Eric Brock doesn't need to send out a search party. He knows where the end zone is.
Now, Brock hopes his Haskell Indian Nations University football players will find scoring territory today when the Fightin' Indians open league play against Southern Nazarene.
"Our offensive numbers have been pretty good," Brock said, "but we've got to get into the end zone."
Kickoff for the Central States Football League contest will be at 2 p.m. at Haskell Stadium.
Haskell opened with a 50-0 thrashing of weak Trinity Bible, but in the last three games the Indians have managed just two offensive touchdowns.
"We've been plagued by penalties and other mistakes that have been drive-killers," Brock said. "If we can correct those, we should be able to get into the end zone."
Although Haskell's running game has been puny, quarterback Kaleb Harris has combined with wide receivers Cody Wilson and Hunter Smith to produce a potent passing attack.
Still, Haskell's strength has been its defense. HINU defenders have been so good that they're surrendering 100 fewer yards per game than any other CSFL team. Foes are averaging just 15.0 points against the Tribe.
HINU's defense took a hit, however, during last week's 29-10 loss to Friends when middle linebacker Antonio Hayes, the team's leading tackler, suffered a first-quarter knee injury. Hayes won't play today and could be out for the season.
Southern Nazarene at Haskell
What: Haskell's CSFL opener When: 2 p.m. today Where: Haskell Stadium Records: Haskell 2-2; Southern Nazarene 2-2
To replace Hayes, a 6-foot, 200-pound junior from Jacksonville, Fla., Brock has moved outside linebacker John Sullivan to the middle and inserted freshman Mario Torres on the outside.
Arguably, the strength of Haskell's defense is the secondary of Cory Murphy, Randy Jackson, Terrill Denny, Micah Swimmer and Jordan Ross.
No doubt those five will be tested today, because Southern Nazarene quarterback Tyler Schneider threw a school-record five touchdown passes in last week's 46-7 thumping of Peru State. A 6-2 sophomore from Weatherford, Okla., Schneider completed 20 of 31 passes for 220 yards without an interception.
"He's good," Brock said of Schneider, "and so is his favorite receiver."
That would be A.J. Blackburn, the league's leading receiver with 28 receptions. HINU's Smith and Wilson rank 2-3 in that category with 19 and 15 catches.
Southern Nazarene, located in Bethany, Okla., opened with losses to Graceland (24-20) and Angelo State (42-7), an NCAA Div. II school, but rebounded to edge Panhandle State, 17-16, before pummeling Peru State last week.
Haskell (2-2) will hit the road the next two weekends - Oct. 8 at Bacone and Oct. 15 at Northwestern Oklahoma State.