Tom Davenport and his Whiting teammates have had a thought on their minds for a full year. It stunk. It smelled. It was awful.
Last year Hanover Central traveled to the defending Class 2A state finalists and pounded the Oilers 19-0. Whiting couldn't move the chains. The boys in green were tangled up in them.
Then, on Friday night in Cedar Lake, the Oilers (4-2) got a little revenge by pounding the Wildcats, 40-26.
"We thought about it in the weight room, all summer and all of this season," said Davenport, who rushed for 140 yards and had four touchdowns in the win. "We were angry all night about it. Even when the second half started."
Davenport took the first handoff of the third quarter 58 yards for a score that gave his Oilers a 22-6 lead at that point.
Whiting coach Jeff Cain praised the blocking of his offensive line, along with his skill players down the field, for opening up an offense that is trending upward. Whiting has scored 149 points in their last three games.
"This was a physical game," Cain said. "Pete (Koulianos) thought we kicked their (backsides) but this was a typical, hard-hitting game between our two programs."
Whiting's Nino Barbosa rushed for 180 yards and added two touchdowns for the victors.
"We were pissed about last year," he said. "We've worked hard to let everyone in the Region know that we're still a good team."
Whiting held a huge difference in the stat sheets. The Oilers had the ball for 31:49 to the Wildcats' 16:11. Whiting ran 70 plays to Hanover's 38.
Wildcats quarterback James De Lange carried the ball 17 times for 77 yards with two scores. He was 12 of 21 throwing for 201 yards and another score.
Whiting's win snaps a nine-game home winning streak by the Wildcats (4-2), who've now lost two straight.
"It was a tough, physical game and I think we got tired in the second half," Koulianos said of his defense. "They are a very good team and trying to bring down that big kid in the backfield (Davenport) makes you even more tired as the game goes on." — Steve Hanlon
Clark 28, E.C. Central 21: The victory was the first of the year for the Pioneers (1-5, 1-1 Great Lakes Athletic Conference). Clark’s last win as a program was Oct. 10, 2014 against Roosevelt. In that season, the Pioneers started a four-game winning streak with a 12-6 overtime win against the Cardinals (2-4, 1-1).
In the two seasons since, E.C. Central had beaten Clark by a combined score of 114-8.
Calumet 46, Lake Station 22: The Warriors (2-4, 2-2) improved to .500 in the Greater South Shore Conference with a win over the Eagles (1-5, 0-4).
River Forest 52, Bishop Noll 6: The Ingots (2-4, 1-3) picked up their first GSSC win over the year by defeating the Warriors (0-6, 0-4).
Boone Grove 25-25-26, Morgan Twp. 19-18-24: Rachel Wilkening had 13 kills and 10 digs to lead the Times No. 7 Wolves (23-4).
Sydney Dixon added 11 kills, seven digs and two aces.
Kouts 25-25-25, Westville 7-13-16: Hannah Maier had 11 kills to lead the Fillies to the Porter County Conference win.
Morgan Kobza added eight kills.
Morgan Township 4, Hebron 2: Connor Malmquist scored two goals to lead the Cherokees over the Hawks.
Joshua Kenworthy added a goal and an assist. Connor Spencer added a goal.
Kouts 1, Wheeler 1: Jack Furdeck scored for the Mustangs (3-6-1), while Nick Melvin scored for the Bearcats in the tie.