BY PAUL CONDRY AND MATT KOPSEA
ATTICA (4-0) AT FOUNTAIN CENTRAL (4-0)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Mustang Stadium.
COACHES: Ryan Good, 69-35 in 10th season at Attica. Raymond Jones, 23-5 in third season at Fountain Central.
LAST CONTEST: Attica beat Rockville, 65-7. Fountain Central beat Covington, 36-0.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Fountain Central, 34-31, on September 16, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: In dropping the last three meeting against Fountain Central has been outscored 131-79. Fountain Central has won its last eight home contests.
COACH TALK: “Defensively, we will need to play solid run defense up front and at the same time not have any coverage breakdowns in the back. Offensively, we will need to take care of Fountain Central’s big front line and make sure we are getting positive plays. With two undefeated teams, it will be a good game and will come down to who makes the least mistakes.” – Attica’s Ryan Good.
“Attica is a well-coached team and they have a lot of great athletes spread around the field. We will have to be very disciplined on defense and make sure we tackle well. They do a great job of making a team pay for mistakes. Offensively, we will have to execute and take care of the ball. I feel the team with the fewest turnovers will be the team that will come out on top. Should be a great game, great atmosphere, and a great night for football in Indiana!” – Fountain Central’s Raymond Jones.
CENTER GROVE (2-2) AT NORTH CENTRAL (INDIANAPOLIS) (3-1)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Panthers Stadium.
COACHES: Eric Moore, 175-58 in 19th season at Center Grove, 223-63 in 23rd season overall. Kevin O’Shea, 3-1 in first season at North Central (Indianapolis), 217-74 in 25th season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Center Grove lost to Ben Davis, 40-7. North Central (Indianapolis) beat Lawrence North, 21-7.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Center Grove, 51-14, on September 16, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: Center Grove has beaten North Central five straight times. North Central needs one more win to equal its total from 2013 to 2016 combined,
COACH TALK: “The game against North Central will be one that could define our season. It will be a very tough task to derail the Panthers after they are having such a great start of the 2017 season. The much-improved Panthers present the Trojans with an excellent defense with size and speed. Their offense is a multi-headed monster that can run or pass effectively. We will have to try to control their big play ability. We will have to get our run game back on track. Controlling the ball on offense will be the key to the game. If we can’t take time off clock and run the ball effectively, it will be a long night for the Trojans.” – Center Grove’s Eric Moore.
“To have success against Center Grove, we will need to slow down their power running game and, throw the football successfully.” – North Central’s Kevin O’Shea.
FRANKLIN COUNTY (3-1) AT LAWRENCEBURG (3-1)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Neary Field.
COACHES: Kirk Kennedy, 21-14 in fourth season at Franklin County, 189-118 in 27th season overall. Ryan Knigga, 53-22 in seventh season at Lawrenceburg.
LAST CONTEST: Franklin County lost to East Central, 41-36. Lawrenceburg beat Greensburg, 21-17.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Franklin County, 34-20, on September 16, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: Kirk Kennedy led Lowell to the 2005 Class 4A state championship. Lawrenceburg has not had a losing season since going 5-6 in 2011.
COACH TALK: “Coming off a tough loss to East Central, this game takes on a whole new level of importance. Lawrenceburg is a tough team. To beat them, we must maximize our opportunities on offense, establish the run, limit our mistakes, and not turn the ball over. Defensively, we must be able to stop the run and limit their big plays, be tough in the box, and tackle well. On special teams’, we must establish field position and press opportunities for big plays. In short, we must block better, tackle better, execute better, and be tougher than Lawrenceburg, which is no small task.” – Franklin County’s Kirk Kennedy.
“Franklin County is a very good team. They took East Central to the final buzzer last Friday. They have a very good ground game and they play solid defense. Coach Kennedy does a nice job of using multiple formations as well as a good mix of run to pass. They have athletes all over the field, so we must get off the field and give our offense the ball. We must make every possession count. We cannot have empty trips. We had a good team last year and they put it on us. There is no question they are good and we will need to be up to the challenge if we plan to win this EIAC (Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference) matchup.” – Lawrenceburg’s Ryan Knigga.
INDIANAPOLIS CARDINAL RITTER (4-0) AT LINTON-STOCKTON (3-1)
KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. EDT, Williams Field.
