News and Tribune

September 19, 2013

GREG'S FOOTBALL PICKS: Friday features first big conference games

East-New Albany, Jeff-Floyd highlights Week 5 schedule

By GREG MENGELT
greg.mengelt@newstribune.com

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — The first couple weeks of the Hoosier Hills Conference have been pretty ho-hum.

Through nine conference games, four teams are unbeaten and four teams are winless. Last week, the four teams on top of the standings — Jeffersonville, New Albany, Floyd Central and Columbus East — outscored Madison, Bedford North Lawrence, Seymour and Jennings County 209-64. The week before, it was 191-23.

Now that’s a divide.

Jeffersonville and East are unbeaten. East is ranked No. 1 in Class 4A and Jeff is 13th in the new 6A. Floyd County rivals New Albany and Floyd Central are both 3-1.

The bottom half of the league standings features four teams a combined 2-14. Madison — yes, Madison — owns both of those wins in non-conference play.

While it’s almost certain that the Hoosier Hills won’t be decided until at least the Jeff-East game on Oct. 11, the race officially gets started on Friday when New Albany travels to Columbus and the Red Devils host the Highlanders.



NEW ALBANY AT COLUMBUS EAST

East keeps losing blue chippers and it never seems to lose a step. Even after all three Kiel brothers graduated, the Olympians have continued their stranglehold on the HHC.

Bob Gaddis has turned a program that itself was relegated to the bottom of the HHC standings in the late-90’s into one that expects to compete for championships every year.

With Cathedral now residing in Class 5A, the top-rated Olympians feel like this could be the year they finally win a state title.

New Albany, on the other hand, is a team itself on the rise. Just two years ago, the Bulldogs’ only win came at home against Madison. Like Gaddis, Charlie Fields’ has moved his program quickly to the top of the heap.

There’s little doubt now that the Bulldogs will get there. Again like Gaddis, it will just take a couple of years for Fields and the Bulldogs to realize their championship aspirations.

• THE PICK: Columbus East 37, New Albany 20.



FLOYD CENTRAL AT JEFFERSONVILLE

Of the four teams at the top of the conference standings, the Highlanders are probably the one that doesn’t quite belong.

A week after holding off Madison 20-13 two weeks ago, Floyd allowed 43 points to a Seymour team that scored 20 in its previous three outings.

Next up is a Jeffersonville team that is seventh in the state scoring 53.8 points per game. The good news for the Highlanders is that they have proven this year that they can stop the run. The bad news is they haven’t seen a team yet that can move the ball like the Red Devils do.

• THE PICK: Jeffersonville 49, Floyd Central 16.



CHARLESTOWN AT SILVER CREEK

Since this “rivalry” began, it’s been all Charlestown — to the tune of 137-31 over the past two seasons.

It appears that Silver Creek is every bit as good as North Harrison, which the Pirates had trouble shaking a week ago, so the Dragons should be competitive.

It’s hard to predict exactly what will happen in a game between a proven champion and an upstart program, but I do guarantee one thing: It will be the most competitive game in the renewed rivalry’s three-year history.

• THE PICK: Charlestown 33, Silver Creek 14.



CLARKSVILLE AT SALEM

The Generals tried to make me look silly last week.

After a 68-point loss to Charlestown in Week 3, Clarksville put a bit of a scare into unbeaten and 15th-ranked Corydon for a half last Friday.

The Generals are young and well coached and they have some talent and athleticism. A Salem team coming off a 55-7 thrashing at the hands of Brownstown Central gives Clarksville its best shot yet at a win.

Three of its next four are winnable, but the Generals probably won’t be favored in any of them.

• THE PICK: Salem 27, Clarksville 13.



CORYDON CENTRAL AT EASTERN

Corydon Central has become what we expected of Charlestown in 2013. The Pantherns are unbeaten through four weeks despite an offense that has struggled to score.

The Panther defense has surrendered just 33 points in four games. Although Eastern scored 55 points against Clarksville, I’m guessing the Musketeer offense that has scored just 22 games in its other three games combined isn’t exactly striking fear into the hearts of Darin Ward and his dominant defense.

• THE PICK: Corydon Central 26, Eastern 6.



INDIANAPOLIS MANUAL AT PROVIDENCE

My No. 1 guarantee Pick of the Year is Providence over Manual. The prospect of playing the Pioneers is so scary that the Redskins might as well not even show up.

• THE PICK: Providence 2, Manual 0 (the official score of a forfeited game).

COMPILED BY KEVIN HARRIS



FRIDAY’S GAMES



FLOYD CENTRAL AT JEFFERSONVILLE

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Blair Field.

• RECORDS: Floyd Central 3-1, 2-0 Hoosier Hills Conference; Jeff 4-0, 3-0.

• SERIES RECORD: Jeff leads 25-13.

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

• LAST MEETING: Sept. 14, 2012 at Ron Weigleb Stadium — Jeff 63, Floyd Central 15.

