News and Tribune

September 12, 2013

GREG’S WEEK 4 FOOTBALL PICKS: Football landscape coming into focus

Jeff, New Albany clearly becoming area’s two most dominant teams

By GREG MENGELT
greg.mengelt@newstribune.com

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Final scores don’t always tell the story of a game.

Results don’t always paint a perfect picture.

But we are getting to that time of year where comparing scores makes prognosticating just a little bit easier.

Of course, teams will get better and, particularly in football, injuries can change anything.

After three weeks of high school football, we have learned a few things. For example:

• Jeffersonville and New Albany are both really good. I’ve lived in Southern Indiana for 11 years now, and honestly, it’s the first time we can say they’re both this good in more than a decade. Oct. 4 is going to be fun despite it being my 40th birthday.

• The Bulldogs and the Red Devils are clear contenders in the Hoosier Hills Conference with a chance, although ending Class 4A No. 1 Columbus East’s decade-long dominance of the league won’t be easy. The Olympians have outscored their opponents 158-27 despite letting up in the second half of each game.

• Brownstown also is very good. The Braves opened the season with a 74-point win against a Mitchell team that just held a decent West Washington squad to 18 points. Charlestown still has hope of repeating as sectional champions, but unless something drastic happens, the Mid-Southern Conference race is over.

• Providence is going to be in a lot of close games unless its offense becomes more consistent.

• Madison’s stunning rise appears to be legitimate. Easy wins over Charlestown and South Dearborn were nice, but playing Floyd Central to within a touchdown was the clincher. The Cubs should be favored in three more HHC games and that would give them a 5-4 record. In case you’re new to the area, that makes first-year Madison coach Patric Morrison an automatic genius.

• There appears to be a large gap between the top teams in the HHC and the MSC. After Brownstown and Charlestown at the top of the MSC, there’s a gap to Corydon. After that, it’s wide open. There will be a ton of competitive games down the stretch.

• Is it time to declare Salem coach R.J. Hartsfield a better coach than legendary coach Mo Moriarty? Moriarty won two games in his first year at Salem and finished 4-7 in his second and final year. Hartsfield has the Lions a legit 2-1 after three games running the program. Salem could finish the regular season with five or six wins.

• My final observation is that high school football is unbelievably entertaining. If you’re not out at a game on Friday nights, it’s your loss.

On to the Week 4 picks:



NEW ALBANY AT BEDFORD NORTH LAWRENCE

If there was any doubt New Albany was for real, the Bulldogs put any doubt to rest with a 55-6 dismantling of Jennings County last Friday.

Bedford is the warmup for the big one next week in Columbus.

• THE PICK: New Albany 41, Bedford North Lawrence 14.



JEFFERSONVILLE AT MADISON

Madison “beat” Jeffersonville for the first time in over 40 years last year despite the scoreboard reading: Red Devils 36, Cubs 7.

Jeff used an ineligible player that became eligible the following week. It wouldn’t have made a difference, but I’m sure Madison will gladly claim the victory.

The Cub defense appears stout. It held Charlestown to one touchdown and Floyd Central, which exploded for 60 points the previous week, to 20.

Jeffersonville is a beast of a different color. It’ll be a couple of weeks before the state’s second-leading scoring team (60.3 points per game) is truly tested.

• THE PICK: Jeffersonville 48, Madison 13.



PROVIDENCE AT INDIAN CREEK

This is one game that past results don’t give a strong indication of a winner.

One week, you think Providence’s defense is pretty good and its offense is struggling. Then the Pioneers play in a game in which 94 points are scored. The week after giving up 60 points, they toss a shutout.

Indian Creek has beaten the bad teams on its schedule and lost to the good ones.

Once again, these teams appear to be about even, but I think last Friday’s win over Louisville Holy Cross may propel the Pioneers into a strong second-half showing.

• THE PICK: Providence 27, Indian Creek 20.



EASTERN AT SILVER CREEK

Last week, I said Silver Creek wasn’t quite ready to make a jump this seaso, but the Dragons showed up big against unbeaten Corydon Central.

After that performance — without quarterback Brooks Howell (in a 15-6 loss) — I may have misjudged the Dragons.

A lot rides on Howell’s return because Eastern can be physical and can at least slow down the Dragons’ running game.

Either way, I have to side with Creek, which beat the Musketeers 44-18 for the program’s first win last year.

• THE PICK: Silver Creek 27, Eastern 16.



SEYMOUR AT FLOYD CENTRAL

I love Seymour. I have since the first time I covered Joe Goodman’s 2003 team for “Inside the Game.” Goodman and Jeff Richey are two of my favorite coaches I’ve covered over the past two decades. I think the world of both.

