With Northview (1-4, 1-0), Creekview (4-1, 1-0) will be tasked with slowing an offense that has averaged 32 points per game and operates out of the spread formation.
The Grizzles have had success against the spread this year, as they held Cherokee, which operates out of that offense, to fewer than 170 yards of total offense in the first game of the season.
Creekview has only allowed 13 points per game this season, the stingiest defensive number of any team in the region.
The Grizzlies’ defense will most likely be missing a key player, however, as starting defensive end Austin Weaver is doubtful for Friday’s game due to a bone chip in his shoulder.
While Creekview coach Al Morrell is unsure how long Weaver would be out due to the injury, he didn’t expect Weaver to return soon.
“Right now, his arm is in a sling,” Morrell said. “He hasn’t practiced so far this week, and we don’t anticipate him practicing for the rest of the week. If he’s not out there, it’ll be a big loss.”
The coach said Weaver, one of the Grizzlies’ leading tacklers, is not only one of the team’s best pass rushers, but he also has the ability to drop back to defend against the pass, something he had planned on using Weaver for against Northview.
“Not only is he good at rushing the quarterback, but we have some schemes where Austin drops out to the flats to cover out wide,” Morrell said. “Without him, it is going to affect us defensively in both of those areas.”
With Weaver in doubt, Morrell has been searching for someone with a similar skill set to fill in at defensive end, though the coach admitted that it had been a struggle so far to find an adequate replacement.
“We are still searching for someone to replace him, but so far, we haven’t found anyone of his caliber,” Morrell said.
Morrell insisted, however, that Creekview would not change its defensive game plan to compensate for Weaver’s absence.
“We are going to stay with what we usually do and just try to find someone to replace him,” Morrell said.
Even without Weaver, Morrell said he was cautiously optimistic concerning his defense’s ability to stop Northview’s offense.
“Defensively, our team has done very well against the spread so far this season,” Morrell said.
Offensively, Morrell expressed his desire to establish the running game before taking to the air.
While he expects the Grizzlies to reap the benefits of having wide receiver Hunter Udall healthy for the second week in a row, Creekview will once again be without receiver Brandon Wright, who tore a calf muscle two weeks ago.