Plenty of progress was made as I went 29-5 (85 percent) last week. As the post-season nears the midway point, my overall record is now 194-55, which has me at 78 percent for the year.
Crown Point (4-6) at Merrillville (7-3): The Pirates posted a 26-21 win over Crown Point on September 1. Sam Krutz returned a fumble 76 yards for a touchdown in the Bulldogs’ 12-7 win over Portage. Roderick Bell raced for 103 yards and two scores in Merrillville’s 42-14 win over Lake Central. Matt’s pick: Merrillville 25, Crown Point 17.
Valparaiso (8-2) at Penn (8-2): The Kingsmen opened the 2017 season with a 21-3 win against Valparaiso on August 17. C.J. Opperman was 8-of-11 for 142 yards with two touchdowns and ran for another tally in the Vikings’ 55-7 victory against Chesterton. Ron Powlus went 12-of-20 for 146 yards and a score in Penn’s 16-7 win over Warsaw. Matt’s pick: Penn 20, Valparaiso 14.
Fort Wayne Snider (8-2) at Homestead (7-3): The Panthers downed Homestead, 23-7, on September 14. Anyis Lockett had 17 carries for 126 yards and a touchdown in Fort Wayne Snider’s 49-30 win at Carroll (Fort Wayne). Braeden Hardwick scooted 21 times for 144 yards with a score in the Spartans’ 24-7 win over Fort Wayne Northrop. Matt’s pick: Fort Wayne Snider 30, Homestead 26.
Carmel (8-2) at Lafayette Jeff (9-1): The Greyhounds claimed a sectional crown last season with a 41-20 win over Lafayette Jeff. Zach White rambled 14 times for 158 yards and three scores in Carmel’s 28-7 win over Westfield. Brian Jenkins caught 11 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns for the Bronchos in a 35-24 win over Noblesville. Matt’s pick: Carmel 31, Lafayette Jeff 28.
North Central (Indianapolis) (8-2) at Fishers (4-6): The Tigers dropped a 31-7 decision to North Central (Indianapolis) on August 17. Liam Thompson was 18-of-31 for 253 yards and three scores in the Panthers’ 41-12 win over Hamilton Southeastern. Matt Noble recorded 15 rushes for 151 yards and three touchdowns in Fishers’ 33-20 win over Indianapolis Pike. Matt’s pick: North Central (Indianapolis) 43, Fishers 22.
Lawrence Central (4-6) at Warren Central (10-0): The Warriors blanked Lawrence Central, 47-0, on September 7. Darian Miller found the end zone twice in the Bears’ 28-20 win over Lawrence North. Romeir Elliott tallied 21 carries for 200 yards with three scores and also caught a 58-yard touchdown pass in Warren Central’s 49-28 win over Ben Davis. Matt’s pick: Warren Central 49, Lawrence Central 12.
Brownsburg (10-0) at Avon (8-2): The Bulldogs earned a 21-7 win over Avon on September 7. Donny Marcus registered 15 rushes for 143 yards and two touchdowns in Brownsburg’s 42-20 win over Southport. Jalen Love had a pair of touchdowns for the Orioles in their 42-7 win against Perry Meridian. Matt’s pick: Brownsburg 14, Avon 13.
Center Grove (7-3) at Franklin Central (3-7): The Trojans cruised to a 35-3 win over Franklin Central in last year’s sectional semifinal. Carson Steele racked up 24 carries for 183 yards with three scores and caught two passes for 47 yards in Center Grove’s 42-0 blanking of Columbus North. Malecki Parks had 34 touches for 292 yards and six touchdowns in the Flashes’ 42-3 victory over Jeffersonville. Matt’s pick: Center Grove 46, Franklin Central 10.
Michigan City (8-2) at LaPorte (4-6): The Wolves marched past LaPorte, 52-8, on October 5. Lyric McFarrin had eight rushes for 113 yards and three touchdowns in Michigan City’s 72-19 win over Munster. Collin Berquist ran 27 times for 122 yards and a score in the Slicers’ 33-19 win over Adams. Matt’s pick: Michigan City 45, LaPorte 14.
