BY PAUL CONDRY AND MATT KOPSEA
BEECH GROVE (6-2) AT EAST CENTRAL (7-1)
KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. EDT, Trojan Field.
COACHES: Mark Weller, 37-44 in eighth season at Beech Grove, 50-65 in 11th season overall. Don Stonefield, 90-28 in 10th season at East Central.
LAST CONTEST: Beech Grove lost to Triton Central, 23-18. East Central beat Greensburg, 38-14.
PREVIOUS MEETING: None.
TOP PERFORMERS: Sergio Hulse returned an interception 55 yards for a score for the Hornets against Triton Central. Brett Fox recorded nine tackles for the Trojans against Greensburg.
COACH TALK: “We have to minimize mistakes and execute. East Central is very well-coached and plays at a different level. We have to match that effort.” – Beech Grove’s Mark Weller.
“Beech Grove offensively has a huge offensive line (averaging 6-foot-3 and 270 pounds) across the board. with good speed in the back field. We are very impressed with their quarterback (Jordan Reel) who runs the offense very well and is a great athlete. Our defense will have to work hard to get off the field and we cannot give up the big play. The key is how we hold up on our edges with their inside zone pounding us inside, so we must always be aware of sweep, zone, quarterback keep and option. Defensively, they run a 3-4 with a very aggressive defensive line and active linebackers. They run a lot of man coverage. Our offense will need to control the ball, keep our defense off the field, and put points on the board. Special teams will come down to who can win field position. This should be a great game to get us back up to speed for the playoffs. Overall, I have been very impressed with Beech Grove. They have a great combination of size and speed and their coaches do a great job with fundamentals and scheme.” – East Central’s Don Stonefield.
BLACKFORD (6-2) AT MISSISSINEWA (7-1)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Fisher Field.
COACHES: Randy Sehy, 12-18 in third season at Blackford, 73-72 in 14th season overall. Curt Funk, 63-33 in ninth season at Mississinewa.
LAST CONTEST: Blackford lost to Eastbrook, 21-0. Mississinewa beat Alexandria, 65-27.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Mississinewa, 47-3, on September 1, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: Isaac Justice ran 16 times for 61 yards and racked up 12 tackles for the Bruins against Eastbrook. Cade Campbell scampered 13 times for 112 yards and four touchdowns for the Indians against Alexandria.
COACH TALK: “Friday’s game with Mississinewa is a chance for us to test ourselves against a good football team. To be successful, we will have to limit their big plays by keeping them bottled up and not allowing their speed to come into play. We will have to take care of the football and take the ball away from them a couple of times, consume time with long drives that end in scores. And finally, we have to do a better job on special teams than we have at times this season all while playing hard for four quarters.” – Blackford’s Randy Sehy.
“We will need to play discipline football to beat Blackford on Friday night. They have an outstanding offensive attack and we must read our keys and tackle well in order to beat them. On offense, we must execute our assignments and not turn the ball over.” – Mississinewa’s Curt Funk.
COLUMBUS EAST (6-2) AT BEDFORD NORTH LAWRENCE (7-1)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Stars Stadium.
COACHES: Bob Gaddis, 192-36 in 18th season at Columbus East, 310-136 in 40th season overall. Steve Weber, 27-32 in sixth season at Bedford North Lawrence, 155-61 in 19th season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Columbus East beat Jeffersonville, 50-3. Bedford North Lawrence beat Madison, 55-19.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Columbus East, 56-14, on October 27, 2017 in Class 5A sectional semifinal.
TOP PERFORMERS: Derek Hutchens hauled in a 67-yards touchdown reception for the Stars against Madison. Mark McDonald rambled 10 times for 80 yards and a score for the Olympians against Jeffersonville.
COACH TALK: “We will need to match the intensity of Bedford North Lawrence. We are on the road against a top 10 team that will be fired up with the whole town there.” – Columbus East’s Bob Gaddis.
