Archive for Saturday, September 23, 2000

Indians want to run against Principia

Haskell ranks 13th in passing offense

September 23, 2000

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Passing has been Haskell's fancy in its first three football games. The Fightin' Indians rank No. 13 in NAIA passing offense this week.

So what is HINU coach Gary Tanner's plan of attack for today's homecoming clash against Principia?

"Our game plan is to run right at them," Tanner said.

Kickoff will be at 1 p.m. at Haskell Stadium.

Tanner may be spewing bulletin board talk in an attempt to fool the Panthers into thinking the Indians will forego the pass, yet he does sound like the Indians are, as the Dixie Chicks would croon, ready, ready, ready to run.

"It took three games, but our offensive line really came around last week," Tanner said, reflecting on the Tribe's 16-14 win over Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Tulsa, Okla. "We actually played on their line of scrimmage. We were firing out."

So perhaps Haskell's three-man running back rotation of Justin Blaylock, Justin Guinn and Ben Benham will steal some of the thunder today from teammate Sonny Duncan.

Duncan, a junior wide receiver, has 15 receptions for 385 yards and five touchdowns all from junior quarterback Brandon Watson who is also a threat to run. Watson is averaging 190.3 yards of offense per game.

Haskell played Principia twice last season both times in Elsah, Ill. and split with the Panthers, losing the first meeting and winning in the season finale.

"We don't have the luxury of playing them once and then getting another chance at them," Tanner said. "We have to make this one count. If we play like we did at Tulsa, and not like we did at Central Methodist, we have a chance."

Two weeks ago, CMU rocked the Indians, 61-0, in Fayette, Mo.

Coincidentally, Principia has also suffered a 61-0 thrashing. Trinity of Chicago clipped the Panthers by that score in their season opener. Principia bounced back to nip Trinity Bible College, 28-27, the next week.

That's the same Trinity Bible College that Haskell pasted, 38-12, in its season opener.

"It's hard to compare those scores," Tanner said, "because when we played Trinity it was 112 degrees. They were better prepared when they played Principia. I think they were a different team here because of the heat."

Principia, 1-2, fell to Crown College, 23-16, last Saturday.

Principia's top players are quarterback Chris Girbes-Pierce and tight end Gregg Paliokas who has already caught 23 passes. Both are sophomores.

Haskell will travel to Bethany, Okla., next Saturday to tangle with Southern Nazarene, a first-year football school.

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