With the Colts ramping up for a playoff run, the Pacers opening up Conseco Fieldhouse, and Purdue University and Butler University both sporting basketball teams ranked in the Top 10 in the country, there’s a lot for an Indianapolis sports fan to take in. Throw on top of that the IHSAA football playoffs, and there’s a whole smorgasbord of sporting events happening in and around the city of Indianapolis.
If you avoided the driving rains that muddied playing fields across the state on Friday night, here’s a look at some area teams that will be competing for their prospective Sectional titles next weekend.
In perhaps the most anticipated game on the docket, Hamilton Southeastern will look to prevent Carmel from making a fourth consecutive trip to Lucas Oil Stadium. The last time the Greyhounds failed to make it out of the Sectionals was 2005. The team that bounced them? Yep, you guessed it. Hamilton Southeastern.
It’s sure to be a defensive battle, as the Royals are first in Class 5A in fewest points allowed while Carmel ranks second. This game may come down to a simple question; who has the more reliable kicker?
Warren Central travels to Lawrence to take on MIC conference foe Lawrence Central. The Bears have been eliminated from postseason play by Warren Central six times in the last nine years. To avoid a seventh defeat, running back Isaiah Roundtree and QB Tre Roberson will have to continue their dominant ways on the ground to keep up with Warren Central’s potent offense.
Led by 2,000-yard runner Shakir Bell, the Warriors are averaging nearly 40 points a game. The winner faces the winner of the Brownsburg/Avon game in the Regionals.
-In a shocking turn of events, three-win Avon upended #12 Ben Davis and #8 Pike in successive games to reach the Sectional finals for the first time since 2005. Brownsburg’s in the finals for the first in 10 years after beating Zionsville in the semifinals. The rivals are meeting for the second time this season. When they met in September, Brownsburg prevailed in a tight one, 21-17. Expect this time around to be just as close.
-Center Grove’s Jimmy Daggert scored from 20 yards out with 1:37 remaining to give the Trojan’s a 21-14 victory over the second-ranked Columbus East Olympians. The defending State champs have now won eight consecutive post season games, and they face a Bloomington squad that needed overtime to beat Decatur Central and allowed 42 points to Whiteland in the semis. Now that they’re fully healthy, there’s no reason to think that Center Grove, located just minutes south of downtown Indianapolis, will move on to face the winner of Floyd Central and Castle in the Regionals.
-Cathedral is yet to lose to a team from Indiana — they lost to Cincinnati St. Xavier earlier in the year — and they look primed to defend their 4A crown. Plainfield avenged an earlier to defeat to Roncalli in the semifinals, winning 21-14 on the strength of Elliot Hughes’ legs. The Quakers will need to be perfect if they hope to compete with Kofi Hughes and the dominant Irish.
-Shelbyville barely got to this point, using a rushing score from Kevin Prosch with 27 seconds to play to beat South Dearborn on Friday night. Their next opponent, East Central, has one of the best defenses in the 4A class, holding teams to just eight points a game. The Tigers haven’t made it out of the Sectionals in over 15 years, and this appears to be their best shot of tasting Regional action. If they’re successful, they’ll play the winner of Jasper and Evansville Reitz.
-In a clash of the titans, top-ranked Indianapolis Chatard takes on 10-1 Brebeuf Jesuit in what promises to be the highlight of the Class 3A Sectional finals. Brebeuf has only allowed an opponent to score over 14 points once this season, while Chatard boast one of the most explosive offenses in the entire state of Indiana, averaging over 42 points per game. Shutting down running back Evan Kroot will be the primary focus of the Chatard defense (Kroot rushed for 265 yards with a pair of scores in Brebeuf’s semifinal win). If the Trojans can do that effectively, winning their ninth straight Sectional title is all but guaranteed.
-Indian Creek, located in the southern Johnson County town of Nineveh, eked out a slim victory in the semifinals, beating Corydon Central 13-8. The Braves enter their game against fifth-ranked Heritage Hills undefeated on the season, in large because of the Trey Reese to Jordan Jackson aerial connection. Indian Creek did show their versatility in Friday’s win over Corydon though. Inclement weather only allowed for three passing attempts, so coach Mike Gillin turned to the ground game to grind out the victory (the Braves rushed for 172 yards on 42 carries).
-The two remaining Indy schools left in Class 2A play will face off next Friday night in Speedway, Indiana. Ritter is the top-ranked team and defending State Champs, although they barely squeaked by Heritage Christian in the semifinals, winning 6-0.
The Sparkplugs used 209 passing yards from quarterback Johnny West, and three rushing touchdowns by Michael Hubbard to get by Centerville in the semis, and they’ll need that balanced attack to keep up with Ritter’s high-powered offense. Speedway lost 57-29 in an early season game against the Raiders. The winner advances to face either North Putnam or Monrovia in the Regionals.
-After getting past Sheridan and Clinton Prairie, Guerin Catholic is vying for their first Sectional title in school history. Granted, the football team’s only been around since 2006, but still, it would be a nice accomplishment. They face a Clinton Central squad that blew through Tri-Central and Lapel by a combined score of 108-20. The Golden Eagles have to stop Central’s imposing ground game — the Bulldogs rushed for 268 yards against Lapel — if they want to have a chance at moving on to the Regionals.
Scecina held the nation’s leading rusher, Milan’s Travis Pennington, to a reasonable 187 yards on their way to beating the Indians 21-13. They face a Lutheran team that breezed through the first two rounds. Although the two Indianapolis High Schools didn’t play each other in the regular season, they shared three common opponents: Brebeuf, Park Tudor, and Beech Grove.
Both the Saints and the Crusaders went 0-3 against those schools, so I guess you could say this looks like a pretty even matchup. Scecina hasn’t made it out of the Sectionals since 2002, and Lutheran has never advanced in their brief five-year school history. The winner of this battle plays the winner of the Guerin/Clinton Central matchup.