EAST CHICAGO | It's the time of year when defensive coordinators will lose sleep trying to game plan for opposing offenses.
But every D-coordinator on EC Central's schedule will flat out experience nightmares trying to prepare for the Cardinal offense.
Northern Illinois recruit Martayveus Carter was in midseason form on Friday night, scoring three times including a 63-yard TD run on the third play from scrimmage versus Hobart.
"He's gonna be tough to stop and he's also not playing with any pressure since he's already committed to Northern," EC Central coach Stacy Adams said.
EC Central also showed a bit more balance in the scrimmage, going to more of passing attack, as senior quarterback Carlos Fernandez passed for three touchdowns in the second series for the Cardinals.
"When teams key on Carter and (Anthony) Hunt, Fernandez and (Tre'Quan) Burnett are gonna have to hook up a lot," said Adams. "Carlos has gone from a game manager to a role player. He has really matured."
On the defensive side, the Cardinals committed six penalties, which Adams assured would be fixed in practice before Week 1.
"We were undisciplined at points and had too many penalties, but we played hard and I'm happy with the way we performed," said Adams. "We'll make things right before the opener."
In the meantime, Hobart will have to figure out how to replace the running tandem of Ian Drobac and Alex Metz, but the Brickies are closer than people think with returning starter Noah Smith, who scored four times including three within the red zone and Drey Deveraux, who scored twice himself.
"They're leaders on our team and those two will do a fine job," Hobart coach Ryan Turley said. "We're counting on Drey on both sides of the ball."
The Brickies may have given up a couple big plays defensively, but Turley is happy overall with the performance.
"We saw some good things," he said. "Our defense has had an identity of creating turnovers.
"We'll just have to get 11 guys to the ball and work out some things in the backfield."