COACHES: Ty Hunt, 121-30 in 12th season at Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter. Brian Oliver, 55-6 in fifth season at Linton-Stockton.
LAST CONTEST: Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter beat Speedway, 38-13. Linton-Stockton beat North Vermillion, 54-18.
LAST MEETING: Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter, 30-26, on November 21, 2008 in Class 1A semistate.
DID YOU KNOW: Cardinal Ritter won the Class 2A state title last fall, while Linton-Stockton was the Class 1A champion. However, Cardinal Ritter will compete in Class 3A for the next two years, while Linton-Stockton is now in Class 2A.
COACH TALK: “Linton looks like they are geared up for another great season. Coach Oliver has continued to established a core identity of hard working football players. The Cardinal Ritter Raiders must meet the challenge up front and establish the line of scrimmage. We have to get better up front on both sides of the ball. We must fly to the ball and work on our fundamental tackling on defense.” – Cardinal Ritter’s Ty Hunt.
“Ritter has tons of great athletes and we have to figure out a way to contain them. We have limit our mistakes and not give up the big play. On offense. we have to have long sustained drives in order to keep the ball out of their playmakers’ hands.” – Linton-Stockton’s Brian Oliver.
INDIANAPOLIS RONCALLI (4-0) AT INDIANAPOLIS SCECINA (4-0)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Indianapolis Tech High School.
COACHES: Scott Marsh, 4-0 in first season at Indianapolis Roncalli, 31-55 in ninth season overall. Ott Hurrle, 173-127 in 26th season at Indianapolis Scecina, 174-136 in 28th season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Indianapolis Roncalli beat Plainfield, 45-20. Indianapolis Scecina beat Beech Grove, 41-21.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Indianapolis Roncalli, 31-6, on September 16, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: Roncalli beaten Scecina 21 consecutive times dating back to 1994. Ott Hurrle spent three years (1995-97) as the defensive coordinator at Butler University.
COACH TALK: “Scecina has a tremendous passing game. We have to really compete against their receivers in coverage. They are big and fast and we have to help our coverage with good pressure on the quarterback (Mac Ayers). He’s putting the ball right on the money right now. We can also help ourselves by controlling the tempo of the game through the run game and an efficient passing game.” – Roncalli’s Scott Marsh.
“Roncalli is a very good team. We will have to play an errorless game and be ready for their size and physicality.” – Scecina’s Ott Hurrle.
MISSISSINEWA (3-1) AT EASTBROOK (4-0)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Freck Field.
COACHES: Curt Funk, 49-30 in eighth season at Mississinewa. Jeff Adamson, 246-83 in 29th season at Eastbrook.
LAST CONTEST: Mississinewa beat Elwood, 60-0. Eastbrook beat Madison-Grant, 64-0.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Mississinewa, 24-6, on September 16, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: Mississinewa has not won a sectional championship since 1988. Going back to 2000, Eastbrook has had only one losing season (4-6 in 2014).
COACH TALK: “In order to have success against Eastbrook, we will need to protect the football on offense, be tremendous tacklers on defense, and be sound on special teams. They are an excellent football team and we will have to play our best football to be victorious.” – Mississinewa’s Curt Funk.
“Mississinewa is very big and strong defensively. We will need to move the consistently to have a chance against them. They have a very diverse offense with several great athletes. We hope our team speed on defense can counter some of the size they have on the offensive line. This game will be a great test for us. We have yet to play our starters into the fourth quarter, so we really need to see how we will respond to a full game and pressure situations. This is also a big rivalry for us. Mississinewa is a Grant County rival and a Central Indiana Conference opponent. Needless to say, we need to play our best this week.” – Eastbrook’s Jeff Adamson.
NORTH HARRISON (4-0) AT BROWNSTOWN CENTRAL (4-0)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Blevins Stadium.
COACHES: Mark Williamson, 32-25 in sixth season at North Harrison, 48-43 in ninth season overall. Reed May, 244-48 in 25th season at Brownstown Central.
LAST CONTEST: North Harrison beat Charlestown, 35-7. Brownstown Central beat Salem, 41-27.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Brownstown Central, 35-9, on September 16, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: North Harrison has lost nine of the last 10 meetings against Brownstown Central. This marks the fifth straight season Brownstown Central has opened 4-0.
