MIDDLETOWN — Shenandoah is taking little comfort in its previous win this season against Knightstown.
Even though the score was 62-0 and the game was played just more than a month ago.
“I think they’ve improved throughout the year,” Raiders coach Scott Widner said. “They’ve got a new coach and a new system. So obviously the more time they get with the new coach and the new system, the better they’re going to be at it.”
There is evidence to support Widner’s view.
The Panthers (6-4) have won three of their four games since the loss at Shenandoah on Sept. 27. They’ll return to Dale Green Field on Friday in the semifinals of Class 2A Sectional 38. The winner faces either Scecina (8-2) or Winchester (7-3) for the championship next week.
But those thoughts are far from the Raiders’ mind at present. Knightstown is a long-time rival, dating back to the days of the defunct White River Athletic Conference, and Shenandoah (8-2) has lost its last two home games.
The chance to get back in front of a friendly crowd Friday has the Raiders excited.
“We’ve got a great community, and they do a lot of things to support us,” Widner said.
Last week, at least, Shenandoah also had a great defense.
Coming off back-to-back losses against Eastern Hancock (68-19) and Cardinal Ritter (63-35), there was some concern as to how the Raiders would react on the road against Broad Ripple and star quarterback C.J. Shittu.
Shenandoah answered those questions by keeping the QB contained all night and running away with a dominant 49-6 victory.
“I think it was great for our kids to get that win under their belt, especially after the last couple weeks of the season,” Widner said. “I think it gave us some of our confidence back.”