“This will be a major undertaking on our par. Columbus East is very good and very well-coached. I believe we will need to control the ball and the clock. If we can churn out first down after first down (and get points on the board) and turn the game into a few possession game, it will be in our favor. Defensively, we need to not allow the big hit, make them earn it by lengthy drives, and find a way to get one more stop than they do. Our kids will need to play with heart and fire for four quarters and play disciplined football.” – Bedford North Lawrence’s Steve Weber.
DELTA (6-2) AT NEW PALESTINE (8-0)
KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. EDT, Kelso Stadium.
COACHES: Chris Overholt, 19-12 in third season at Delta. Kyle Ralph, 68-4 in sixth season at New Palestine.
LAST CONTEST: Delta beat Greenfield-Central, 45-14. New Palestine beat New Castle, 56-14.
PREVIOUS MEETING: New Palestine, 55-7, on October 13, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: Mason Hunt racked up eight tackles for the Eagles against Greenfield-Central. Colby Jenkens ran twice for 50 yards with a touchdown and also caught three passes for 54 yards for the Dragons against New Castle.
COACH TALK: “For us to be successful, we will need to be the most aggressive team on the field. New Palestine does a fantastic job of taking the fight to the other team and getting them off track. Also, we will need to be fundamentally sound and not give them any additional opportunities on offense.” – Delta’s Chris Overholt.
“This is a great game once again as the (Hoosier Heritage) conference championship is on the line. Coach Overholt has done a tremendous job up there once again. We are going to need a tremendous amount of focus this week as we prepare to handle Delta’s multiple threat offense and stout defense. They have done a great job of distributing the ball to so many weapons on offense and play great defense so their offense gets the ball back quickly to wear you down. We will need to play great football this week to try and be 1-0 on our senior night.” – New Palestine’s Kyle Ralph.
EASTERN GREENE (5-2) AT NORTH CENTRAL (FARMERSBURG) (6-1)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Thunderbird Field.
COACHES: Travis Wray, 5-2 in first season at Eastern Greene. Travis Nolting, 57-27 in eighth season at North Central.
LAST CONTEST: Eastern Greene lost to Linton-Stockton, 41-13. North Central beat Riverton Parke, 42-7.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Eastern Greene, 33-14, on November 3, 2017 in Class 1A sectional final.
TOP PERFORMERS: Nick Fox had nine carries for 36 yards for the Thunderbirds against Linton-Stockton. Cody Curtis tallied 53 yards and a touchdown on nine attempts for the Thunderbirds against Riverton Parke.
COACH TALK: “This Friday, we are going up against a great team. It is going to be an amazing atmosphere for a conference championship. For Eastern Greene to be successful, we have to be very physical at the point of the attack, and defensively do our jobs on every play to contain No. 2 (Dawson Basinger) and their quarterback (Ty Thompson). They have had a great season thus far and we are excited about the opportunity that is before us.” – Eastern Greene’s Travis Wray.
“In order for us to defeat Eastern Greene, we must establish our ground attack and look to set up passing opportunities. We must limit the success of No. 7 (Blayne) Campbell and focus on forcing three-and-out situations and turnovers on defense.” – North Central’s Travis Nolting.
FORT WAYNE BISHOP LUERS (5-3) AT FORT WAYNE SNIDER (6-2)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Spuller Stadium.
COACHES: Kyle Lindsay, 40-32 in sixth season at Bishop Luers. Kurt Tippmann, 103-23 in 10th season at F.W. Snider.
LAST CONTEST: Bishop Luers beat Fort Wayne South, 48-16. F.W. Snider beat Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger, 21-13.
PREVIOUS MEETING: F.W. Snider, 48-7, on October 13, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: Brayden Cowherd raced 11 times for 95 yards and a score for the Knights against F.W. South. Lenny Bennett accumulated 114 yards on the ground on 12 carries for the Panthers against Bishop Dwenger.
COACH TALK: “Snider is a big, physical, and athletic football team. They have size on both fronts of the ball and have speed at nearly every skill position. We have to play physical football up front and within our front seven. Taking care of the ball and limiting the big plays are top priorities. Snider’s special teams have historically been very good, so we need to be good in that aspect as well.” – Bishop Luers’ Kyle Lindsay.
