CLASS 1A – ADAMS CENTRAL (14-0) VS. INDIANAPOLIS LUTHERAN (14-0)
KICKOFF: 11 a.m. EST, Saturday, Lucas Oil Stadium.
COACHES: Michael Mosser, 127-47 in 14th season at Adams Central. Dave Pasch, 137-53 in 15th season at Lutheran, 202-110 in 26th season overall.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Adams Central beat North Judson, 35-0. Lutheran beat North Decatur, 28-7.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Lutheran, 34-28, on November 26, 2021, in Class 1A state final.
LAST TIME IN THE WINNERS CIRCLE: Adams Central (2000), Indianapolis Lutheran (2021).
TOP PERFORMERS: Ryan Black had 14 rushes for 155 yards with four scores for the No. 2 Flying Jets against No. 4 North Judson. Jackson Willis was 15-of-20 for 220 yards with a touchdown for the top-ranked Saints against No. 3 North Decatur.
COACHES’ CORNER: “We truly have a daunting task ahead of us against Indy Lutheran. We know how good they are. For us to win, we will need to play our best game. We cannot have needless penalties and major mistakes. We must play clean on both sides of the ball. If we are going to win, we must be able to move the ball effectively and score. I don’t think we can shut their offense down completely, but our goal will be to slow them down as much as possible. If we do those things, we have a chance to win.” – Adams Central’s Michael Mosser.
“Adams Central is well-coached and very disciplined with a ton of talented players. We can’t afford to make mistakes. We can avoid that with great mental preparedness and awareness. Adams Central has good team speed. They are physical and very fundamental. Adams Central is a swarming presence on defense that is physical and attacks. We will have to execute the game plan to have success in all three phases of the football game.” – Indianapolis Lutheran’s Dave Pasch.
CLASS 2A – ANDREAN (10-3) VS. EVANSVILLE MATER DEI (11-3)
KICKOFF: 11 a.m. EST, Friday, Lucas Oil Stadium.
COACHES: Chris Skinner, 66-24 in seventh season at Andrean. Mike Goebel, 259-82 in 26th season at Mater Dei.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Andrean beat Fort Wayne Luers, 48-29. Mater Dei beat Linton-Stockton, 51-28.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Andrean, 21-9, on November 27, 2021 in Class 2A state final.
LAST TIME IN THE WINNERS CIRCLE: Andrean (2021), Evansville Mater Dei (2000).
TOP PERFORMERS: Drayk Bowen rambled 34 times for 358 yards with five touchdowns for the No. 5 59ers against Fort Wayne Bishop Luers. Mason Wunderlich completed 14-of-18 for 203 yards with a touchdown and also ran for three scores for the No. 6 Wildcats against No. 1 Linton-Stockton.
COACHES’ CORNER: “Mason Wunderlich is an impressive athlete and thrower. Last year’s game gave us a firsthand look at the amount of zip and precision he puts on the football. He appears to have improved on that skill set these past 365 days, most notably as a threat running the football. The dual threat presents a challenge for our defense especially considering the depth at running back and wide receiver. Their coaching staff uses creativity to attack the defense, so we need to put Wunderlich in uncomfortable situations so he can’t fully utilize his weapons. We need to be efficient with our offensive possessions. Mater Dei’s defense has limited opposing offenses to below their season average. They are coached well. They play with great technique. There have been games this season in which we have been wasteful with field position opportunities or turnovers. Hopefully, we have some of those opportunities Friday, and if so need to capitalize on them. Our seniors have done a great job of leading us this season. They’ve set the tone and continued the high standards of our program. We need that for one more week.” – Andrean’s Chris Skinner.
“It is no secret that if any team had a chance to stop or slow down Andrean, that team had to stop or slow down Drayk Bowen. Well, that has not happened, and we do not pretend that we will be able to stop him. We do hope to keep him in front of us at times. However, Andrean has so much more talent than just Bowen, (Quarterback Billy) Henry has nearly 2,000 yards passing and (Patrick) Clacks has already surpassed 1,000 yards receiving. Obviously, Coach Skinner and his staff have done an excellent job coaching. Their defense is tenacious led by (linebackers) Bowen and (Charlie) Koeppen and their special teams apply great pressure. We will have to be at the very top of our game to compete. We must find a way on offense to move and protect the football. Obviously, we have to minimize mistakes and penalties and work for field position.” – Evansville Mater Dei’s Mike Goebel.
