BY PAUL CONDRY AND MATT KOPSEA
BEN DAVIS (3-3) AT CARMEL (5-1)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Greyhound Stadium.
COACHES: Jason Simmons, 3-3 in first season at Ben Davis, 29-22 in fifth season overall. John Hebert, 33-13 in fourth season at Carmel.
LAST CONTEST: Ben Davis beat Lawrence North, 48-38. Carmel beat North Central (Indianapolis), 41-40 (3OT).
PREVIOUS MEETING: Ben Davis, 28-10, on September 29, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: Alijawon Hassel ran 13 times for 95 yards and two scores for the Giants against Lawrence North. Sam Rogers caught seven passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns for the Greyhounds North Central (Indianapolis).
COACH TALK: “We will need to play Ben Davis Football with a great deal of discipline. It will be important for us to compete well on the lines of scrimmage and finish plays with great fundamentals. Ball security and winning first down also have to be on our list of things to do well.” – Ben Davis’ Jason Simmons.
CENTRAL NOBLE (5-1) AT CHURUBUSCO (6-0)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Victor Field.
COACHES: Trevor Tipton, 117-100 in 21st season at Central Noble. Paul Sade, 44-17 in sixth season at Churubusco.
LAST CONTEST: Central Noble beat Lakeland, 48-41 (2OT). Churubusco beat Fremont, 36-8.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Central Noble, 19-17, on September 29, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: Levi Leffers recorded 8.5 tackles for the Cougars against Lakeland. Gage Kelly had five carries for 56 yards and two touchdowns against Fremont.
COACH TALK: “Churubusco’s defense is very sound. We must try to find a chink in their armor. We have good weapons offensively, but we have to block like champions to be successful.” Central Noble’s Trevor Tipton.
“In order for us to beat Central Noble, we will have to play mentally and physically tougher than we have been all year. Central Noble is without a doubt the best team we have faced thus far. They are very well-coached and play very fast and aggressive. Those things considered, we will not outsmart or out-scheme them. If we are going to have a chance to win, we need to be mentally and physical tough throughout the game no matter what happens in the contest.” – Churubusco’s Paul Sade.
EVANSVILLE MEMORIAL (6-0) AT EVANSVILLE CENTRAL (6-0)
KICKOFF: 8 p.m. EDT, Bear Den.
COACHES: John Hurley, 79-53 in 11th season at Evansville Memorial. Troy Burgess, 6-0 in first season at Evansville Central, 101-74 in 17th season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Evansville Memorial beat Evansville Reitz, 42-6. Evansville Central beat Evansville Harrison, 56-0.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Evansville Central, 35-7, on September 29, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: Logan Lively had eight catches for 80 yards for the Tigers against Evansville Reitz. Malcolm Depriest caught a 55-yard touchdown pass and ran a punt back 84 yards for another score for the Bears against Evansville Harrison.
COACH TALK: “Coach Burgess has done a great job continuing the tradition started with Coach (Andy) Owen. Central is a big physical, explosive football team. We will need to stop the run and protect the football offensively. This should be a great test for our football team.” – Evansville Memorial’s John Hurley.
“This is going to be a very tough test for us. Memorial is an extremely talented team that is very well-coached as you know. For us to win this game, we are going to have to play very sound football, execute in all three phases of the game, and win the battle up front. We have to somehow contain their quarterback (Michael Lindauer), who is as good as I have seen in my 26 years of coaching.” – Evansville Central’s Troy Burgess.
FORT WAYNE BISHOP DWENGER (6-0) AT FORT WAYNE BISHOP LUERS (4-2)
KICKOFF: 7 pm ET, Luers Field.
COACHES: Jason Garrett, 6-0 in first season at Bishop Dwenger. Kyle Lindsay, 39-31 in sixth season at Bishop Luers.
LAST CONTEST: Bishop Dwenger beat Fort Wayne Concordia, 36-13. Bishop Luers beat Fort Wayne Northrop, 45-43.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Bishop Dwenger, 15-14, on September 29, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: Devon Tippmann had 17 rushes for 57 yards for the Saints against Fort Wayne Concordia. Jordan Presley rambled six times 72 yards and a touchdown for the Knights against Fort Wayne Northrop.