Elkhart Central (6-5) at Concord (5-5): The Blazers claimed their lone sectional title with a 23-14 win over Concord in 2014. Dominic Davis scampered 19 times for 111 yards and a touchdown in Elkhart Central’s 19-0 blanking of Goshen. Julius James hauled in six passes for 114 yards and a score in the Minutemen’s 28-20 win over Elkhart Memorial. Matt’s pick: Concord 25, Elkhart Central 23.
Harrison (West Lafayette) (5-5) at Kokomo (5-5): The Wildkats slipped past Harrison, 13-10, on October 5. Marcel Atisso had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the Raiders’ 54-20 win over Huntington North. Levi Hrabos was 9-of-26 for 191 yards and three scores for Kokomo in a 22-20 win at McCutcheon. Matt’s pick: Kokomo 19, Harrison (West Lafayette) 17.
Anderson (3-7) at New Palestine (10-0): The Dragons marched to a 51-21 win against Anderson in the 2010 sectional opener. Xander Stokes went 26-of-42 for 403 yards and five scores in the Indians’ 33-12 win over Greenfield-Central. Charlie Spegal carried the ball 26 times for 138 yards and four touchdowns in New Palestine’s 29-17 win over Zionsville. Matt’s pick: New Palestine 54, Anderson 7.
Indianapolis Cathedral (6-5) at Decatur Central (9-1): The Hawks suffered a 41-21 setback to Cathedral a year ago in the sectional final. Orin Edwards was 16-of-26 for 147 yards and ran 10 times for 37 yards and a score for the Irish in a 30-10 win over Indianapolis Roncalli. Kenny Tracy carried the ball seven times for 128 yards with two touchdowns and also caught a 13-yard pass for a score in Decatur Central’s 49-14 win over Indianapolis Tech. Matt’s pick: Indianapolis Cathedral 21, Decatur Central 20.
Martinsville (8-2) at Bloomington South (5-5): The Artesians recorded a 42-20 victory over Bloomington South on August 24. Logan Byrum recorded 17 tackles for Martinsville in a 31-9 win over Bloomington North. Maveric Thiery exploded for 39 carries for 270 yards and a touchdown in the Panthers’ 34-24 win over Whiteland. Matt’s pick: Martinsville 22, Bloomington South 19.
Columbus East (9-2) at Bedford North Lawrence (8-2): The Stars are looking to avenge a 58-48 loss to Columbus East on October 12. Cole Gilley went 15-of-21 for 276 yards and three touchdowns in the Olympians’ 49-13 win over Seymour. McCall Ray was 9-of-13 for 99 yards with one score and also ran for two touchdowns in Bedford North Lawrence’s 35-7 win over Floyd Central. Matt’s pick: Columbus East 42, Bedford North Lawrence 36.
Terre Haute South (4-6) at Castle (6-4): The Knights crowned Terre Haute South, 42-14, on August 17. Jake Dressler carried the ball 30 times for 103 yards and two touchdowns in the Braves’ 37-31 double-overtime win over Terre Haute North. Noah Taylor raced 11 times for 134 yards and three scores in Castle’s 55-7 win over Evansville North. Matt’s pick: Castle 24, Terre Haute South 9.
Hammond Morton (9-2) at Lowell (9-2): The Red Devils registered a 38-0 win over Hammond Morton on September 1. Credell Prather completed 20-of-26 for 351 yards with five scores and ran eight times for 43 yards and a touchdown in the Governors’ 48-9 win over East Chicago Central. Tyler Wildman carried the ball 26 times for 130 yards and two touchdowns in Lowell’s 45-14 win over Griffith. Matt’s pick: Lowell 36, Hammond Morton 21.
Saint Joseph (7-4) at Mishawaka (10-1): The Cavemen edged Saint Joseph, 26-24, on September 28. Ashton Ruszkowski went 14-of-17 for 232 yards and three touchdowns in the Indians’ 42-30 win over New Prairie. Sam Shively scampered 11 times for 140 yards and two scores and also threw a touchdown pass for Mishawaka in a 35-28 win over Riley. Matt’s pick: Mishawaka 28, Saint Joseph 24.
NorthWood (11-0) at Angola (11-0): The Hornets rallied for a 28-21 overtime win against NorthWood a season ago in the sectional semifinal. Nic Bontrager recorded eight tackles in the Panthers’ 46-35 win at East Noble. Joel McCurdy raced 77 yards for a touchdown in Angola’s 34-0 blanking of Northridge. Matt’s pick: NorthWood 35, Angola 33.
Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger (10-1) at Fort Wayne Wayne (9-2): The Generals dropped a 22-0 contest to Bishop Dwenger on August 17. Devon Tippmann had 21 rushes for 147 yards and a touchdown in the Saints’ 42-9 win over Leo. Brandan Young completed 5-of-11 for 185 yards and three scores in Fort Wayne Wayne’s 53-14 victory against New Haven. Matt’s pick: Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger 26, Fort Wayne Wayne 13.
Marion (11-0) at Mississinewa (10-1): The Indians were a 21-14 winner over Marion in last season’s sectional semifinal. Keyshaun Taylor went 2-of-3 for 101 yards and two scores and ran 14 times for 89 yards and a touchdown in the Giants’ 37-0 win over Delta. Cade Campbell rambled 19 times for 149 yards and a touchdown in Mississinewa’s 24-14 win over Yorktown. Matt’s pick: Mississinewa 39, Marion 32.
Greenwood (4-7) at Mooresville (10-1): The Pioneers racked up a 49-14 victory over Greenwood on September 7. Luke Hommell was 7-of-16 for 129 yards and two touchdowns for the Woodmen in a 14-7 win against Mount Vernon (Fortville). Brayden Evans ran twice for 108 yards and a score in Mooresville’s 48-21 win against Richmond. Matt’s pick: Mooresville 47, Greenwood 15.
East Central (10-1) at Edgewood (8-3): The Mustangs came up on the short end of a 48-6 decision to East Central in last season’s sectional opener. Caden Browndyke booted three field goals, including the game-winning 32-yard kick with 6.6 seconds left, in the Trojans’ 9-7 win over South Dearborn. Levon Bellemy carried the ball 23 times for 143 yards in Edgewood’s 23-15 win against Silver Creek. Matt’s pick: East Central 31, Edgewood 9.
Boonville (11-0) at Evansville Central (10-1): The Bears eliminated Boonville, 7-6, in the 2008 sectional opener. Jackson Phillips went 5-of-7 for 102 yards with a touchdown and ran 16 times for 67 yards and another score in the Pioneers’ 17-6 win over Jasper. Brennan Schutte had 72 yards on the ground and three touchdowns in Evansville Central’s 35-21 win over Northview. Matt’s pick: Evansville Central 31, Boonville 10.
Andrean (10-1) at West Lafayette (11-0): The Red Devils captured last year’s sectional title with a 56-10 win over Andrean. Andrew Benton ran eight times for 123 yards and a touchdown in the 59ers’ 44-12 win over Hanover Central. Brice Rider scampered 17 times for 120 yards and three scores in West Lafayette’s 74-0 blanking of Twin Lakes. Matt’s pick: West Lafayette 44, Andrean 32.
Blackford (8-3) at Brebeuf Jesuit (9-2): The Bruins lost 42-14 to Brebeuf Jesuit in the sectional semifinal a season ago. Jacob Deavers had nine carries for 116 yards and two scores in Blackford’s 38-0 blanking of North Montgomery. Jay Higgins accounted for 18 tackles in the Braves’ 20-10 win over Guerin Catholic. Matt’s pick: Brebeuf Jesuit 39, Blackford 11.
Maconaquah (9-2) at Marian (7-4): The Braves and Marian are meeting for the first time on the gridiron. Carter Little scampered 23 times for 167 yards and two touchdowns in Maconaquah’s 24-6 win over Tippecanoe Valley. Tyler DeBoe carried the ball 13 times for 59 yards and a score in the Knights’ 31-6 win over Knox. Matt’s pick: Marian 29, Maconaquah 12.
Fort Wayne Bishop Luers (7-4) at Bellmont (2-9): The Braves recorded a 21-7 win over Bishop Luers in the 2015 sectional finale. Jordan Presley registered nine carries for 72 yards and a touchdown in the Knights’ 45-21 win at West Noble. Colin Mills racked up three rushes for 82 yards and two scores in Bellmont’s 28-21 win over Fort Wayne Concordia. Matt’s pick: Fort Wayne Bishop Luers 46, Bellmont 14.
