My late-season slump continued as I went 6-6 (50 percent) picking the semistate games. Going into the final week of the season, my overall record is 219-73, which has me at 75 percent for the year.
Penn (12-1) vs. Ben Davis (13-0): The top-ranked Giants were a 14-10 winner over No. 4 Penn during the 2010 campaign. Ryan Lynch tossed a pair of touchdown passes and ran for a third score in the Kingsmen’s 34-7 win over No. 10 and defending state champion Carmel. Delbert Mimms rambled 13 times for 157 yards and two touchdowns for Ben Davis in its 57-20 triumph over No. 7 Avon. Penn is making its 12th trip to the state finals with titles won in 1983, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 2000. Ben Davis is back for an 11th time with championships taking place in 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1991, 2001, 2002, and 2014. Matt’s pick: Ben Davis 33, Penn 20.
Kokomo (9-4) vs. Columbus East (13-1): Kyle Wade went 9-of-14 for 194 yards and two scores in the Wildkats’ 21-14 victory over No. 10 Michigan City. Josh Major tossed for 62 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 28 yards and another tally in the No. 2 Olympians’ 42-13 win against No. 5 Indianapolis Cathedral. Kokomo is playing in the state championship game for the first time. Columbus East is making its fourth appearance with championships coming in 1979 and 2013. Matt’s pick: Columbus East 40, Kokomo 23.
Lowell (14-0) vs. East Central (11-3): Jordan Jusevitch scampered 15 times for 134 yards and three touchdowns, caught four passes for 47 yards, and added an interception in the top-ranked Red Devils’ 21-7 triumph over No. 8 Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger. Logan Storie accumulated 13 rushes for 164 yards and three scores for the No. 9 Trojans in their 27-14 win over Greenwood. Lowell is back in the state finals for the fourth time, having won in 2005. East Central is also making its fourth appearance, winning in 1994. Matt’s pick: Lowell 28, East Central 21.
Brebeuf Jesuit (10-4) vs. Evansville Memorial (13-1): Derrick Ozobu threw a pair of touchdown passes to Gabe Wright in the Braves’ 17-0 victory at Marian. Michael Lindauer rushed the football five times for 96 yards with two touchdowns and also tossed for 55 yards in the Tigers’ 28-7 win at No. 3 Danville. Brebeuf returns to the state finals for the second time. Evansville Memorial is making its third trip and first since finishing state runner-up in 2009. Matt’s pick: Evansville Memorial 31, Brebeuf Jesuit 17.
Woodlan (12-2) vs. Southridge (12-2): Luke Crilly’s 28-yard field goal as time expired lifted the No. 6 Warriors in their 15-14 win at No. 1 Eastbrook. Jayce Harter was 3-of-3 for 105 yards with two touchdowns and ran 25 times for 122 yards and one score for the No. 5 Raiders in their 24-7 victory at No. 2 Indianapolis Scecina. Woodlan is back in the title game for the first time since 1981. Southridge is making its fourth appearance in the state finals. Matt’s pick: Woodlan 38, Southridge 24.
Pioneer (14-0) vs. Eastern Greene (11-3): Jack Kiser carried the ball 24 times for 197 yards and four touchdowns for the top-ranked Panthers in their 42-14 decision over No. 5 Monroe Central. Caleb Hamilton had 29 carries for 177 yards and two scores, including a five-yard scamper with 2:17 remaining, in the No. 2 Thunderbirds’ 12-8 win over No. 3 Indianapolis Lutheran. Pioneer won a state championship in 1997 and finished state runner-up in 2014 and 2016. Eastern Greene is playing in its first state championship contest. Matt’s pick: Pioneer 34, Eastern Greene 32.