Chatard hopes to learn more about themselves as they face rival Cathedral

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Chatard practices on Wednesday afternoon as they get ready for Cathedral.

INDIANAPOLIS  – For fans of Catholic school football, Friday is appointment watching.

On many seasons in November when the high school football action shifts from a team’s respective home field to Lucas Oil Stadium the names Chatard and Cathedral are usually among those mentioned.

The Irish captured three-straight Class 4A championship and then won the Class 5A title when the were bumped up in 2013. While denied a title when the jumped a class last year, the Trojans racked up three-straight Class 3A crowns dating back to 2010.

The annual meeting of these powers usually draws the attention of many to what seems to be an intense match-up of parochial powers.

“We’ve always had a big rivalry,” acknowledged Chatard senior outside linebacker Max Fillenwarth. “It’s usually the strongest team we face so far.”

At the same time for the Trojans will use their game against Irish-the fourth-ranked team in Class 5A-to find out a little bit more about who they are. Even with a 3-0 start to the 2014 season, head coach Vince Lorenzano would like to see more out of his squad as they approached the middle of the season.

“For us it’s a game that we really want to get a barometer on as to where we are. They’re as good a team as we’re going to play in the playoffs,” said Lorenzano. “So that tells us quickly where we are and I think that’s a real big thing. Other than that for us it’s not about them it’s about us.”

What the scores will say about them so far is pretty good. Against on of Class 3A’s best teams in Brebeuf the Trojans rallied from 14-points down at the half to beat the Braves 17-14. After a 75-0 win over the Broad Ripple in Week 2 Chatard defeated another rival in Roncalli 20-7 on the road last Friday.

It’s cemented their place as the No. 2 team in Class 4A behind Columbus East but the Trojans believe their opening games showed that work is still to be done to get the team ready for a good late season and playoffs run.

“There’s always room for improvement. We’ve got some good leaders on the team that really lead us to where we want to be,” said senior safety and wide receiver Eric Smith.

Chatard has learned lessons about itself the hard way recently against Cathedral, who traditionally has played in a class higher than the Trojans. In the last ten years Chatard has a 3-7 record against the Irish, including a 37-35 loss to Cathedral in 2013. It seems that Lorenzano’s teams gets a pretty good gauge of where they are whether they beat Cathedral or not.

In the last ten years Chatard has won a state championship after losing to the Irish earlier in the season and in 2005 made it all the way to the state title game.  As with each year, Lorenzano has a few things specifically he would like to get to know about his team as they get ready to face the Irish.

“We want to see where we match-up in terms of team speed and then offensively we want to improve execution,” said Lorenzano. “Defensively we want to tackle better. We’re not real big defensively in some areas so we’ll find out it that’s going to be a problem or not.”

Rick Streiff’s team will try to learn about itself as well considering the start to the season and a bit of an unusual bye week. After a 44-19 loss to Ben Davis was followed by a closer 20-17 defeat at Warren Central the Irish were supposed to have a game at South Bend St. Joseph but lightening in the area during the game forced the game to be called off all together.

Despite an unusual start, the Trojans expect to see the best Cathedral has to offer on Friday.

“See how we are as a unit and how we overcome the challenges of a stronger team,” said Fillenwarth-as Chatard has an education while also trying to beat a rival.

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