“Bishop Luers presents a difficult challenge in terms of their speed and athleticism on offense. They have exceptional speed at every position that touches the ball and their quarterback (Walter Knapke) is a three-year starter and a veteran in terms of experience. We will have to be great at tackling and keeping leverage to be successful. On offense, we have to block a loaded box and throw it well enough to keep them from committing everyone to run game. Special teams will be a big swinging factor in the outcome of the game.” – F.W. Snider’s Kurt Tippmann.
HOBART (7-1) AT LOWELL (6-2)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. CDT, The Inferno.
COACHES: Craig Osika, 7-1 in first season at Hobart. Keith Kilmer, 71-32 in ninth season at Lowell.
LAST CONTEST: Hobart beat Munster, 49-12. Lowell lost to Andrean, 36-15.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Lowell, 30-7, on October. 13, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: Noah Olmos ran eight times for 83 yards with a touchdown for the Brickies against Munster. Ethan Igras was 10-of-23 for 124 yards with a score for the Red Devils against Andrean.
COACH TALK: “In order to beat a team like Lowell, we have to have a great week of practice. We have to eliminate mental mistakes on both sides of the ball. Ball control is going to be a big in this game, so we have to be able to sustain offensive drives to limit the amount of time that their offense is on the field. Lowell’s defense is only giving up nine points a game this year, so we know that we are going to have to have our best offensive performance of the year to be able to come out on top. Defensively, we have to be able to slow down their run game.” – Hobart’s Craig Osika.
“In order to be successful on Friday, we are going to have to find a way to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, play disciplined, and execute at all times.” – Lowell’s Keith Kilmer.
INDIANAPOLIS CATHEDRAL (4-4) AT CENTER GROVE (5-3)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Ray Skillman Stadium.
COACHES: Bill Peebles, 4-4 in first season at Cathedral, 78-69 in 14th season overall. Eric Moore, 184-65 in 20th season at Center Grove, 232-70 in 24th season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Cathedral lost to Lakewood St. Edward (Ohio), 39-14. Center Grove beat Lawrence North, 38-17.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Cathedral, 21-14, on October 13, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: Bo Sanders came up with nine receptions for 92 yards for the Irish against Lakewood St. Edward. Gavin Matheson had six carries for 56 yards and a score for the Trojans against Lawrence North.
COACH TALK: “Center Grove has been playing great ball in recent weeks. For us to be successful, we will have to establish a consistent running game on offense. Defensively, we will need to limit the big plays and put Center Grove in third and long situations.” – Cathedral’s Bill Peebles.
“Cathedral is a much better team than their record indicates. They play a very tough schedule and have had some close games. Their defense is as big as the Colts and tackles extremely well. Their quarterback (Orin Edwards) is one of the best I’ve seen this year. He can do it all, run and pass. Coach Peebles has already influenced this team. They hustle and play very hard. It will take a close to perfect game on defense to slow down their offense. We must get a takeaway. Their defense is very physical, so the Trojans will have to gather first downs to keep their offense off the field. The Trojan run game will have to carry the load, so long ball possessions and having no turnovers will be huge.” – Center Grove’s Eric Moore.
MISHAWAKA (7-1) AT PENN (7-1)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, TCU Freed Field.
COACHES: Keith Kinder, 7-1 in first season at Mishawaka. Cory Yeoman, 173-33 in 16th season at Penn.
LAST CONTEST: Mishawaka beat Mishawaka Marian, 35-17. Penn beat Elkhart Central, 20-17.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Penn, 48-7, on October 13, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: Joe Willis tallied 11 tackles for the Cavemen against Marian. Ryan Whiteman rushed the ball 29 times for 130 yards and a score for the Kingsmen against Elkhart Central.
COACH TALK: “Obviously, Penn is really good. They’ve been fantastic defensively all year and their offense seems to get better each week. For us to have a chance to win Friday, we’re going to have to be mistake free in the kicking game, take very good care of the ball on offense, and defensively, we have to keep the ball in front of us and tackle well.” – Mishawaka’s Keith Kinder.