CLASS 3A – INDIANAPOLIS BISHOP CHATARD (10-4) VS. LAWRENCEBURG (13-1)
KICKOFF: 3 p.m. EST, Saturday, Lucas Oil Stadium.
COACHES: Rob Doyle, 62-20 in sixth season at Bishop Chatard. Ryan Knigga, 112-36 in 12th season at Lawrenceburg.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Bishop Chatard beat West Lafayette, 21-3. Lawrenceburg beat Monrovia, 35-7.
PREVIOUS MEETING: First clash on the gridiron.
LAST TIME IN THE WINNERS CIRCLE: Bishop Chatard (2000), Lawrenceburg (1978-Class 1A).
TOP PERFORMERS: Drew VanVleet was 9-of-19 for 109 yards with a score and ran for another tally for the No. 6 Trojans against top-ranked West Lafayette. Teagan Bennett scampered 22 times for 151 yards with three touchdowns for the No. 9 Tigers against Monrovia.
COACHES’ CORNER: “In order to win this game, we need to stop their run game. They are a very physical team that runs the ball very well and controls the clock. They can take other teams out of their game by controlling it upfront. When we get our chances on offense, we need to remain efficient and balanced.” – Bishop Chatard’s Rob Doyle.
“Bishop Chatard is a good football program with a great tradition. They are a program that is always in the mix come tournament time. This is the state championship game and both teams earned the right to be playing this weekend. We feel we have a great tradition as well. The first thing you need to do against Chatard is align correctly. They use a variety of formations and eye candy to get you off your keys. We must be locked in and do our job. You must defend the pass and not give up the big play. Tackling in space will be huge. They play in space and make you make plays. Offensively, we must take our shots when we have them, and we must run the ball. Our kids understand what we must do to win the game. This is not a vacation trip for us just to say we made it. It is a business trip, and we need to hold our end of the bargain. No doubt our kids will play hard. They will fly around and make plays. We have some punches left in us. It will take a few to knock out a program like Chatard, but we can deliver. It’s a great opportunity and we’re excited to be playing this weekend.” – Lawrenceburg’s Ryan Knigga.
CLASS 4A – NEW PRAIRIE (13-1) VS. EAST CENTRAL (12-2)
KICKOFF: 3 p.m. EST, Friday, Lucas Oil Stadium.
COACHES: Casey McKim, 29-9 in third season at New Prairie. Jake Meiners, 41-9 in fourth season at East Central.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: New Prairie beat Kokomo, 10-9. East Central beat Indianapolis Roncalli, 24-21 (OT).
PREVIOUS MEETING: First get together in football.
LAST TIME IN THE WINNERS CIRCLE: New Prairie (never), East Central (2017).
TOP PERFORMERS: Marshall Kmiecik went 4-of-10 for 77 yards and ran 26 times for 69 yards with a touchdown for the No. 6 Cougars against No. 7 Kokomo. Eli Ashton came up with two catches for 13 yards with a score for the No. 4 Trojans against No. 2 Indianapolis Roncalli.
COACHES’ CORNER: “The major keys for victory this week will be threefold. First, we must win the battle in the trenches. Offensively, we must work our double teams and climb to the linebackers. We must sustain blocks and be extremely technical up front. Defensively, we must be able to set the line of scrimmage and not allow their bigger offensive line to get movement at the point of attack. Second, we must execute at a high level. We must take care of the ball and limit mistakes. We must limit penalties and force the other team to make mistakes. Finally, we must be the physical aggressor. We must play with more energy, focus, and attitude than our opponent. I feel if we can win these three battles, then we will get a good result.” – New Prairie’s Casey McKim.
