ELKHART – Elkhart head coach Luke Goode's journey leading to opening week has been nothing less than fast-paced.
But regardless of unfavorable circumstances for the first-year Elk coach, he says he's excited to open up at home against the Buffalo Bison Friday.
Buffalo, who has lost four games over the past two years, is as well-rounded a team the Elks will see this season. They're coming off a 7-3 season and bring back 17 of their bi-district finalist team.
Quarterback Brett Hoffman passed for nearly 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2019 while adding 600 yards rushing and eight touchdowns.
They also bring back offensive lineman of the year Asa Henson.
“We've told our kids how good this Buffalo team is,” Goode said. They're a playoff team and the type of team we want to end up being. It's good for us to play and see that. They're going to be tough and ready to play.”
Elkhart fans will notice a familiar name leading the Elk offense Friday night – Starr. Not Cade, but Cale. The younger brother of Cade who helped Elkhart get off to their first 3-0 start in 15 years in 2019.
Though just a sophomore, Goode says he's done a good job in his first year on varsity. He represents just one of the many sophomores this team will lean on in 2020.
Goode told Starr that “it's his group to lead.” But beside him is running back RJ Moore who enjoyed a 1,100-yard season attacking offenses with Cale's older brother last year.
Though they employ a young team, Goode has already picked up on his squad's resiliency. He says his team has been able to handle the changes they've implemented.
“We've raised the bar for what our kids are going to have to do,” Goode said. “We told them we're not going to drop their standard. They have to meet us there.”
Goode wants his team to play physical this year. They showed that in their first and only scrimmage against Arp last week.
A second scrimmage would have done wonders for his team in better evaluating what they have, but it's what they had to work with.
Their focus remains on getting prepared for the district. They won't lack competitiveness in their non-district games, but Goode is playing the long game to get his team to the playoffs.
“We're trying to keep the bigger picture in mind,” Goode said. “That's our ultimate goal. We're not making any rushed moves. We want to be ready for district.”
Elkhart kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home against Buffalo.a