“Defensively, we must play assignment football, tackle well, and limit the big plays. On offense, we must find ways to get first downs and protect the football.” – Penn’s Cory Yeoman.
NORTHWOOD (8-0) AT PLYMOUTH (6-2)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, The Rockpile.
COACHES: Nate Andrews, 43-14 in fifth season at NorthWood, 83-53 in 12th season overall. John Barron, 115-49 in 15th season at Plymouth.
LAST CONTEST: NorthWood beat Warsaw, 14-13. Plymouth beat Goshen, 49-31.
PREVIOUS MEETING: NorthWood, 30-6, on October 13, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: Nate Newcomer was 2-of-5 for 22 yards and carried the ball 15 times for 42 yards for the Panthers against Warsaw. Daniel Bacon had a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown for the Rockies against Goshen.
COACH TALK: “We must find a way to be sound in the kicking game and limit their big play capability.” – NorthWood’s Nate Andrews.
“They are No. 1 for a reason. What jumps out at us while watching them is how hard and confident they play. They are a disciplined, hard-nosed, very well-coached team. And Bronson Yoder may be as complete a football player as I have seen in a long, long time. He’s not only fast and strong, he’s passionate and it’s contagious over there in Nappanee. It reminds me of trying to defend and beat his coach when Nate was a player. Same mentality. We better be ready to play or they will run us out of the Rockpile.” – Plymouth’s John Barron.
PARKE HERITAGE (6-2) AT FOUNTAIN CENTRAL (6-2)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Mustang Stadium.
COACHES: Brian Moore, 6-2 in first season at Parke Heritage, 193-45 in 21st season overall. Ryan Hall, 6-2 in first season at Fountain Central, 41-32 in seventh season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Parke Heritage beat Riverton Parke, 58-21. Fountain Central lost to North Vermillion, 35-28.
PREVIOUS MEETING: None.
TOP PERFORMERS: Trevor Rapp ran 12 times for 85 yards and a touchdown for the Wolves against Riverton Parke. Aaron Barnett had four catches for 43 yards and a score for the Mustangs against North Vermillion.
COACH TALK: “Fountain Central is a very talented team. I am very familiar with their players after coaching them the past two seasons. We will have to contain their quarterback Nathaniel Butts. He is a strong run threat who throws well too. Their offensive line is a strength so their run game is strong. Aaron Barnett is a tall, athletic receiver that we will have to keep in check as well. Their defense has been very stout this season. They are well-coached and present a lot of returners from a year ago. This is a tough matchup for us. We will again have to be efficient and balanced on offense. Our defense is finally starting to improve; however, we must tackle better this week. This season has been a process, but it is now time to up our game. The newness has worn off and we cannot have any excuses for lack of execution. If we can continue to improve, we can become explosive on both sides of the ball and be more competitive in the tournament. That is our goal.” – Parke Heritage’s Brian Moore.
“Parke Heritage is a very athletic team. We must try to contain their speed and minimize their big offensive plays. For us to win any more games, we must be able to tackle better. If we do not tackle well in the open space this week, Parke Heritage could score a lot of points. Offensively, we must control the line of scrimmage, pick up their blitzes, and get the ball in space to our play makers.” – Fountain Central’s Ryan Hall.
ROCHESTER (7-1) AT MACONAQUAH (6-2)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Maconaquah Stadium
COACHES: Brian Hooker, 14-4 in second season at Rochester. Austin Colby, 6-2 in first season at Maconaquah.
LAST CONTEST: Rochester beat Manchester, 49-14. Maconaquah lost to Southwood, 21-10.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Maconaquah, 24-7, on October 14, 2016.
TOP PERFORMERS: Taylor Johnson came up with a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown for the Zebras against Manchester. Carter Little rambled 16 times for 60 yards and a score for the Braves against Southwood.
COACH TALK: “Maconaquah runs the same offense as we did last year (we do not do that this year) and is somewhat familiar to us. They are pretty straight forward to us. Defensively, they will be a mixed bag to us. This will be a test for our offense as well as our defense.” – Rochester’s Brian Hooker.