COACH TALK: “We must continue to have great ball security, continue to have no pre-snap penalties, and stay on schedule to move the chains in order to control the tempo and clock. Defensively, we must execute at a high level and look to create turnovers. It is a great honor for our players to play in a game like this.” – North Harrison’s Mark Williamson.
“North Harrison is a very good football team that runs a unique power offense. To be successful, we cannot let them control the football. We must match their physicality on both sides of the ball. Their defense has been playing great football which will be a challenge for our offense. As in any big game, it will come to special teams and turnovers. The team that wins those two areas will probably be successful on Friday.” – Brownstown Central’s Reed May
NORTH MIAMI (3-1) AT ROCHESTER (4-0)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Barnhart Field.
COACHES: Joe Grant, 3-1 in first season at North Miami, 3-11 in second season overall. Brian Hooker, 4-0 in first season at Rochester.
LAST CONTEST: North Miami beat Southwood, 26-21. Rochester beat Whitko, 37-7.
PREVIOUS MEETING: North Miami, 60-21, on September 16, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: Joe Grant is a North Miami graduate who coached at Rochester last year. Brian Hooker was actually named the head coach at Caston before being hired at Rochester.
COACH TALK: “To have success against Rochester, we will need to focus on our assignments offensively and defensively. We cannot make little mistakes on offense that lead to negative plays. We also need to win the turnover battle.” – North Miami’s Joe Grant
“North Miami will be our toughest challenge thus far. Coach Grant and his staff are doing a great job this season. The win over Southwood was huge for them. We will have to win the line of scrimmage battle and hopefully move the chains and keep their offense off the field. Ball security is a must. There will be very little margin for error.” – Rochester’s Brian Hooker.
PENDLETON HEIGHTS (4-0) AT NEW PALESTINE (4-0)
KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. EDT, Kelso Stadium.
COACHES: Jed Richman, 7-8 in second season at Pendleton Heights, 42-38 in eighth season overall. Kyle Ralph, 54-3 in fifth season at New Palestine.
LAST CONTEST: Pendleton Heights beat Greenfield-Central, 34-28. New Palestine beat Mount Vernon (Fortville), 47-3.
PREVIOUS MEETING: New Palestine, 63-9, on September 16, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: Pendleton Heights has not started 5-0 since 2000. New Palestine has won 40 consecutive regular season games dating back to the end of the 2012 campaign,
COACH TALK: “New Pal is a very talented and well-coached team. We have a ton of respect for them. For us to be successful, we must play consistently up front and not give up the big play. They are a high-powered offense and it starts with their great offensive line play.” – Pendleton Heights’ Jed Richman.
“We will need to continue to play tremendous defense as Pendleton Heights has multiple offensive weapons. Our offense must improve significantly in their assignment execution and protect the football. Special teams have been great for us this year and we will need to continue that again this week to have success.” – New Palestine’s Kyle Ralph.
WARREN CENTRAL (2-2) AT BEN DAVIS (4-0)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Giants Stadium.
COACHES: Jayson West, 40-14 in fifth season at Warren Central, 92-26 in 10th season overall. Mike Kirschner, 85-36 in 11th season at Ben Davis, 99-62 in 15th season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Warren Central lost to Lawrence Central, 35-26. Ben Davis beat Center Grove, 40-7.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Warren Central, 35-34, on September 16, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: Warren Central is averaging 34 points a game, while Ben Davis is allowing 17 points a contest. Ben Davis has not opened 5-0 since 2012, while Warren Central has not lost back-to-back games since the start of the 2015 season.
COACH TALK: “We have to stop big plays and make big plays. We have to win the turnover battle and convert in the red zone.” – Warren Central’s Jason West.
“We are playing a very athletic and physical Warren football team. We are going to have to find a way to limit their possessions and capitalize on scoring opportunities when we get a chance.” Ben Davis’ Mike Kirschner.
CASTLE (3-1) VS. EVANSVILLE CENTRAL (3-1)
KICKOFF: 8:30 p.m. EDT, Lucas Oil Stadium.
COACHES: Doug Hurt, 89-44 in 12th season at Castle. Andy Owen, 70-44 in 11th season at Evansville Central.
