Undefeated Irish prepare for season’s first home game

Team will host perennial powerhouse Penn on Sept. 3

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Callie Helm

Head Coach Mr. Bill Peebles ’88 addresses the Irish after the team’s season-opening win at Westfield.

Will Mayer, Sports Editor

After defeating Brownsburg 20-7 on Aug. 27, the Fighting Irish now set their sites on Penn and the first home game of the season on Sept. 3.

Head Football Coach Mr. Bill Peebles ‘88 provided an inside look on the Irish and how they hope to keep the undefeated streak alive.

Peebles, immediately after the Brownsburg game, said, “We’ve played both of our first two opponents this year at a time where they were ranked Top 5 in the state. Westfield was Number 2 in the state and Brownsburg was Number 3 in the state. We play the Number-1 team in the state, Center Grove, Week 9.

“We came out of (the Brownsburg) game 2-0 with the defense playing great. I think our special teams took a big step in the right direction. I think the offense is still a work in progress and we’re going to get better. It’s something we’re really going to have to focus on because we’re not where we want to be offensively. But to be 2-0 against the Number 2 and 3 teams in 6A is a big deal, and I think we’re very happy with where we’re at.”

Establishing an identity on the offensive side of the ball has been an issue for the Irish early on, according to Peebles. The offense is right on the cusp of making the big plays on a consistent basis. They have been the missing piece to the puzzle for this football team. Peebles said, “There are a lot of things that go into (completing passes). Protection, quarterback operation time, quarterback reads, and receivers hanging onto the ball. All of those things go into making those plays on a consistent basis.”

One of those completed passes was caught by junior wide receiver Jaron Tibbs for an 80-yard passing touchdown on the Irish’s first offensive play from scrimmage.

Peebles, making his preparations for the Penn, said, “I think every week, instead of worrying about them, we need to worry about us. We’ve got to be sure we’re doing things the right way. Penn is a big powerhouse. They’ve won multiple state championships. They’ve been in a lot of State championship games. But they are 0-2 this year so they might be a little bit down. We just have to worry about us and get better.

Things we need to take away: number one; we have to eliminate stupid penalties. There were multiple drives that that extended drives for Brownsburg because our defense made some dumb penalties. We had multiple drives, especially in the second half, where our offense ended drives because of penalties. So we have to make sure we’re cleaning things up and getting better, ourselves. We can’t get caught up in our record. We can’t get caught up in anything except for the fact that we have to get better every single week.”

The common mistakes that kept the Irish from scoring more against Brownsburg were penalties. Peebles said, “We’re going to be doing 96 up-downs this week,” referring to the number of penalty yards in the game.

Peebles said, “Our kids just have to be more cognizant of what’s going on. We had a very good officiating crew against Brownsburg. Every officiating crew makes mistakes, but if you set the tone that you’re going to be the dumb team, you’re going to get more penalties. Last night, we set the tone that we were going to be the ‘dumb team.’”

The offensive holding penalty was the most called penalty for the Irish.

On the other hand, the Irish defense had another phenomenal outing against Brownsburg. They have continued to look strong throughout the young season. Jeff Utzinger and Bryce Llewellyn each came up with one interception. Utzinger and Jack Goheen also blocked a Brownsburg punt in the Irish red zone, which allowed Dom Siebal to pick up the ball for a scoop and score.

Peebles, recapping the moments before the play, said, “Here’s a good story. We were struggling offensively and there was a timeout. We went into the huddle and Coach (Adam) Barth and I were talking to the defense right before the punt. I told the defense, ‘if we get a block here, this wins the game’ and Jeff Utzinger goes, ‘Coach, I’m going to get to it and I’m going to get it.’ And he went in and got it. It was pretty impressive and really cool.”