Indianapolis Bishop Chatard (9-2) at Indian Creek (7-4): The Trojans earned a regional title in 2011 with a 62-22 win over Indian Creek. Tony Harrison accounted for a pair of scores in Bishop Chatard’s 62-6 win over Rushville. Avery Welch exploded for 17 rushes for 188 yards and a touchdown in the Braves’ 33-0 triumph over Indianapolis Manual. Matt’s pick: Bishop Chatard 47, Indian Creek 20.
Tri-West (7-4) at Sullivan (9-2): The Bruins are playing Sullivan for the first time in football. Sam Fulton tallied 20 carries for 138 yards in Tri-West’s 29-7 win over Danville. Jake Skinner ran 14 times for 116 yards and a score in the Golden Arrows’ 27-7 victory against Monrovia. Matt’s pick: Sullivan 41, Tri-West 40.
Batesville (9-2) at Brownstown Central (10-1): The Bulldogs and Brownstown Central have never met before on the football field. Trey Heidlage was 2-of-3 for 75 yards with a score and rushed 22 times for 108 yards and two touchdowns in Batesville’s 28-22 win over Lawrenceburg. Caleb Bollinger dashed 10 times for 153 yards and two scores in the Braves’ 56-15 win against Salem. Matt’s pick: Brownstown Central 38, Batesville 19.
Evansville Memorial (11-0) at Gibson Southern (9-2): The Tigers got by Gibson Southern, 26-17, in last year’s sectional final. Logan Lively caught seven passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns for Evansville Memorial in its 52-6 win over Vincennes Lincoln. Brady Allen was 4-of-12 for 138 yards with two scores and ran for a third tally in the Titans’ 24-14 win over Heritage Hills. Matt’s pick: Evansville Memorial 39, Gibson Southern 34.
Boone Grove (9-2) at Whiting (11-0): The Oilers scampered to a 27-13 victory over Boone Grove on August 31. Christian Larson carried the ball eight times for 138 yards and three touchdowns in the Wolves’ 47-0 blanking of Lake Station. Tom Davenport accounted for 10 rushes for 58 yards and three scores in Whiting’s 48-0 win over Gary Roosevelt. Matt’s pick: Whiting 48, Boone Grove 21.
Bremen (9-2) at Bluffton (7-4): The Tigers opened the 2017 playoffs with a 27-19 win over Bremen. Ryan Caldwell went 7-of-13 for 124 yards and three scores in the Lions’ 52-14 win over Central Noble. Gavin King was 10-of-17 for 148 yards with two touchdowns and caught a 24-yard pass for another tally in Bluffton’s 41-8 win against Prairie Heights. Matt’s pick: Bremen 36, Bluffton 18.
Lewis Cass (7-4) at Eastbrook (10-1): The Kings dropped a 28-7 contest to Eastbrook in the sectional final a season ago. Gabe Eurit scampered 29 times for 166 yards and a touchdown in Lewis Cass’ 14-7 win over Rensselaer Central. Edward Keasling raced eight times for 157 yards and two scores in the Panthers’ 48-20 win over Rochester. Matt’s pick: Eastbrook 35, Lewis Cass 10.
Lapel (7-4) at Shenandoah (10-1): The Raiders registered a 52-7 victory against Lapel on September 7. Brandon Wood came up with 14 tackles for the Bulldogs in their 11-8 win over Northeastern. Peyton Starks completed 6-of-8 for 163 yards and a score in Shenandoah’s 51-13 triumph against Alexandria. Matt’s pick: Shenandoah 40, Lapel 22.
Indianapolis Scecina (10-1) at Triton Central (10-1): The Crusaders blanked Triton Central, 20-0 on September 28. Tavon Middlebrook ran 15 times for 146 yards and three touchdowns in Scecina’s 47-26 victory over Heritage Christian. Keaton Kemode tallied 26 carries for 145 yards and two scores for the Tigers in their 20-0 decision over Knightstown. Matt’s pick: Indianapolis Scecina 28, Triton Central 13.
North Putnam (8-3) at Western Boone (11-0): The Cougars and Western Boone have never met before on the gridiron. Aidan Baker chipped in 13 rushes for 101 yards in North Putnam’s 15-6 win against Cascade. Devin Weakley registered 16 tackles for the Stars in a 28-20 win over Tipton. Matt’s pick: Western Boone 37, North Putnam 14.
