With the Colts playing a home game against the Texans (check out funcityfinder.com Colts preview), the Pacers hosting a game at Conseco Fieldhouse, and the Indiana High School football sectional finals being played, it was a great weekend to be sports fan in Indianapolis.
#1 Carmel vs. #7 Hamilton Southeastern
Carmel barely got past county rival Hamilton Southeastern on Friday night, winning 17-9. It was the fifth game this season Carmel’s won by a touchdown or less. The Greyhounds kept their hopes for a fourth straight trip to Lucas Oil Stadium alive by stopping HSE on fourth and goal from the two-yard line. Carmel takes on Fort Wayne Snider (10-2) in a rematch of last year’s regional game which the Greyhounds won 24-20.
Carmel has some serious offensive issues — they ran just 10 plays for 17 yards in the second half against HSE — but their swarming defense has kept the opposition stifled (they haven’t allowed double-digit points since October 2nd). Snyder’s averaging over 35 points a game, and their margin of victory is a robust 24 points. The Panthers will put points on the board, the question is; can Carmel keep up? I say no.
Fort Wayne Snider: 20 Carmel: 14
#11 Center Grove vs. Bloomington North
Center Grove held Bloomington‘s stud running back D’Angelo Roberts to just 63 yards on 18 carries (he was averaging 238 yards per game entering the game), while using seven runners on offense to accumulate 244 yards on the ground. The final product was a convincing 48-7 blowout victory for the Trojans. Floyd Central travels to Greenwood to take on the Trojans in next week’s Regional game.
After getting hit hard by the flu and injury bug a few weeks ago, Center Grove’s as healthy as they’ve been all year. The defense is clearly operating at a high level, and offensively, they have so many weapons that it’s impossible for defenses to key on any one player.
Floyd Central ran through their sectional, averaging a whopping 46 points, but they enter the game unranked for a reason. The only common opponent is Columbus East, who Center Grove just knocked off 21-14 two weeks ago. Central lost big 42-17 in their matchup with the Olympians. The defending State Champs get one game closer to defending their title in a big fashion.
Center Grove: 35 Floyd Central: 14
Brownsburg vs. Avon
Brownsburg is headed to the regionals for the first time since 1985 after beating Hendricks County rival Avon 42-14 on Friday night. Powered by Robby Robins’ three touchdowns the Bulldogs jumped to a 21-0 halftime lead, and never looked back. They face the pleasure of hosting third-ranked Warren Central next week.
Since a heartbreaking two point loss to Carmel, Warren has reeled off five straight wins, outscoring opponents 150-67 over that span. Shakir Bell, the diminutive 2,000 yard running back for the Warriors, gained 155 yards with two touchdowns in Warren’s sloppy 28-14 victory over Lawrence Central in the Sectional finals, and Derek Hart added 78 yards through the air.
Although they’ve been winning, Warren Central seemed to be going through the motions at times in the Sectionals — they beat Franklin Central (4-6) by one point in the opener. Brownsburg, on the other hand, is playing its best football of the season entering the game. Unfortunately their best won’t be good enough to stop Bell from running all over them. Warren escapes in a close one.
Warren Central: 20 Brownsburg: 17
#1 Indianapolis Cathedral vs. Plainfield
Class 4A’s top ranked team Cathedral fell behind by a touchdown early, but quickly regrouped in time to route Plainfield 48-21. Indiana University recruit Kofi Hughes rushed for 166 yards on 18 carries and passed for an additional 134 yards. All told he had four touchdowns as Cathedral dominated on both sides of the ball. The Irish will face off against New Palestine in the regionals.
The Dragons of New Palestine are ranked 13th and have won eight consecutive games. Their level of competition is nowhere near that of Cathedral’s though, and Hughes will be the most athletic player New Pal’s faced all season. As long as the Irish can avoid costly turnovers (Hughes’ had a bit of fumbling problem of late), they should have no trouble advancing to the semi-state for the third year in a row.
Indianapolis Cathedral: 35 New Palestine: 6
#1 Indianapolis Chatard vs. #8 Brebeuf Jesuit
Ari Pappas had 132 yards on 36 carries, and Andrew McDonald threw a 33-yard touchdown pass on a halfback option to beat Brebeuf 21-7. The win marked the eighth straight Sectional title for the Trojans, a streak they hope to match by beating Batesville in the regionals. Although Brebeuf’s season came to a close, the Braves can hold their heads high; their 10 wins tied a school record.
Fourth-ranked Batesville’s yet to lose this season, beating Sectional winners Jennings County (Class 5A) and New Palestine (Class 4A) in the process. They dispatched off Hamilton Heights 27-6 on Friday night, and they have a legitimate chance of knocking the Trojans off their pedestal. In a shocker, I like Batesville’s stifling defense to hold the Chatard running game in check, while scoring just enough points to take down the Indianapolis powerhouse.
Batesville: 14 Chatard 13
#3 Heritage Hills vs. #7 Indian Creek
Third ranked Heritage Hills got a four-yard touchdown run with 19 seconds to go in the first half, and then held the high-flying Indian Creek offense scoreless on their way to a 7-0 victory. The Braves, from Nineveh, Indiana, finished the season 11-1, their best record since the 2002 season, which coincidentally was the last, and only, time the southern Johnson County school advanced to the regionals.
#1 Cardinal Ritter vs. #15 Speedway
Don’t let the final score of this one fool you — Ritter won 41-17 – it was a close ballgame until the fourth quarter. After leading 17-13 at the half, Speedway trailed by three points with eight minutes to play, and looked poised to challenge the top ranked Ritter squad. That’s when Michael Timko took over. He had 412 total yards on the day (326 rushing and 86 receiving) and scored three touchdowns during the final quarter (five total on the day), helping Ritter to the lopsided victory total. The lone remaining Indy team in Class 2A takes on #2 Monrovia in the regionals this weekend.
Monrovia leads Class 2A in points scored by allowing an astonishing 4 points a game. Ritter is second in scoring, averaging over 40 points a game. Which unit will break first? The Bulldogs cake-walked through their easy schedule, but needed overtime to beat South Putnam in the sectional semis, and then scored just seven points in beating North Putnam in the finals.
Ritter faced a much tougher schedule, and outside of a loss to Brebeuf in the third week of the season, they’ve yet to be challenged. Monrovia’s good, but the Raiders look destined to win a State title in their first year in Class 2A.
Cardinal Ritter: 24 Monrovia: 10
Guerin Catholic vs. #13 Clinton Central
After starting the season 0-6, Guerin Catholic reeled off five straight wins to advance to the sectional finals. It ended there on Friday night in 27-6 loss to Clinton Central. In just their fourth year of existence, it was a very a positive season for the Golden Eagles.
Lutheran prevailed in an intensely fought defensive matchup. With the scored tied at seven, and just 44 seconds remaining, Lutheran quarterback Kyle Brockett hit Jeremy Rolf for a 55-yard scoring strike, giving the Saints their first sectional title in the history of the school. Lutheran advances to play Clinton Central, while Scecina ends their season with a 5-7 record.
Both teams are 8-4 and unranked. Clinton Central has a fairly high-powered offense, averaging 33 points a game, while Lutheran allowed just 13 points in their three sectional victories. Call me a homer (hey, I’m an Indianapolis sports fan, what can I say?), but I like Lutheran to continue their dream season.
Indianapolis Lutheran: 20 Clinton Central: 10