After turning around his program to the tune of four wins in 2010, Elkhart football coach John Adair is ready to come out of the gate swinging.

He knows that a good start could provide a great push for his team on its quest to make the playoffs.

“I think it’ll build a lot of momentum for us,” he said. “We’re a very confident team, as far as our ability. But, wins have a tendency to make it even better.

“It’s not the end of the world either way,” he added.

The Elks are in the midst of implementing a new offense, one that showcases the team’s speed rather than the power running game of years’ past.

In that new scheme, Elkhart isn’t stingy with the football. In the team’s final scrimmage against Eustace — when the Elks scored a total of five times — that was evident.

“We had three or four guys score and four or five guys had big plays for us,” he said, adding the new offense has looked “explosive.”

That’s a stark contrast to what Leon — which beat Elkhart, 29-6, to open last season — brings to the table.

Adair said the Cougars will want to pound the ball inside the tackles, changing it up occasionally with a pass or a run outside.

“They’re a power football team. They like to run the ball up the middle,” he said. “They’re just smash mouth football team, try and drive it down your throat.”

He said Elkhart will have to “maintain the middle” of the field and limit the Cougars’ big plays.

But, with a defense designed to fill the gaps and force the offense to adjust to it, Adair said the Elks should be primed to combat the downhill-style offense.

“I think we’re going to cause problems for them,” he said. “We’ve got guys in the gap all the way across. That’s one of the reason we like this defense so much.”

Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. in Elkhart.


Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at

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