Providence (9-2) at Paoli (11-0): The Rams came up on the short end of a 41-25 contest with Providence in the sectional final a year ago. Joe Denis went 8-of-11 for 196 yards and three scores in the Pioneers’ 28-6 victory against Perry Central. Ty Lawson ran 24 yards for a touchdown in Paoli’s 42-16 victory over Mitchell. Matt’s pick: Paoli 36, Providence 31.
Evansville Mater Dei (6-5) at Southridge (8-3): The Raiders needed overtime to come away with a 38-31 win over Evansville Mater Dei in last season’s sectional final. Cole Happe was 16-of-27 for 228 yards with three touchdowns and ran for another tally in the Wildcats’ 40-21 win against Linton-Stockton. Logan Seger racked up 16 tackles in Southridge’s 40-22 win over North Knox. Matt’s pick: Southridge 33, Evansville Mater Dei 25.
Triton (8-3) at North Judson (6-5): The Trojans racked up a 37-29 win against North Judson on September 28. James Snyder was 6-of-18 for 218 yards with two touchdowns and ran for another score in Triton’s 48-18 victory over Winamac. Fletcher Greer ran 14 times for 255 yards and two scores for the Bluejays in their 42-25 win over South Central. Matt’s pick: Triton 34, North Judson 27.
Pioneer (11-0) at Lafayette Central Catholic (5-6): The Panthers captured a sectional championship a season ago with a 48-20 win over Lafayette Central Catholic. Danny Gregorich had three carries for 133 yards and two touchdowns in Pioneer’s 74-0 blanking of Carroll (Flora). Wes Dulin went 17-of-30 for 229 yards and three scores in the Knights’ 40-16 victory over Tri-County. Matt’s pick: Pioneer 44, Lafayette Central Catholic 16.
Southwood (11-0) at Adams Central (11-0): The Knights crown Adams Central, 50-27, in last year’s sectional title affair. Gabe Lloyd tallied 17 carries for 209 yards and two scores in Southwood’s 37-6 win over Fremont. Parker Bates was 3-of-6 for 149 yards and three touchdowns in the Flying Jets’ 35-10 win over Churubusco. Matt’s pick: Adams Central 31, Southwood 30.
Monroe Central (9-2) at Union City (5-6): The Golden Bears were a 21-0 winner against Union City on August 25. Logan Swallow came up with 14 tackles for Monroe Central in its 8-0 win over Sheridan. Akili Roberts chipped in 17 carries for 122 yards and two touchdowns in the Indians’ 32-12 win over Clinton Prairie. Matt’s pick: Monroe Central 40, Union City 18.
Traders Point Christian (10-1) at South Putnam (5-6): The Knights are taking on South Putnam for the first time. David Hart went 8-of-12 for 229 yards and three scores for Traders Point in a 30-8 win over Indianapolis Tindley. Dalton Scott scampered 30 times for 158 yards and four scores in the Eagles’ 30-14 victory against Indianapolis Howe. Matt’s pick: Traders Point Christian 24, South Putnam 23.
Hagerstown (9-2) at Indianapolis Lutheran (8-3): The Saints held on for a 19-12 win over Hagerstown in the sectional finale a season ago. Camden Rhoades racked up four catches for 118 yards and a touchdown in the Tigers’ 40-12 win over Edinburgh. Marcus McFadden found the end zone twice for Indianapolis Lutheran in a 27-12 victory against North Decatur. Matt’s pick: Indianapolis Lutheran 32, Hagerstown 20.
North Vermillion (10-1) at Attica (8-3): The Red Ramblers dropped a 27-22 contest against North Vermillion on September 21. Wyatt Reynolds ran nine times for 93 yards in the Falcons’ 35-14 win over Seeger. Drew Sheridan accounted for 29 carries for 92 yards in Attica’s 20-16 win over Parke Heritage. Matt’s pick: North Vermillion 29, Attica 26.
North Central (Farmersburg) (8-1) at West Washington (9-2): The Thunderbirds claimed a 28-6 win over West Washington during the 1970 campaign. Ty Thompson registered 17 rushes for 213 yards and four scores in North Central’s 57-0 victory against Tecumseh. Jacob Strange caught a touchdown pass in the Senators’ 20-13 win over Eastern Greene. Matt’s pick: North Central (Farmersburg) 21, West Washington 14.