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Quick Patriots to test Marksmen

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By LARRY GOFFINET
Sports Editor

TELL CITY—Two fast teams that prefer the running game over passing will meet when Tell City hosts Heritage Hills in PAC football Friday at 7 p.m.
“I’d say running the ball is their main strength,” said Tell City Coach Ryan George of the 0-1 Patriots. “But they’re a typical Heritage Hills team—they’re solid in all facets of the game.”
He said their team speed is “good—very comparable to ours. Kenton Crews, Caleb Mulzer, Gabe Konerding are all fast.”
Konerding, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound senior, is the Patriots’ top running back. He led them last year with 812 yards rushing and led them with 91 yards on 22 carries in last Friday’s season opener against Mater Dei.
“He’s a good hard-nosed, tough kid,” said George. “I think he was a state finalist in wrestling last year.”
Crews also runs the ball and scored both Patriot touchdowns in Friday’s 37-14 loss to Mater Dei. He had 161 total yards receiving and rushing.
Mulzer, a 5-8, 150-pound sophomore, quarterbacked the Patriots most of that game.
Logan Wilkerson, the son of Tell City baseball coach Jason Wilkerson, became the Patriots’ starting quarterback last year as a sophomore. But he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament late in the season and is expected to be sidelined at least one more week.
Mulzer “throws OK” and has some tall targets. His top receivers are 6-foot-6, 177-pound senior Logan Steckler and 6-4, 190-pound junior Caleb Sabelhaus.
Can they outjump rival defensive backs for balls thrown up in the air?
“That’s always a concern,” said George. “But we’ve got Brennan (Malone) on one corner and he’s 6-3.”
The Patriots have “decent-size linemen,” said George. “I’d say we’ll probably outweigh them in most spots, but they really get after you.”
The Patriots still use the wishbone offense, a staple under former coach Bob Clayton, part of the time. But they will also use the pistol formation.
They used a 4-3 defense against Mater Dei, “but I expect to see them in a five-front against us,” said George.
Konerding is also a defensive star at linebacker. Other standouts on defense include defensive end Aaron Boehm and Crews at safety, said George.
“Quite a few of their players go both ways,” said George. “I actually think they have more going both ways than we do.”
George’s first goal against the Patriots’ defense is “we’ve got to be able to run the ball,” he said. “But we also need to mix it up to loosen up their defense.
“We’ve got to be able to throw and catch the ball a little better than we did last week.”