BY PAUL CONDRY AND MATT KOPSEA
BEN DAVIS (3-0) AT CENTER GROVE (2-1)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Center Grove Stadium.
COACHES: Mike Kirschner, 84-36 in 11th season at Ben Davis, 98-62 in 15th season overall. Eric Moore, 175-57 in 19th season at Center Grove, 223-62 in 23rd season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Ben Davis beat Pike, 69-34. Center Grove beat Carmel, 31-10.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Center Grove, 42-22, on November 18, 2016 in Class 6A semistate.
DID YOU KNOW: Ben Davis has not started 4-0 since 2014 when it won the Class 6A state title. Center Grove has outscored Ben Davis, 93-48, in winning the last three meetings.
COACH TALK: “Center Grove has an excellent team that continues to dominate every year. For us to be successful on Friday, we must take care of the ball on offense and capitalize when we have opportunities. On the defensive side, we must tackle better then we have the last two weeks.” – Ben Davis’ Mike Kirschner.
“This may be the fastest Ben Davis team the Trojans have faced in over 15 years. Their offense and special teams can score on every play. Their extremely dangerous skilled athletes will be the toughest opponent the Trojans have battled this season. Ben Davis has great size and is fast on defense at every position. This makes it tough for the Trojans to break off any type of big play. The Trojans will have to figure out a way to keep their multi-talented quarterback (Reese Taylor) off the field by holding on to the ball. The Trojan offense might be the best defense against the Giants. We will also have to figure out a way not to let their return athletes make big plays in kicking game. In other words, the Center Grove Trojans face an almost impossible task of trying to coral the Giants skill speed guys. With all this said, it will take a great crowd from the Center Grove faithful and some inspired play by the Trojans to get out of this game with a win.” – Center Grove’s Eric Moore.
BROWNSBURG (2-1) AT AVON (2-1)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Oriole Stadium.
COACHES: John Hart, 10-3 in second season at Brownsburg, 278-85 in 33rd season overall. Mark Bless, 58-27 in eighth season at Avon, 207-94 in 28th season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Brownsburg beat Franklin, 59-0. Avon beat Hamilton Southeastern, 38-7.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Brownsburg, 30-22, on September 9, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: John Hart won state championships at both Warren Central and Evansville Reitz. Mark Bless was previously at Mooresville before coming to Avon in 2010.
COACH TALK: “Avon’s offense is one of the best and easily the most diverse. Their quarterback (Cameron Misner), two wide receivers (Isaac Guerendo and Luke Shayotovich), running back (Sampson James), and at least two of their linemen will all be Mr. Football candidates for their position. Their defense makes a lot and gives up a lot of big plays. BIG PLAYS may determine the winner…or the ability to react to big plays.” – Brownsburg’s John Hart.
COLUMBUS NORTH (3-0) AT FRANKLIN CENTRAL (2-1)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Flash Dome.
COACHES: Tim Bless, 116-79 in 18th season at Columbus North, 128-88 in 20th season overall. Grant Lewis, 9-14 in third season at Franklin Central.
LAST CONTEST: Columbus North beat Bloomington North, 49-0. Franklin Central beat Bloomington South, 24-21.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Columbus North, 40-0, on September 9, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: Columbus North is looking for its fifth straight win over Franklin Central. The last winning season for Franklin Central came in 2007 when it went 9-3.
COACH TALK: “To win this key Conference Indiana matchup, we will need a great mindset traveling to Franklin Central. Knowing this will be a hostile environment and playing a team with great momentum, we’ll need a solid start and be able to withstand any adversity that will come our way.” – Columbus North’s Tim Bless.
“In order to win vs. Columbus North this Friday, we have to make sure we start fast and limit our mistakes throughout the game. Columbus North is a talented football team, so our players have to make sure they focus on doing their job to the best of their ability each and every play.” – Franklin Central’s Grant Lewis.
EASTERN GREENE (3-0) AT MITCHELL (3-0)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Cole Field.
COACHES: Joey Paridaen, 26-11 in fourth season at Eastern Greene, 28-29 in sixth season overall. Troy Pritchett, 16-20 in fourth season at Mitchell, 38-42 in eighth season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Eastern Greene beat North Daviess, 63-7. Mitchell beat West Washington, 24-16.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Eastern Greene, 41-20, on September 9, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: Eastern Greene is looking for its third straight 4-0 start. Mitchell has dropped five straight contests to Eastern Greene.
COACH TALK: “We are excited for our upcoming game vs. Mitchell. Obviously there are several things we need to do in this game to be successful, but if I had one main focus it would be that we must be physical up front on both sides of the football and control the line of scrimmage. We must keep their offense from sustaining long drives and trying to shorten the game.” – Eastern Greene’s Joey Paridaen.