However, my job is to tell the truth. If I sugarcoat things, my picks won’t be taken seriously and this column would be even more dull than it already is.

I went too far two weeks ago when I quoted a local coach as saying Seymour is the worst Class 4A team he’d ever seen. It was uncalled for and a little disrespectful on my part.

The bottom line is the Owls have a long way to go under new coach Josh Shattuck (who I don’t know and don’t have a clue what he’s capable of turning things around in the next few years).

The 2013 Highlanders don’t appear to be a team that can help a struggling team find answers. Their offense is powerful and their defense appears to be tougher than it has been in a while.

• THE PICK: Floyd Central 57, Seymour 0.



CHARLESTOWN AT NORTH HARRISON

Charlestown may have found an answer on offense in last Friday’s 68-0 win over Clarksville: Hand the ball to Darren Taylor and Matt Myers and let them run over opposing defenses.

It’s going to be a long night for the Cougars.

• THE PICK: Charlestown 43, North Harrison 6.



CORYDON CENTRAL AT CLARKSVILLE

Clarksville started at a disadvantage with such a small roster. Injuries have made things worse.

Corydon’s defense just makes it really difficult to score.

• THE PICK: Corydon Central 34, Clarksville 0.



FRIDAY’S GAMES

 

COMPILED BY KEVIN HARRIS

JEFFERSONVILLE AT MADISON

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Cub Field.

• RECORDS: Jeff 3-0, 2-0 Hoosier Hills Conference; Madison 2-1, 0-1.

• SERIES RECORD: Jeff leads 36-2.

• SERIES STREAK: Madison won last year by forfeit; Jeff has won 26 of the last 27 meetings.

• LAST MEETING: Sept. 7, 2012 at Blair Field — Madison won by forfeit (Jeff 36, Madison 7).

• KEY FACTS: The Red Devils are 3-0 for the first time in 21 seasons. That 1992 campaign was the last time Jeff posted an undefeated record in the regular season. The Red Devils recorded back-to-back unbeaten regular-season marks in 1991 and 1992. … With his five touchdowns in last week’s 60-0 victory at Bedford North Lawrence, senior running back Austin Hines became Jeff football’s all-time scoring leader with 312 points. The previous record was 295 points by former Red Devil running back Tony Hickerson from 1996-99.

• ANALYSIS: The Cubs cannot turn the ball over and must shorten the game as much as possible to have a shot at beating the Red Devils. But it will be a formidable task with all of Jeff’s offensive weapons.

 

NEW ALBANY AT BEDFORD NORTH LAWRENCE

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: BNL Field.

• RECORDS: New Albany 2-1, 1-0 HHC; Bedford 0-3, 0-1.

• SERIES RECORD: Bedford leads 23-15.

• SERIES STREAK: New Albany won last year; Bedford has prevailed in three of the last four matchups.

• LAST MEETING: Sept. 7, 2012 at Buerk Field — New Albany 18, Bedford 14.

• KEY FACTS: With his seven touchdowns in last Friday’s 55-6 home win over Jennings County, Bulldogs’ running back Tuwan Payton set single-game school records for most TDs, most rushing TDs and most points (42). … After three games this season, New Albany has given up only 20 points. The last time the Bulldogs surrendered 20 points in a three-game stretch was the final three contests of the regular season in 2004. In fact in ‘04, New Albany gave up 20 points combined in the final four regular-season contests, which included three shutouts.

• ANALYSIS: The Stars’ quarterback corps is battling injuries right now. So look for the Bulldogs’ defense to put a lot of pressure on whoever the Bedford signal-caller is on Friday night.

 

SEYMOUR AT FLOYD CENTRAL

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Ron Weigleb Stadium.

• RECORDS: Floyd Central 2-1, 1-0 HHC; Seymour 0-3, 0-2.

• SERIES RECORD: Seymour leads 12-6.

• SERIES STREAK: Seymour won last year; Floyd Central has won three of the last four meetings.

• LAST MEETING: Sept. 7, 2012 at Bulleit Stadium — Seymour 42, Floyd Central 27.

• KEY FACTS: The Highlanders’ 20-13 victory last Friday at Madison was the smallest final margin in the series since 1999 when the Cubs won 18-13. … The Owls have started a season 0-3 for the second consecutive year. The last time Seymour had back-to-back campaigns where it began 0-3 each year was 2006 and 2007.

• ANALYSIS: Expect the Highlanders to be aggressive on offense early, so they can take advantage of an Owls’ defense that is giving up 60.3 points per game.

 

EASTERN AT SILVER CREEK

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Silver Creek High School.

• RECORDS: Eastern 1-2, 1-1 Mid-Southern Conference; Silver Creek 1-2, 0-2.

