Mikulich, North Football Set to Battle Bloomington South in Sectional Championship

On Friday night, the cross-town rivalry between the Cougars and the Panthers will be renewed. Bloomington North (6-4, #15 in 5A) will travel to Bloomington South (8-1, #5 in 5A) in hopes of capturing their first sectional championship since 2013.

The first meeting against South didn’t go very well for North, as BHSN fell 45-7 to the Panthers earlier this season. However, after a 1-3 start, the Cougars are 5-1 in their last six games and look like a completely different team compared to the first half of the season. Coach Scott Bless’ group has seemed to turn the corner at the right time.

“It’s a testament to the character of our players,” said Bless. “Sports reveal character, and this team is a perfect example of that. The way this season has unfolded has really shown the character of the young men in our program.”

For North, the group that has raised the bar in practice over the past few weeks is the scout team. In football, the scout teams’ job is to mimic the style of play of an upcoming opponent, allowing the starters to practice against them. This gives the varsity team a good look into what they’ll be going up against on game nights.

“If the scout team can execute the looks that you need, then we don’t have to have one’s against one’s all of the time,” said Bless. “So our starters stayed a little fresher, and our scout team did a great job replicating, on both sides of the ball, what we were going to see on Friday night (against Seymour).”

Keeping up the work in practice is important for North, especially since each game the Cougars play the rest of the season is a trophy game. Whether it’s in sectionals, regionals, semi-state, or state, BHSN will be playing for a championship. For Coach Bless, that’s the goal each season.

“First and foremost, you get to keep playing football,” said Bless. “The greatest month of the year to play football is November. And it’s exciting you’re playing for championships. We’ve talked all along about what we needed to do to build a championship football team.”

Meanwhile, Friday’s game is the last opportunity for senior running back Cody Mikulich to win a sectional title. Mikulich is coming off of his best performance of the season, with 233 rushing yards and four total touchdowns last week vs. Seymour. However, Mikulich knows that success comes from not just himself, but also his team.

“My success comes with the rest of my teams’ success,” Mikulich said. “So I rely heavily on my teammates, my coaching, playcalling, wide receiver blocking and line blocking. My focus is on making sure they know what they’re doing. That’s how I make sure we continue our success.”
Despite the high stakes of a sectional championship game, Mikulich is making sure to not overthink things. It’s just another game, and doing the little things right will go a long way for the Cougars.

“I just need to make the right reads, and take what the line gives me,” said Mikulich. “Not trying to overdo a play, extend my arm, fumble the ball. And then focus on everything else.”

A sound Bloomington South team is the only thing standing in North’s way of a sectional championship. Mikulich is “hungry” to win sectionals, and it would be the first time it’s happened for this year’s senior class. We’ll see if the Cougars have what it takes to be the top cat in Bloomington.