My hopes at reaching the 80 percent plateau remain intact as I went 37-11 (77 percent) last week. With just three weeks left, my overall record is now 231-66, which keeps me at 78 percent for the year.
Crown Point (5-6) at Valparaiso (9-2): The Vikings downed Crown Point, 38-7, on September 21. Scott Mills recorded 25 carries for 132 yards and a touchdown for the Bulldogs in their 17-13 win over Merrillville. Jackson Kurth ran 28 times for a career-high 172 yards with a score in Valparaiso’s 21-0 blanking of Penn. Matt’s pick: Valparaiso 31, Crown Point 12.
Fort Wayne Snider (9-2) at Carmel (9-2): The Greyhounds rallied for a 22-21 win over Fort Wayne Snider in last year’s regional final. Jon Barnes Jr. was 15-of-28 for 172 yards with two scores and ran 10 times for 51 yards and a touchdown in the Panthers’ 49-35 victory against Homestead. Joey Schmidt returned a kickoff 93 yards and an interception 30 yards for touchdowns in Carmel’s 41-21 win at Lafayette Jeff. Matt’s pick: Carmel 35, Fort Wayne Snider 20.
Warren Central (11-0) at North Central (Indianapolis) (9-2): The Warriors rolled to a 58-27 win against North Central on August 31. Jayden George went 11-of-23 for 155 yards and two touchdowns in Warren Central’s 55-7 triumph over Lawrence Central. Michael Brown ran a blocked field goal back 75 yards for a score in the Panthers’ 42-7 win over Fishers. Matt’s pick: Warren Central 40, North Central (Indianapolis) 24.
Avon (9-2) at Center Grove (8-3): The Orioles posted a 32-21 victory against Center Grove in last season’s regional finale. Henry Hesson completed 10-of-17 for 241 yards and three touchdowns in Avon’s 38-0 blanking of Brownsburg. Charlie Ogega had eight carries for 61 yards in the Trojans’ 23-6 win over Franklin Central. Matt’s pick: Avon 23, Center Grove 17.
Concord (6-5) at Michigan City (9-2): The Wolves earned their first regional crown a season ago with a 21-7 win at Concord. Ethan Cain was 10-of-19 for 192 yards and a touchdown for the Minutemen in their 17-14 win over Elkhart Central. Bryce Hayman went 12-of-21 for 190 yards with three scores and ran seven times for 72 yards and three touchdowns in Michigan City’s 49-7 win at LaPorte. Matt’s pick: Michigan City 42, Concord 18.
New Palestine (11-0) at Harrison (West Lafayette) (6-5): The Raiders blanked New Palestine, 17-0, during the 1993 campaign. Grant Wieland scampered seven times for 109 yards and a score in the Dragons’ 78-0 triumph against Anderson. Jake Smith accounted for the game-winning four-yard touchdown catch in Harrison’s 19-16 victory at Kokomo. Matt’s pick: New Palestine 49, Harrison (West Lafayette) 10.
Bloomington South (6-5) at Decatur Central (10-1): The Hawks edged Bloomington South, 17-14, in the 2007 sectional opener. James Bomba came up with a 13-yard touchdown reception in the second overtime of the Panthers’ 28-25 win over Martinsville. Parker Harrington finished 7-of-12 for 95 yards with a score and rushed the ball 22 times for 117 yards in Decatur Central’s 21-14 win over Indianapolis Cathedral. Matt’s pick: Decatur Central 33, Bloomington South 13.
Castle (7-4) at Columbus East (10-2): The Knights and defending state champion Columbus East are meeting for the first time on the gridiron. Nyles Sutton racked up 17 tackles in Castle’s 55-34 win over Terre Haute South. Mark McDonald rambled 18 times for 138 yards and two scores in the Olympians’ 51-14 win at Bedford North Lawrence. Matt’s pick: Columbus East 36, Castle 21.
Lowell (10-2) at Mishawaka (11-1): The Cavemen blanked Lowell, 27-0, in the 2012 sectional opener. Nate Gard converted two extra-points and field goals of 34 and 32 yards in the Red Devils’ 20-14 win over Hammond Morton. Chris Harness exploded for 208 yards and two scores on 37 attempts in Mishawaka’s 27-23 win over Saint Joseph. Matt’s pick: Mishawaka 28, Lowell 14.
Angola (12-0) at Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger (11-1): This contest will be played at New Haven. The Hornets are looking to make amends for a 34-0 loss to Bishop Dwenger a year ago in the regional final. Jarrett Gibson was 5-of-7 for 105 yards with three scores and ran the ball 27 times for 84 yards in Angola’s 27-26 win over NorthWood. T.J. Tippmann carried the ball 10 times for 52 yards and a touchdown in the Saints’ 14-13 win over Fort Wayne Wayne. Matt’s pick: Angola 21, Bishop Dwenger 20.
Mooresville (11-1) at Marion (12-0): The Pioneers and Marion are getting together on the football field for the first time. Karson Goodman went 11-of-19 for 280 yards and three touchdowns in the Pioneers’ 49-14 win over Greenwood. J.K. Thomas had a 50-yard punt return for a score in the Giants’ 26-9 win at Mississinewa. Matt’s pick: Mooresville 41, Marion 37.
Evansville Central (11-1) at East Central (11-1) (3 p.m. Saturday): The defending state champion Trojans were a 35-13 winner against Evansville Central in the 2017 regional round. Austin Frazier accounted for 18 tackles in the Bears’ 49-20 win over Boonville. Eric Rosemeyer registered 11 carries for 128 yards and two scores in East Central’s 57-22 win against Edgewood. Matt’s pick: East Central 29, Evansville Central 26.