“New Prairie looks like a great football team who has made quite a run in the state tournament. We are going to have to be great tacklers, take care of the football, and handle our emotions on Friday. New Prairie scores a lot of points on offense and has held opponents to limited scoring this season. It will take a great effort on our end in order to give ourselves a chance to win.” – East Central’s Jake Meiners.
CLASS 5A – VALPARAISO (10-3) VS. WHITELAND (12-1)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EST, Saturday, Lucas Oil Stadium
COACHES: Bill Marshall, 51-11 in fifth season at Valparaiso. Darrin Fisher, 130-72 in 18th season at Whiteland, 191-144 in 32nd season overall.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Valparaiso beat Fort Wayne Snider, 22-21 (OT). Whiteland beat Castle, 21-7.
PREVIOUS MEETING: First encounter in football.
LAST TIME IN THE WINNERS CIRCLE: Valparaiso (1975-Class 3A), Whiteland (never).
TOP PERFORMERS: Travis Davis tallied 43 carries for 277 yards with two scores for the No. 9 Vikings against top-ranked Fort Wayne Snider. Slate Valentine accumulated 14 carries for 82 yards with two touchdowns for the No. 2 Warriors against Castle.
COACHES’ CORNER: “In order to come away with a victory on Saturday, we will have to be able to finish out drives and minimize our mistakes. Defensively, we will need to get their offense into throwing downs by stopping the run on first and second down. Special teams will need to be able to flip the field as well and be secure with the football. We cannot afford to leave points off the board because of missed kicks.” – Valparaiso’s Bill Marshall.
“The styles are different, but the goal offensively is the same for both teams. The team that runs the ball the most effectively will have the edge. The kicking game can be the deciding factor by gaining an extra possession or creating a big play.” – Whiteland’s Darrin Fisher.
CLASS 6A – CARROLL (FORT WAYNE) (13-0) VS. CENTER GROVE (11-2)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EST, Friday, Lucas Oil Stadium.
COACHES: Doug Dinan, 103-45 in 13th season at Carroll. Eric Moore, 235-74 in 24th season at Center Grove, 283-79 in 28th season overall.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Carroll beat Hamilton Southeastern, 21-15. Center Grove beat Indianapolis Cathedral, 33-10.
PREVIOUS MEETING: First time playing against each other in football.
LAST TIME IN THE WINNERS CIRCLE: Carroll (Fort Wayne) (never), Center Grove (2021).
TOP PERFORMERS: Jimmy Sullivan was 7-of-12 for 120 yards for the No. 5 Chargers against No. 1 Hamilton Southeastern. Micah Coyle raced 32 times for 218 yards with four touchdowns for the No. 4 Trojans against No. 2 Indianapolis Cathedral.
COACHES’ CORNER: “Anyone who knows anything about football in Indiana knows that Center Grove is the dominant program. This will be their fourth consecutive state finals appearance while winning the last two. They like to run the football and do so with a talented offensive line and running back. Defensively, they play very fast and physical and have talent at every level. For us to be successful, we will have to win the battle up front, stop the run, take care of the football, and make a difference on special teams.” Carroll’s Doug Dinan.
“Center Grove must play with great intelligence and discipline on defense and in the secondary. Carroll is one of the most talented teams we’ve seen and are best at making something from nothing. Our defense cannot let Carroll get out of third and long or fourth and long with conversions or touchdowns. Our offense must continue to run the ball and move the chains. Turnovers will kill either team in this game. We must remain physical on offense with our running backs getting extra yards after contact, and with our defense getting the Carroll runners on the ground. Our passing game can be the difference if we can protect our quarterback (Tyler Cherry). We have multiple weapons to use. Our defense must apply pressure and keep Carroll’s quarterback (Jimmy Sullivan) contained. But in like all football games, the team that blocks and tackles the best will usually win. Our team is making its fourth straight trip to Lucas Oil Stadium, so our players should be well acquainted with the environment and noise. Which team will this game be too big for? That is a component no coach can control as ut emotions are high for both teams, so 16-17-and 18-year-old kids will have to control their emotions and play well. But I do hope both schools enjoy what is the greatest experience in high school sports. I know I will.” – Center Grove’s Eric Moore.