“The line of scrimmage will be the determining factor this week. To compete with Eastern, we’ve got to keep their offense off the field and finish our drives. We have improved each week, but the tests keep getting tougher.” – Mitchell’s Troy Pritchett.
EVANSVILLE MEMORIAL (3-0) AT EVANSVILLE MATER DEI (2-1)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. CDT, Reitz Bowl.
COACHES: John Hurley, 62-52 in 10th season at Evansville Memorial. Mike Goebel, 206-58 in 21st season at Evansville Mater Dei.
LAST CONTEST: Evansville Memorial beat Evansville North, 41-13. Evansville Mater Dei beat Evansville Harrison, 35-0.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Evansville Mater Dei, 28-21, in overtime on September 9, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: Evansville Memorial has not opened the season with four wins in a row since 1989. Evansville Mater Dei has not had a losing record since going 4-6 in 2008.
COACH TALK: “Anytime you get the opportunity to play Mater Dei, your team better be ready to go. Mike Goebel has done a tremendous job over the years getting his teams to play at a high level. They are extremely well-coached and will not beat themselves. This year, we get the opportunity to play at Reitz Bowl and I know they will be ready to defend home field. To be successful, we are going to have to protect the football and make big plays offensively. Defensively we need to stop the run, prevent explosive plays, and turn them over. It should be a great high school football game.” Memorial’s John Hurley.
EVANSVILLE REITZ (3-0) AT EVANSVILLE CENTRAL (3-0)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. CDT, Central Stadium.
COACHES: Andy Hape, 42-10 in fifth season at Evansville Reitz. Andy Owen, 70-43 in 11th season at Evansville Central.
LAST CONTEST: Evansville Reitz beat Castle, 44-33. Evansville Central beat Evansville Bosse, 48-0.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Evansville Reitz, 34-7, on October 28, 2016 in Class 4A sectional semifinal.
DID YOU KNOW: Evansville Reitz has taken the last seven meetings against Evansville Central. The last 4-0 beginning for Evansville Central came in 2006.
COACH TALK: “Central is a good football team with tremendous talent on both sides of the ball. We are going to have to be fundamentally sound and be able adjust on the fly. I believe if we can do those things we will put ourselves in position to be successful this Friday.” – Reitz’s Andy Hape.
HAMILTON SOUTHEASTERN (1-2) AT FISHERS (1-2)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Clarian Field.
COACHES: Scott May, 84-30 in 11th season at Hamilton Southeastern, 87-49 in 13th season overall. Rick Wimmer, 82-48 in 12th season at Fishers, 246-131 in 35th season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Hamilton Southeastern lost to Avon, 38-7. Fishers beat Noblesville, 29-0.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Hamilton Southeastern, 36-33, in overtime on September 9, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: One of Scott May’s previous coaching stops was Garrett for the 1998 and 1999 seasons. Rick Wimmer led Greenwood to a sectional title in 2005 before coming to Fishers in 2006.
COACH TALK: “We have to find a way to move the ball on offense to beat anyone and not give up big plays on defense. It’s really about us getting better this week as a team. This is an emotional game for everyone, so we need to be able to deal with that too.” – Hamilton Southeastern’s Scott May.
“Hamilton Southeastern is, as usual, a good defensive football team with a solid kicking game. Our biggest concern right now is in being able to block their defensive front especially with our young offensive tackles against two of their better defensive players, (Madison) Norris and (Will) Hedrick, who have very good quickness. All of their linebackers show good ability to get to football and tackle aggressively. This game will be a real challenge for our young offensive line, but we gained some confidence last week and have a couple of running backs in Michael Noble and HL Lewis, who are returning to the lineup after being out. Pass protection and reducing turnovers are also a big point of emphasis for us. Our defense must continue to play hard and not give up the big play. Getting off the field on third down has been a bit of an issue, so that is an area we are looking to improve.” – Fishers Rick Wimmer.
HOMESTEAD (3-0) AT FORT WAYNE BISHOP DWENGER (3-0)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Zollner Stadium.
COACHES: Chad Zolman, 113-35 in 14th season at Homestead. Chris Svarczkopf, 142-45 in 15th season at Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger.
LAST CONTEST: Homestead beat Fort Wayne Bishop Luers, 47-3. Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger beat Fort Wayne South, 48-14.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger, 34-13, on September 9, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: Homestead has been outscored 69-27 in the previous two matchups with Bishop Dwenger. The last time Bishop Dwenger started 4-0 was in 2014 when it then went on to lose its next six contests.
COACH TALK: “Dwenger will bring a talented, physical, and well-coached team. We will need to be assignment sound on both sides of the ball and play with a sense of urgency in all three phases of the game to be successful.” – Homestead’s Chad Zolman.
JASPER (2-1) AT HERITAGE HILLS (3-0)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. CDT, Patriot Field.
