Friday, the Angola Hornets face the Lakeland Lakers at the Swamp in LaGrange, IN. Both teams enter this matchup at 2-2 overall and 1-0 in Big School Division play. Angola’s Pistol offense has seen flashes of greatness through the ground and in the air led by seniors Tyler Call at quarterback and Andre Tagliaferri as their running back/wide receiver. But where Angola has shown the most improvement is on defense where the line is stopping the run consistently, and the secondary is containing even the most talented of quarterbacks led by Ethan Miller.
But don’t sleep on the Lakeland Lakers with their offense that’s becoming more of a spread offense these days, and a front 7 that is scrappy and tough to play against. Freshman quarterback Braydon Holbrook is one of the state’s biggest risers in that position posting strong numbers that compete with the likes of Riley Buroff of Churubusco and Drew Yates of West Noble. The chemistry between him and Senior Owen Troyer has shown signs of a dominant QB-WR combo that’s went from a run-first, grind-it-out offense to a team that has the potential to execute home run passes into the end zone.
The key question going into this game is : Will Lakeland’s young defense be able to slow down Angola’s quick motion Pistol Offense? That means they must force Tyler Call to take more chances down the field and keep the scoring threats to a minimum. On Angola’s perspective: Can they frustrate running back Kham Malaivanh? Malaivanh is averaging 6.2 yards per carry and has 82 carries for 507 yards on the season. Malaivanh is a workhorse for the Lakers, and that’s the key job Angola has in an effort to limit Holbrook’s options and force him to put that trust into a younger receiver core.
Last season, Lakeland rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat Angola on a late Carson Mickem field goal 30-28. Angola leads the season 21-15 against Lakeland, and they haven’t lost to the Lakers in back-to-back seasons since 2013 when Angola lost to Lakeland for 3 straight seasons from 2011-2013.