ANDERSON — John Broughton was musing about the reasons it took Pendleton Heights and Anderson so long to meet up on the football field.
Most of them can be traced to conference schedules.
For years, the Arabians opened with a pair of Hoosier Heritage Conference games. And those were the only two weeks the Indians had open before starting their North Central Conference schedule.
So Pendleton Heights played games against Madison Heights and Highland but never against the Tribe.
Until 2011, that is, when Anderson lost its grip on the inaugural contest with a fumble shortly before halftime and the Arabians stormed out of Collier Field with a 41-23 victory. Last year, Pendleton Heights won again — this time 44-21 at home — and Broughton can say he’s never lost a game against Anderson in his storied 38-year career.
Madison County’s newest rivalry has been pretty one-sided thus far. But that doesn’t mean the Arabians (1-0) are taking tonight’s third edition at Collier Field lightly.
“We’re ready for the challenge Anderson is going to give us,” Broughton said. “And we know they’re going to give us one.”
Neither team is coming into this game at full strength.
Anderson (0-1) lost star running back Jerian Beard and fullback Jarmeel Graves during an opening 61-27 loss at Fort Wayne Wayne last week.
Pendleton Heights, meanwhile, likely will be without three-fifths of its starting offensive line. Trey Green and Mason Loman will be sitting out for the second straight week, and Hunter Cook left during the first half of last week’s 33-0 dismantling of Muncie Central.
The Arabians rushed for more than 200 yards last week behind a three-back rotation of Chris Clemmons, Noah Etchison and Jim Arney.
Anderson could answer with a powerful tandem of its own if Beard is able to join Tyler Welch, who ran for 196 yards in Week 1, in the backfield. When healthy, the Indians’ skill position talent belies its slow start.