COACHES: Tony Ahrens, 132-37 in 15th season at Jasper. Todd Wilkerson, 37-20 in sixth season at Heritage Hills.
LAST CONTEST: Jasper beat Boonville, 28-0. Heritage Hills beat Pike Central, 49-6.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Heritage Hills, 10-7, on September 9, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: Jasper’s last below .500 finish came in 1989. Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler is a graduate of Heritage Hills.
COACH TALK: “We need our offensive and defensive lines to play very well in order to get a win against Jasper. We have great respect for their program. Every season, we get better because of challenges we face in this game.” – Heritage Hills’ Todd Wilkerson.
LAWRENCE NORTH (2-1) AT NORTH CENTRAL (INDIANAPOLIS) (2-1)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Panther Stadium.
COACHES: Patrick Mallory, 10-33 in fifth season at Lawrence North, 24-41 in seventh season overall. Kevin O’Shea, 2-1 in first season at North Central (Indianapolis), 216-74 in 25th season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Lawrence North lost to Lawrence Central, 26-21. North Central (Indianapolis) lost to Warren Central, 42-21.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Lawrence North, 35-27, on September 9, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: Lawrence North is going for its fifth win in a row over North Central. The last sectional championship for North Central came in 1993.
COACH TALK: “To be successful Friday night against Lawrence North, we’ll need to control their explosive running game and not turn the ball over.” – North Central’s Kevin O’Shea.
LINTON-STOCKTON (2-1) AT NORTH VERMILLION (3-0)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Gibson Field.
COACHES: Brian Oliver, 54-6 in fifth season at Linton-Stockton. Brian Crabtree, 61-7 in sixth season at North Vermillion, 96-46 in 13th season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Linton-Stockton beat Monrovia, 22-15. North Vermillion beat Covington, 47-14.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Linton-Stockton, 55-0, on September 10, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: Linton-Stockton has claimed six consecutive sectional championships. North Vermillion’s last losing season came in 2010 when it finished 5-6.
COACH TALK: “In order for us to win this Friday, we have to continue to keep getting better in practice. We also will need to contain their quarterback (Jacob Hill) and not give up the big plays. They are very well-coached and have some very good athletes, so it’s definitely going to be a challenge for us.” – Linton-Stockton’s Brian Oliver.
“To win on Friday against Linton, we have to make sure we don’t turn the ball over, play assignment football, and play with our greatest possible effort on each play.” – North Vermillion’s Brian Crabtree.
NORTHRIDGE (3-0) AT PLYMOUTH (3-0)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, The Rockpile.
COACHES: Tom Wogomon, 31-18 in fifth season at Northridge, 56-55 in 11th season overall. John Barron, 106-43 in 14th season at Plymouth.
LAST CONTEST: Northridge beat Wawasee, 37-12. Plymouth beat Warsaw, 42-7.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Northridge, 22-14, on September 9, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: You have to go back to 1991 for the last time Northridge started with four straight wins. John Barron is graduate of Butler University.
PLAINFIELD (2-1) AT INDIANAPOLIS RONCALLI (3-0)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Roncalli Field.
COACHES: Brian Woodard, 71-53 in 12th season at Plainfield. Scott Marsh, 3-0 in first season at Indianapolis Roncalli, 30-55 in ninth season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Plainfield beat Mooresville, 54-14. Indianapolis Roncalli beat Indianapolis Bishop Chatard, 21-7.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Indianapolis Roncalli, 7-0, on September 9, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: Plainfield’s last sectional crown came in 2000. Roncalli has won nine of the previous 10 contests against Plainfield.
COACH TALK: “To beat Plainfield, we must challenge their receivers and force them throw in tight windows, not allow big plays by their two backs (Dawson Anderson and Tavian Gadia), take what is given to us in the passing game, and run the ball effectively in short yardage situations.” – Roncalli’s Scott Marsh.
WARREN CENTRAL (2-1) AT LAWRENCE CENTRAL (3-0)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Smysor Field.
COACHES: Jayson West, 40-13 in fifth season at Warren Central, 92-25 in 10th season overall. Bill Peebles, 9-5 in second season at Lawrence Central, 71-61 in 13th season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Warren Central beat North Central (Indianapolis), 42-21. Lawrence Central beat Lawrence North, 26-21.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Warren Central, 37-0, on September 9, 2016.
DID YOU KNOW: Before coming to Warren Central in 2013, Jayson West led Lawrence Central to the 2012 Class 5A state title. Lawrence Central’s last win over Warren Central was a 21-14 decision in the 2012 sectional semifinals.
COACH TALK: “We are down a few starters, so we have to get the next players ready to play as one against a very good football team. They are fast to the ball on defense and move the ball well on offense, so we have some great challenges ahead of us. We must win the big play battle and have momentum to win at Lawrence Central.” – Warren Central’s Jayson West.