• KEY FACTS: The 63 points that the Red Devils scored against Floyd Central last season were the most they have registered in the 34-year-old series. Prior to last year’s matchup, the highest point total for Jeff against the Highlanders happened in 2007 in a 53-0 victory. … Floyd Central’s 84 points in last week’s 41-point win over Seymour easily broke the Highlanders’ single-game scoring record. The previous mark was 63 points in Floyd Central’s season opener in 2007 versus Clarksville.

• ANALYSIS: Floyd Central has got to run the ball like it did versus the Owls and shorten the game against the high-powered Red Devils. Plus the Highlanders’ defense has to limit as many big plays by Jeff as possible. If this game is a shootout, the advantage goes to the Devils.



NEW ALBANY AT COLUMBUS EAST

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Stafford Field.

• RECORDS: New Albany 3-1, 2-0 HHC; Columbus East 4-0, 2-0.

• SERIES RECORD: Columbus East leads 19-6.

• SERIES STREAK: Columbus East has won 10 in a row and 11 of the last 12 matchups.

• LAST MEETING: Sept. 14, 2012 at Buerk Field — Columbus East 31, New Albany 7.

• KEY FACTS: Bulldog senior running back Tuwan Payton is currently on pace to set single-season school records in rushing yards, yards per carry and touchdowns. In 2013, Payton has rushed for 1,077 yards on 90 carries, which equates to 11.97 yards per carry, and scored 14 touchdowns. … The Class 4A No. 1 Olympians have won 50 consecutive HHC contests and 65 of the last 66 conference games. The only setback during that stretch happened on Oct. 13, 2006 at Bedford North Lawrence, 33-30. East has captured nine straight HHC championships, winning eight of those titles outright.

• ANALYSIS: The battle in the trenches will be critical in this matchup. Like in past years, the offensive line has been the foundation in helping the Olympians average 55.3 points per game this season, which ranks No. 1 in Class 4A and sixth in the state in scoring. The defensive line has been the backbone of New Albany’s defense, which is sixth in the state in scoring defense (five points per game) and second in Class 6A. If the Bulldogs can at least hold their own at the line of scrimmage, they have a shot to beat East for the first time since 2002.



CHARLESTOWN AT SILVER CREEK

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Silver Creek High School.

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

• SERIES RECORD: Charlestown leads 2-0.

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

• LAST MEETING: Sept. 14, 2012 at Dutch Reis Field — Charlestown 70, Silver Creek 13.

• KEY FACTS: The Pirates have dominated the two meetings with the Dragons, winning both contests by a combined score of 137-31. Charlestown won its inaugural meeting with Creek on Sept. 16, 2011 at Dutch Reis Field, 67-18. … In their last 10 MSC games, the Pirates have scored 60-plus points in five of those contests. The last time they cracked the 60-point barrier in a conference contest was nearly two weeks ago in a 68-0 victory over Clarksville.

• ANALYSIS: With Friday’s game being the first time Silver Creek has ever hosted Charlestown, the Dragons and their fans should be fired up to play an opponent that has been a major nemesis to them the past two seasons. Expect Silver Creek to be extremely competitive like it has been in each game this season. But will that be enough to beat the Pirates, whose offense has been warming up the past few weeks?



CLARKSVILLE AT SALEM

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Paul Graves Field.

• RECORDS: Clarksville 0-4, 0-3 MSC; Salem 2-2, 2-1.

• SERIES RECORD: Clarksville leads 35-17.

• SERIES STREAK: Clarksville has won three in a row.

• LAST MEETING: Sept. 14, 2012 at Clarksville — Clarksville 28, Salem 0.

• KEY FACTS: During their three-game winning streak versus the Lions, the Generals have scored an average of 34 points per contest and prevailed in each game by an average margin of 27 points. Clarksville has only given up a combined seven points in the last two meetings. … The Generals have not started a season 0-5 since 2003. That season Clarksville lost its first six contests and finished with a 3-8 record. The Generals also began the 2002 campaign losing their first five games.

• ANALYSIS: Despite their 34-14 loss last week to Corydon Central, the Generals found some positives. Clarksville senior Marquise Parrish rushed for 148 yards and teammate Andrew Wright caught four passes for 93 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown reception. And those numbers came against a tough Panther defense that ranks 16th in the state in scoring defense. Clarksville needs to find a way to keep getting the ball to Parrish and Wright, so they can make plays and improve the Generals’ chances of winning.



CORYDON CENTRAL AT EASTERN

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Eastern High School.

• RECORDS: Eastern 1-3, 1-2 MSC; Corydon 4-0, 3-0.

• SERIES RECORD: Corydon leads 6-0.

• SERIES STREAK: Corydon has won six in a row.

• LAST MEETING: Sept. 14, 2012 at Corydon — Corydon 66, Eastern 21.

• KEY FACTS: In their six victories over the Musketeers, the Panthers have averaged 50.7 points per game and allowed 9.3 points a contest. Eastern has been shut out twice by Corydon and its highest point total in its series with the Panthers happened last year. … The Panthers have surrendered 20 points or less in each of their last five MSC games.

• ANALYSIS: If the Musketeers want to at least stay within striking distance of Corydon, they must limit their turnovers and penalties and cannot give the Panthers any momentum. But that will be a challenge to do against a disciplined Corydon squad.