COACH TALK: “We have great respect for the Luers’ football program. It is certainly one of the toughest challenges we have faced thus far given their high powered offense, overall team speed, size, and athleticism. All three facets will need to execute at a very high level while minimizing mistakes if we are to have any chance of a victory on Friday night.” – Bishop Dwenger’s Jason Garrett.
“To beat Dwenger, we will have to play our best football of the year. They are big and physical on both sides of the ball. In addition, they play all of their special teams well. We must tackle well on defense and communicate much better than we have thus far. Offensively, it is imperative that we don’t kill our own drives with turnovers and/or penalties. Special teams will need to be strong as well. This is a very good football team and will give us a good idea of where we are heading closer to tournament play.” – Bishop Luers’ Kyle Lindsay.
HERITAGE HILLS (6-0) AT SOUTHRIDGE (5-1)
KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. EDT, Raider Field.
COACHES: Todd Wilkerson, 45-25 in seventh season at Heritage Hills. Scott Buening, 53-16 in sixth season at Southridge, 65-44 in 10th season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Heritage Hills beat Gibson Southern, 31-7. Southridge beat Tell City, 31-18.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Southridge, 17-7, on September 29, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: Kyndell Carter scampered nine times for 75 yards and a score for the Patriots against Gibson Southern. Ben Hudson came up with eight tackles and a fumble recovery for the Raiders against Tell City.
COACH TALK: “We have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Buening and the Southridge football program. To win Friday night, we must be very disciplined on defense. It’s important that our defensive line does a great job of keeping Southridge’s offensive linemen off of our linebackers. On offense, we need to clean up the details in our run game and continue to improve in our play action game.” – Heritage Hills’ Todd Wilkerson.
“To beat Heritage Hills, we have to match their physical play up front and try to get them behind the chains. They do a tremendous job of getting out front of their opponents on the scoreboard and with the chains. This has allowed them to do what they do best in running the football and they are very good at it.” – Southridge’s Scott Buening.
MOORESVILLE (5-1) AT WHITELAND (5-1)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Sleighter Field.
COACHES: Mike Gillin, 8-10 in second season at Mooresville, 313-127 in 40th season overall. Darrin Fisher, 94-59 in 14th season at Whiteland, 155-131 in 28th season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Mooresville beat Franklin, 55-21. Whiteland beat Martinsville, 40-21.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Whiteland, 52-42, on September 29, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: James Mabry raced 28 times for 102 yards and three scores for the Pioneers against Franklin. Melvin Taylor accounted for 70 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries for the Warriors against Martinsville.
COACH TALK: “Whiteland is very big and has good speed on both sides of the ball. Their offense is very hard to duplicate in practice which makes it hard to prepare for. They are always well coached, so it will be a tough test for us. We have to stay balanced with our run and pass on offense and get some stops on defense.” – Mooresville’s Mike Gillin.
“Mooresville is a very explosive and balanced offensive team. They have been excellent on special teams in the return game as well. Defensively, they have been very aggressive recently. Starting fast has been a big key for us the entire season and will be again. Eliminating their big plays in the kicking game will be also critical. Defensively, we must take something away to force them to be one-dimensional.” – Whiteland’s Darrin Fisher.
NEW PRAIRIE (4-2) AT PENN (5-1)
KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. EDT, TCU Freed Field.
COACHES: Russ Radtke, 64-16 in seventh season at New Prairie, 354-136 in 42nd season overall. Cory Yeoman, 171-33 in 16th season at Penn.
LAST CONTEST: New Prairie beat South Bend Adams, 35-14. Penn beat South Bend St. Joseph, 21-13.
PREVIOUS MEETING: None.
TOP PERFORMERS: Taylor Adams came up with five tackles for the Cougars against Adams. Ryan Whiteman ran 17 times for 98 yards and a touchdown for the Kingsmen against Saint Joseph.
COACH TALK: “For the Cougars to have success Friday night against a very athletic Penn team, we must be able to must continue to make improvements on getting into our formations, lining up correctly, and limiting our penalties. A team as well coached as Penn isn’t going to allow you to make these mistakes and still have success. Defensively, we must continue to play fast defense and keep the ball in front of us, and create and capitalize on turnovers.” – New Prairie associate head coach Bill Gumm.
“They (New Prairie) have a lot of talented athletes, so we need to be disciplined and continue to improve in all three phases of the game” – Penn’s Cory Yeoman.
NORTH VERMILLION (5-1) AT PARKE HERITAGE (5-1)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Parke Heritage.