Brebeuf Jesuit (10-2) at West Lafayette (12-0): The Braves used a late score to stun West Lafayette, 13-10, in last season’s regional finale. Caleb Ellison went 6-of-9 for 87 yards with two touchdowns and ran eight times for 36 yards and a score in Brebeuf’s 42-13 win over Blackford. Gabe Klinger had a 99-yard kickoff return for a score in the Red Devils’ 51-24 win over Andrean. Matt’s pick: West Lafayette 38, Brebeuf Jesuit 22.
Marian (8-4) at Fort Wayne Bishop Luers (8-4): The Knights crowned Bishop Luers, 30-7, in last year’s regional final. Maddix Bogunia caught two passes for 83 yards and a score in Marian’s 35-7 triumph over Maconaquah. Norman Knapke was 13-of-26 for 132 yards and three touchdowns in the Knights’ 27-14 win over Bellmont. Matt’s pick: Marian 27, Bishop Luers 24.
Tri-West (8-4) at Indianapolis Bishop Chatard (10-2): The Bruins dropped a 28-14 contest to Bishop Chatard in the 2016 sectional semifinals. Luke Robertson went 11-of-20 for 265 yards and three touchdowns in Tri-West’s 31-27 win over Salem. Daylen Taylor racked up 20 carries for 125 yards and two scores in the Trojans’ 42-6 win over Indian Creek. Matt’s pick: Bishop Chatard 39, Tri-West 15.
Brownstown Central (11-1) at Evansville Memorial (12-0): The Braves cruised to a 30-7 victory against defending state champion Evansville Memorial in the 2016 regional final. Derek Thompson ran 13 times for 101 yards with a touchdown and caught two passes for 46 yards and another tally in Brownstown Central’s 35-28 win over Batesville. Michael Lindauer was 20-of-29 for 341 yards with five touchdowns in the Tigers’ 56-28 win against Gibson Southern. Matt’s pick: Evansville Memorial 37, Brownstown Central 19.
Whiting (12-0) at Bremen (10-2): On their way to the 2015 state title game, the Oilers got past Bremen, 28-21, in the regional round. Steven Connelly was 7-of-12 for 211 yards and two scores in Whiting’s 38-19 win against Boone Grove. Justin Zumbrun caught two passes for 84 yards with a touchdown and also had an interception for the Lions in their 42-13 win at Bluffton. Matt’s pick: Bremen 32, Whiting 30.
Eastbrook (11-1) at Lapel (8-4): The Panthers roared their way to a 56-26 win over Lapel a season ago in the regional finale. Justin Singer recorded 12 rushes for 72 yards in Eastbrook’s 27-25 win over Lewis Cass. Luke DesNoyers connected on six extra-points, including the game-winner in overtime, in the Bulldogs’ 42-41 win at Shenandoah. Matt’s pick: Eastbrook 30, Lapel 20.
Western Boone (12-0) at Indianapolis Scecina (11-1): This contest will take place at Roncalli. The Stars came up on the short end of a 48-33 decsion to Scecina a year ago in the regional final. Kruze Washington had 12 carries for 125 yards with two touchdowns and also caught an 18-yard pass for a score in Western Boone’s 49-8 win over North Putnam. David Baker tallied seven receptions for 138 yards with two scores, including the game-winning 30-yard strike with 1:01 left, in the Crusaders’ 34-30 win at Triton Central. Matt’s pick: Scecina 25, Western Boone 24.
Paoli (12-0) at Southridge (9-3): The Rams registered a 24-20 win over defending state champion Southridge in the 2013 regional final. Ian Strange finished with 15 rushes for 89 yards and a touchdown in Paoli’s 21-17 win over Providence. Tucker Schank carried the ball 18 times for 130 yards and two scores in the Raiders’ 35-25 victory over Evansville Mater Dei. Matt’s pick: Southridge 34, Paoli 22.
Pioneer (12-0) at Triton (9-3): The defending state champion Panthers recorded a 56-6 win over Triton on September 21. Jack Kiser completed 1-of-3 for 19 yards and ran 18 times for 266 yards and six touchdowns in Pioneer’s 70-7 win at Lafayette Central Catholic. Tye Orsund racked up 14 tackles in the Trojans’ 29-17 win at North Judson. Matt’s pick: Pioneer 56, Triton 16.
Adams Central (12-0) at Monroe Central (10-2): The Flying Jets soared to a 15-12 win against Monroe Central in the 2016 sectional finale. Logan Macklin raced 17 times for 144 yards with a touchdown and returned an interception 79 yards for another score in Adams Central’s 38-0 blanking of Southwood. Tyler Jones accounted for 14 tackles in the Golden Bears’ 29-0 triumph at Union City. Matt’s pick: Adams Central 44, Monroe Central 31.
Indianapolis Lutheran (9-3) at South Putnam (6-6): The Saints racked up a 47-0 victory over South Putnam in the 2014 sectional semifinals. Blake White went 16-of-30 for 143 yards and two touchdowns in Lutheran’s 32-13 win over Hagerstown. Riley Stone was 6-of-8 for 176 yards with three scores in the Eagles’ 55-8 win over Traders Point Christian. Matt’s pick: Indianapolis Lutheran 43, South Putnam 19.
North Central (Farmersburg) (9-1) at North Vermillion (11-1): The Falcons blasted North Central, 77-7, during the 2014 campaign. Blake Chatman scampered 31 times for 138 yards and a touchdown in the Thunderbirds’ 14-0 win over West Washington. Brennan Ellis went 5-of-8 for 82 yards and carried the ball 12 times for 140 yards and a score in North Vermillion’s 22-6 win at Attica. Matt’s pick: North Central (Farmersburg) 22, North Vermillion 20.