NAPPANEE — The NorthWood football team will indeed play a game this week.
After their regularly scheduled game against East Noble was canceled Wednesday night, NorthWood athletic director Roman Smith announced Thursday afternoon that the Panthers (1-0) will travel to Logansport (1-0) Friday night in non-conference football action. The Berries’ originally scheduled game against Northwestern was canceled Thursday morning due to COVID-19 issues at Northwestern.
“It feels incredible to have a game,” Smith said. “Coach (Nate) Andrews and his staff, as well as our office, did a great job of just touching base with a lot of different people, making things happen. I’m glad that we can travel to (Class) 4A Logansport and have a good game on Friday.”
Smith said he wasn’t sure all week whether East Noble was going to be able to play all week and started monitoring other teams’ cancelations.
“You started seeing some things happen with East Noble that weren’t positive,” Smith said. “So, I met with our dean of athletics, AJ Risedorph, and just touched base with him and said, ‘Hey, there’s a lot of information as far as games getting canceled. Let’s keep those in our back pocket in case something transpires.’”
Once East Noble school officials decided to cancel all in-person schooling and extracurricular activities until this Tuesday, Aug. 31, Smith and his staff were ready to put those contingency plans into place.
Smith shed some light on how the 18-hour stretch went from the Wednesday night cancelation to agreeing to play Logansport Thursday afternoon.
“The first initial thought talking with (East Noble) athletic director Nick David was just making sure he was OK, and I asked him if he needed anything from me … At that point, we started making phone calls and looking at all the different forums to see which teams were available,” Smith said. “Me, coach Andrews and AJ, we went to work and got a pretty good list of teams, and those also grew over the course of (Thursday). Same fell, some we stayed in constant communication with.
“I’ll be honest: Logansport was probably done in the last hour-and-a-half. I feel very fortunate that coach Andrews and our department were able to get that done.”
NorthWood now gets to play another Class 4A team in the Berries, who were a 36-8 winner over Peru in week one. The Panthers knocked off Jimtown, 7-6, in their opening contest at home. Logansport is coming off a season where they won a sectional championship before falling to Hobart in the regional round.
Being able to find a quality opponent on short notice was a nice bonus for Smith and the rest of the NorthWood football coaching staff.
“We had an array of different opponents (Thursday), and talking with coach Andrews, we were on the same page: it had to make sense competitively; it had to make sense for our players,” Smith said. “We did have an opportunity with a couple other schools that probably would’ve been big names schools within Indiana, as well as across the border. But just talking with our personnel, knowing what we have and everything, Logansport made sense; 4A school that competes in a tough, tough conference. … It’s not a matchup you see very often, but we’re excited about it.”
UPDATED WEEK TWO PREP FOOTBALL SCHEDULE — All games kickoff 7:00 p.m.
*New: NorthWood at Logansport
South Bend Clay at Goshen
Jimtown at Concord
South Bend St. Joseph at Northridge
Wawasee at West Noble
Churubusco at Lakeland
South Bend Adams at Fairfield
Non-TGN coverage area game of the week: Elkhart at Mishawaka