COACHES: Brian Crabtree, 69-12 in seventh season at North Vermillion, 104-51 in 14th season overall. Brian Moore, 5-1 in first season at Parke Heritage, 192-44 in 21st season overall.
LAST CONTEST: North Vermillion beat Attica, 27-22. Parke Heritage beat South Vermillion, 48-20.
PREVIOUS MEETING: None.
TOP PERFORMERS: Corey Buchhaas racked up 18 tackles for the Falcons against Attica. Austin Petrillo caught four passes for 88 yards with two scores for the Wolves against South Vermillion.
COACH TALK: “To beat Parke Heritage, we will have to find a way to contain their speed and athleticism, while controlling the ball and clock on offense.” – North Vermillion’s Brian Crabtree.
“We have to be able to stop the run first and foremost by flying around on defense. Offensively, balance is key for us. When we are able to run the ball, even just a little, our offense clicks. If our playmakers can make plays in space, we will have a chance to win. The Falcons are very good at their execution on both sides of the ball. They are well-coached and they know how to win.” – Parke Heritage’s Brian Moore.
NORTHVIEW (6-0) AT GREENCASTLE (6-0)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Harbison Stadium.
COACHES: Mark Raetz, 44-14 in sixth season at Northview, 59-59 in 12th season overall. Mike Meyer, 42-48 in ninth season at Greencastle.
LAST CONTEST: Northview beat North Putnam, 41-21. Greencastle beat Sullivan, 29-28.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Northview, 22-20, on September 29, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: Ilias Gordon tallied eight tackles for the Knights against North Putnam. Gavin Bollman rushed five times for 67 yards for the Tiger Cubs against Sullivan.
COACH TALK: “Greencastle is a physical, well-coached team. We have to be able to slow their run game, read our keys, play our responsibilities, and tackle well. Offensively, we have block well, finish drives with points, and protect the football. Special teams will play a big part as well.” – Northview’s Mark Raetz.
“We have to contain a very potent Northview offense and continue to run the ball consistently.” – Greencastle’s Mike Meyer.
PIONEER (6-0) AT KNOX (5-1)
KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. EDT, Community Field.
COACHES: Adam Berry, 35-1 in third season at Pioneer. John Hendryx, 29-12 in fourth season at Knox, 204-88 in 26th season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Pioneer beat Triton, 56-6. Knox beat LaVille, 14-7.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Pioneer, 28-7, on September 29, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: Miles Vontobel scampered six times for 69 yards with a touchdown for the Panthers against Triton. Jared Prater accounted for an interception and a fumble recovery for the Redskins against LaVille.
COACH TALK: “Knox is a quality opponent and always one of our more physical games of the season. Coach Hendryx always has a good plan-scheme against us and are we are expecting their best. Offensively, our offensive line is going to have to stay low, sustain their blocks, and block until the whistle. Defensively, we will need to get all 11 guys to the football because their backs run hard and do not go down easily.” – Pioneer’s Adam Berry.
“For us to have any chance against Pioneer. we have to play a perfect game. We have to be penalty free, turnover free. and mistake free in all three phases of the game. We also need to make sure and limit the other players offensively other than (Jack) Kiser. He is by himself very difficult to defend, but their other skill players are all very, very good, so we can’t have a night where all the skill players have big nights. We have to minimize the others and then try to deal with Kiser the best we can. It’s a very difficult task to say the least.” – Knox’s John Hendryx.
SOUTH BEND SAINT JOSEPH (4-2) AT MISHAWAKA (5-1)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Steele Stadium.
COACHES: Bryon Whitten, 11-17 in third season at Saint Joseph. Keith Kinder, 5-1 in first season at Mishawaka.
LAST CONTEST: Saint Joseph lost to Penn, 21-13. Mishawaka beat Elkhart Central, 22-15.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Saint Joseph, 27-25, on September 29, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: Noah Hickey contributed seven tackles and an interception for the Indians against Penn. Brad Taylor rushed five times for 59 yards and a score for the Cavemen against Elkhart Central.
COACH TALK: “To win on Friday night vs. Mishawaka, we must tackle the fullback and stay ahead of the chains on both offense and defense. If we can limit Mishawaka’s time of possession and length of drives, we will have more opportunities to entrust our quarterback (Ashton) Ruszkowski and our ‘White Dogs’ up front to put points on the board.” – Saint Joseph’s Bryon Whitten.