• SERIES RECORD: 1-1 tie.

• SERIES STREAK: Silver Creek won last year; Eastern won in the series’ only other contest.

• LAST MEETING: Sept. 8, 2012 at Eastern — Silver Creek 44, Eastern 18.

• KEY FACTS: The Dragons recorded their first win since restarting their varsity program in 2011 in last season’s matchup with the Musketeers. Since losing its first three games of the 2012 season, Silver Creek has gone 4-6. … The first two meetings between Eastern and Creek have produced a combined 138 points. The Musketeers won 40-36 over the Dragons in 2011 at Eastern before last year’s matchup that had 62 combined points.

• ANALYSIS: Coach Mike Donahue said earlier this week that Silver Creek senior quarterback Brooks Howell might play after he got injured in last week’s loss at Corydon Central. Dragons’ junior Jake Meadors, who got praised by Donahue for filling in for Howell against the Panthers, is expected to start at quarterback on Friday. If Howell plays, the Musketeers’ defense will need to be more aggressive in getting pressure on the standout signal-caller.

 

CHARLESTOWN AT NORTH HARRISON

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: North Harrison High School.

• RECORDS: Charlestown 1-2, 1-1 MSC; North Harrison 1-2, 0-2.

• SERIES RECORD: Charlestown leads 34-6.

• SERIES STREAK: Charlestown has won eight in a row.

• LAST MEETING: Sept. 7, 2012 at Dutch Reis Field — Charlestown 72, North Harrison 8.

• KEY FACTS: Pirates’ coach Jason Hawkins is a perfect 8-0 against the Cougars. In those eight victories, Charlestown has averaged 45.8 points per game and won by an average margin of 37.8 points a clip. North Harrison’s last triumph over the Pirates was Sept. 1, 2006 at Dutch Reis Field, 53-12. … Charlestown has scored 60 or more points in four of its last eight games. In fact since the start of last season, the Pirates have scored 60-plus points in eight of their last 16 games.

• ANALYSIS: Charlestown seemed to have gotten its offense back in high gear in its 68-0 victory over Clarksville last week. The Pirates compiled 569 total yards, 417 of them coming on the ground. If Charlestown can carry that offensive momentum into its game at North Harrison on Friday night, then the Pirates will be a challenge for the Cougars’ defense to contain.

 

CORYDON CENTRAL AT CLARKSVILLE

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Clarksville High School.

• RECORDS: Clarksville 0-3, 0-2 MSC; Corydon 3-0, 2-0.

• SERIES RECORD: Clarksville leads 35-14.

• SERIES STREAK: Corydon has won four in a row and five of its last six meetings.

• LAST MEETING: Sept. 7, 2012 at Corydon — Corydon 31, Clarksville 14.

• KEY FACTS: Since 2001, the Panthers have gone 9-3 in their series with the Generals. Prior to 2001, Clarksville had prevailed in 15 out of the last 17 meetings with Corydon. … The Generals have given up 50 or more points in their last four contests. It is the first time in Clarksville football history where that type of streak has happened. Along with surrendering 50-plus points in their first three contests this season, the Generals lost 56-7 at Lawrenceburg in last year’s Class 2A Sectional 31 semifinal.

• ANALYSIS: Clarksville is really struggling right now because of its low numbers. The Generals had three starters out with injuries last week versus Charlestown and another one did not play because of disciplinary reasons. Things will not get any easier this week for Clarksville as it plays undefeated Corydon.

 

PROVIDENCE AT INDIAN CREEK

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Braves Field.

• RECORDS: Providence 1-2, Indian Creek 1-2.

• SERIES RECORD: N/A.

• SERIES STREAK: Indian Creek won last year and has won four of the last five meetings.

• LAST MEETING: Sept. 7, 2012 at Murphy Stadium — Indian Creek 41, Providence 18.

• KEY FACTS: The Pioneers’ 27-0 home victory over Louisville Holy Cross last Friday marked the first time in four years they have blanked an opponent. Prior to last week’s victory, the last time Providence registered a shutout was Sept. 4, 2009 at Murphy Stadium in a 42-0 triumph over Mitchell. … The Pioneers have not begun a season 1-3 since 2004. That season Providence finished with an 8-4 record as it won seven games in a row following the 1-3 start. The Pioneers’ campaign ended with a 27-24 loss to Brownstown Central in the Class 2A Sectional 31 championship.

• ANALYSIS: When you think of Indian Creek, you think about its pleasure in throwing the football. Therefore, Providence’s pass defense must be solid if it wants to even its record at 2-2. The Pioneers must put pressure on the quarterback and cover the Braves’ receivers well.