“Rochester is a great team up-front. Coach Hooker does a good job of giving defenses a lot to think about by lining up in multiple formations. In order for us to win, we will have to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and have to really focus on our pre-snap alignment.” – Maconaquah’s Austin Colby.
SHENANDOAH (7-1) AT MONROE CENTRAL (7-1)
KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. EDT, Monroe Central Field.
COACHES: Jordan McCaslin, 16-4 in second season at Shenandoah. John Hochstetler, 53-25 in seventh season at Monroe Central, 140-108 in 22nd season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Shenandoah beat Eastern Hancock, 47-8. Monroe Central beat Union County, 38-12.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Shenandoah, 42-20, on October 13, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: Dallas Pugsley had 12 carries for 95 yards and three touchdowns for the Raiders against Eastern Hancock. Seth Wilson recorded 12 carries for 153 yards and four scores for the Golden Bears against Union County.
COACH TALK: “For Shenandoah to win the upcoming game against a very good Monroe Central team, we must be the more physical team. They have some good size and the ability to hit a big one when they need to. They are very well-coached, so making sure we play assignment football will be key. It should be a great atmosphere for a high school football game.” – Shenandoah’s Jordan McCaslin.
“This game should be a good one. Shenandoah has great tradition and is very well-coached. We have to minimize our mistakes and focus on sound football. They are going to be a real challenge for us. This is for the (Mid-Eastern) conference championship, so I expect us to compete.” – Monroe Central’s John Hochstetler.
SOUTHRIDGE (6-2) AT GIBSON SOUTHERN (6-2)
KICKOFF: 6:30 p.m. CDT, Jewell Field.
COACHES: Scott Buening, 54-17 in sixth season at Southridge, 66-45 in 10th season overall. Nick Hart, 73-11 in seventh season at Gibson Southern.
LAST CONTEST: Southridge beat Pike Central, 48-0. Gibson Southern beat Tell City, 57-12.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Gibson Southern, 55-14, Oct. 13, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: Garrett Voegerl hauled in a 59-yard touchdown reception for the Raiders against Pike Central. Mitchell Spindler scampered 19 times for 116 yards and three scores for the Titans against Tell City.
COACH TALK: “Gibson Southern continues to be one of the top teams in Southern Indiana. They have a young team that has continued to get better as the season has progressed and is playing really good football heading into the tournament. Gibson is a balanced football team that has the ability to run and throw the ball effectively and their no-huddle poses a lot of challenges. Offensively, we will need to protect the football and find a way to finish drives. If we can, we will give ourselves a chance to be successful.” – Southridge’s Scott Buening.
“Southridge is a very good football team. It will take our best game of the year to have a chance to defeat the defending Class 2A state champions. Our defense is going to have to be very disciplined against their shotgun Wing-T offense. Offensively, we have to take care of the football. We have turned it over too much in our two losses.” – Gibson Southern’s Nick Hart.
WEST LAFAYETTE (8-0) AT TIPTON (8-0)
KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. EDT, Tipton Stadium.
COACHES: Shane Fry, 61-12 in sixth season at West Lafayette. Aaron Tolle, 103-54 in 14th season at Tipton.
LAST CONTEST: West Lafayette beat Twin Lakes, 56-13. Tipton beat Western, 24-21.
PREVIOUS MEETING: West Lafayette, 51-6, on October 13, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: Kyle Hazell racked up four catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns for the Red Devils against Twin Lakes. Jayvin Lyons registered 15 tackles for the Blue Devils against Western.
COACH TALK: “West Lafayette is an excellent team. Their best asset in my opinion is their defense, especially their front three. For us to be successful, we must slow down their penetration and pass rush. They also have excellent skill players on offense that all have big play ability. We cannot give up chunk plays and must make them put sustained drives together. We will have to play our best all-around game to come out on top.” – Tipton’s Aaron Tolle.
“In order for us to beat Tipton, we must be able to contain their quarterback KJ Roudebush. He has been outstanding all season not just with his arm, but he is also a great runner. We will also need to take care of the football on offense. Tipton has a very strong defense with numerous playmakers.” – West Lafayette’s Shane Fry.