“Saint Joe is a very talented and physical team in all three phases of the game. We are going to have to tackle much better and take better care of the football to have a shot to win the game in the fourth quarter.” – Mishawaka’s Keith Kinder.
TRITON CENTRAL (6-0) AT INDIANAPOLIS SCECINA (5-1)
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Bishop Chatard Stadium.
COACHES: Tim Able, 48-19 in sixth season at Triton Central, 173-117 in 26th season overall. Ott Hurrle, 186-130 in 27th season at Scecina, 187-139 in 29th season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Triton Central beat Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter, 49-22. Scecina beat Indianapolis Lutheran, 50-7.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Scecina, 14-0, on November 3, 2017 in Class 2A sectional final.
TOP PERFORMERS: Richard Knowles III raced 12 times for 89 yards and a touchdown for the Tigers against Cardinal Ritter. Tavon Middlebrook rambled 19 times for 103 yards and two scores for the Crusaders against Indianapolis Lutheran.
COACH TALK: “They (Scecina) are the most complete opponent we have played. They have only lost to Roncalli, a great football program, and that sometimes is a good thing to get a team to refocus. They appeared quite focused in last week’s victory over Lutheran. Mac Ayers is a (NCAA) Division-1 quarterback and has a Division-1 wide receiver in David Baker. Ayers is an elusive quarterback that we must pressure and keep in the pocket. They have four other wide receivers that can really snatch the football. Open field tackling is huge this week as their team speed on runs and catches can create many chunk plays. We must mix our coverages to give them some cloudy pictures and reads. Like always, by controlling the run we put ourselves in a great position to anticipate pass which can be a great help. In every game we strive to get at least three takeaways as last week we got four which creates more offensive opportunities. We must be able to run the ball effectively to create great passing down situations. We have been consistently completing passes which has bolstered our run game. Scecina plays a unique 4-2 5 press coverage defense that we see only when we face them. Their team speed on defense is the greatest test for our offense this season. They have solid special teams that often is the key phase of a Friday night victory. We must continue to focus on ourselves and stay the course. We try to emphasize weekly that every game is for a championship. We hope that this single-minded laser beam focus will continue. We must play with passion but stay within ourselves and do what we do and do it better each week. We must not get caught up trying to do extraordinary things rather execute our roles with extraordinary effort and a finishing intensity. The little things, the rudiment fundamentals of blocking to the whistle, secure tackling, securing the ball, and pursuit angles will be the ultimate difference.” – Triton Central’s Tim Able.
“Triton Central is an extremely well-coached and explosive team. We will need to control their speed on both sides of the ball if we have any hope of winning this game.” – Scecina’s Ott Hurrle.
VALPARAISO (4-2) AT MERRILLVILLE (4-2)
KICKOFF: 8 p.m. EDT, Demaree Stadium.
COACHES: Bill Marshall, 4-3 in first season at Valparaiso. Brad Seiss, 17-22 in fourth season at Merrillville, 30-39 in seventh season overall.
LAST CONTEST: Valparaiso beat Crown Point, 38-7. Merrillville beat LaPorte, 35-7.
PREVIOUS MEETING: Valparaiso, 28-0, on September 29, 2017.
TOP PERFORMERS: Jesse Harper registered eight rushes for 99 yards and two touchdowns for the Vikings against Crown Point. Aahric Whiteheard was 7-of-13 for 113 yards and two scores for the Pirates against LaPorte.
COACH TALK: “In order to compete and win the game, we have to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. We also have to limit the big plays against our defense and on offense we need to sustain 10-play drives or longer. Defensively, Merrillville has three great players up front with size and athleticism. Offensively, Merrillville has size and does a tremendous job of meshing old school football of power, trap, and counter as well as having the athletes to spread the field and create mismatches.” – Valparaiso’s Bill Marshall.
“Valpo is a well-coached football team that is very solid offensively, defensively, and in the kicking game. They don’t beat themselves with mistakes or penalties. Their running game has picked up the last few weeks, so slowing down (Jesse) Harper and (Jackson) Kurth will be important. They are good on all three levels defensively, so establishing the run and taking advantage of our big play opportunities when they are there is a must. It’s a big game, and with a win we are right back in the DAC (Duneland Athletic Conference) picture, so Friday will be a fun night.” – Merrillville’s Brad Seiss.