Columbia City. The Eagles held Bellmont to just 120 yards throughout the matchup.

Huntington North holds a narrow 5–4 edge in the all time series between the schools. However, Columbia City has held the upper hand of late, winning each of the last four meetings, including a 36–7 decision on Sept. 7, 2018.

The Eagles possess a 53.70 Sagarin rating, good for 28th on 4A, while the Vikings sport a 50.38 rating, good for 35th in 4A. As such, the Sagarin rating predictor would indicate a five point victory for Columbia City, though John Harrell predicts a 31–24 outcome for the Eagles.

Opening kickoff for the duel is slated for 7 p.m.