LAST CONTEST: Castle beat Evansville Bosse, 40-21. Evansville Central lost to Evansville Reitz, 28-21.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Evansville Central, 38-26, on September 16, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: Castle has won two straight sectional titles. Evansville Central has lost five of the six previous meetings against Castle.
COACH TALK: “Evansville Central is an outstanding football team and probably has more talent than any team in Southwestern Indiana. We are going to be a little bit outgunned physically, and will have to find ways to move the football. We will have to run efficiently and receivers are going to have to be able to get open against a talented Central secondary. Defensively, we will have to try and slow down their featured back, Tor’jon Evans. He is an unbelievable talent and we will not stop him, but have to find ways to slow him down.” – Castle’s Doug Hurt
“The Bears will have to bounce back from the difficult loss to the number one (Evansville Reitz) Panthers in a game in which we never trailed until the last 48 seconds. Defensively, we have to stop the Castle offense which is scoring over 40 points a game. They are great in the air and on the ground. Their running back (Jadrien Higginson), quarterback (Brycen Moore), and wide receiver (Triston Wilkinson) are three of the best players in the area. We will also need to be sound in the kicking game. Field position from the kicking game will be a key.” – Evansville Central’s Andy Owen.
FORT WAYNE SNIDER (4-0) VS. HOMESTEAD (4-0)
KICKOFF: 5 p.m. EDT, Lucas Oil Stadium.
COACHES: Kurt Tippmann, 90-20 in ninth season at Fort Wayne Snider. Chad Zolman, 114-35 in 14th season at Homestead.
LAST CONTEST: Fort Wayne Snider beat Fort Wayne South, 52-12. Homestead beat Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger, 42-0.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Fort Wayne Snider, 23-17, on September 16, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: Fort Wayne Snider has won 26 straight sectional games. Homestead’s lone appearance in the state title game came in 1998 when it lost 35-14 to Bloomington South in the Class 5A finale.
COACH TALK: “Homestead is always a tough game for us. Coach Zolman and his staff always do a great job in presenting one of the best teams on our schedule. Their teams fight hard and play with great fundamentals. They have (NCAA) Division 1 talent on both sides of the ball and present all kinds of tough matchups for us. We will have to find a way to challenge their quarterback (Jiya Wright). He is the guy that makes their offense go. He is not a guy we can stop, but will have to find different ways to make his job tough as he conducts their offense. On defense, Tico Brown is a beast and a player we have to account for on every play. He has the ability to disrupt our offense on plays and turn the game around. He along with the rest of their defense will be a huge challenge. For us to be successful, we need to be good on the offensive line and be disciplined in the defensive secondary. We can’t turn the ball over and have to be solid in special teams and win the battle of field position.: – Snider’s Kurt Tippmann.
“Snider has tremendous athletes on both sides of the ball and are always very well-coached. We will have to play at a high level in each phase of the game to be successful. We will need to limit turnovers and penalties.” – Homestead’s Chad Zolman.
RENSSELAER CENTRAL (4-0) VS. WEST LAFAYETTE (3-1)
KICKOFF: Noon EDT, Lucas Oil Stadium.
COACHES: Chris Meeks, 149-74 in 19th season at Rensselaer Central. Shane Fry, 45-11 in fifth season at West Lafayette.
LAST CONTEST: Rensselaer Central beat Twin Lakes, 21-0. West Lafayette lost to Crete-Monee (Ill.), 44-29.
PREVIOUS MEETING: West Lafayette, 48-16, on September 16, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: In their last two matchups, West Lafayette has outscored Rensselaer, 103-16. West Lafayette has not had a losing campaign since posting a 4-7 mark in 2006.
COACH TALK: “It’s hard to find any weaknesses in this West Lafayette team. They have great size on their offensive line and some great athletes in their skill positions. Defensively, they are very aggressive and possess outstanding team speed. For us to be successful, we need to slow down their high scoring offense with multiple looks defensively. Offensively, we need to be able to mix our running game with our play action passes. We must be able to finish out our offensive drives with points.” – Rensselaer’s Chris Meeks.
“We need to get their offense off the field. They run a methodical ‘grind it out’ offense that eats up time of possession. We need the ball. We have to win the turnover battle. They rarely turn the ball over, so we need to match that in order to be successful. We need to get an early lead. This can get them out of their comfort zone with what they are doing on offense.” – West Lafayette’s Shane Fry.