News and Tribune

October 30, 2013

GREG'S PICKS: The IHSAA strikes again

Governing body rules Silver Creek must go to Evansville for sectional semi

By GREG MENGELT
greg.mengelt@newstribune.com

INDIANAPOLIS — So here we are, two weeks into the IHSAA football tournaments and teams are playing for “sectional” championships.

(Going forward, the word “sectional” should also be used in quotations because no one can argue that Center Grove and Jeffersonville or Triton Central and Providence are in the same section of the state.)

And that’s not the worst decision unveiled by the Indiana High School sports governing body that affects this week.

After successfully hosting a “sectional” game a week ago — and picking up the first “sectional” win in program history — the IHSAA announced that Silver Creek doesn’t have the facilities to host this week’s Class 4A “Sectional” 24 semifinal against Evansville Reitz.

Instead, the Dragons will travel more than two hours for a “sectional” game to the Reitz Bowl.

On Monday, Silver Creek coach Mike Donahue said he understands the IHSAA’s decision. I don’t.

If Creek can host Boonville, it should be able to host Reitz. Apparently, if a team will theoretically travel with a lot of fans, it can be rewarded extra home games.

On top of that, this is officially a road game for Reitz, the Panthers will also host next week’s “sectional” championship against either Jasper or Evansville Central.

Whether I’m right or Donahue is, this is something Silver Creek must resolve. Inevitably at some point in the future, the Dragons will be a “sectional” contenders. Losing home game because of lack of facilities could be the difference between winning and losing a “sectional championship.”

On to the picks:



CLASS 6A SECTIONAL 8

CHAMPIONSHIP

• Center Grove 55, Jeffersonville 21:
In all seriousness, congratulations to Jeffersonville for reaching its second straight “sectional” championship game. As silly as it is to reach a sectional championship, it is quite an accomplishment for a program that won one game just a few of years ago. Their reward is Center Grove, a team that beat New Albany, which earlier beat the Red Devils, by 56 points. Expect Jeff’s offense to put up some numbers, but not nearly enough to stick with the team I’m officially predicting to win the first-ever Class 6A title.



CLASS 5A SECTIONAL 14

SEMIFINALS

• Floyd Central 49, Jennings County 28:
While Jeffersonville is playing for a “sectional” championship, Floyd Central and Jennings County are just beginning tournament play. Three weeks ago, the Highlanders’ offense did whatever it wanted to do against the Panthers in a 54-30 win. The problem is, Jennings scored 30 points and ran all over the Floyd defense in the second half. Did the Panthers figure something out? Maybe. But even if Jennings is able to move the ball, Floyd will simply outscore them.

• Whiteland 35, Franklin 28: For being 7-2, Whiteland has given up a ton of points this year. However, last week’s 28-7 win over Greenwood was awfully impressive. Next week’s Floyd-Whiteland showdown for the “sectional” championship should be a good one.



CLASS 4A SECTIONAL 24

SEMIFINALS

• Reitz 62, Silver Creek 7:
It really didn’t matter where the game was played, defending champion Reitz was going to dominate. But it’s much worse to have to travel two hours back from a blowout loss. Even so, the Dragons will finish the season with four wins (and some excruciatingly close losses) in their third varsity season. Four victories, including a “sectional” win, is an impressive number for such a young program.

• Jasper 22, Evansville Central 20: It’s a battle of Central’s potent offense against Jasper’s tough defense. It could go either way.



CLASS 3A SECTIONAL 31

SEMIFINALS

• Charlestown 28, Brown County 7:
A couple of weeks ago, Elwood’s Sammy Mireles became the state’s all-time leading rusher. On Friday, he’ll be the first Indiana running back to go over 8,000 yards. Depending on how Charlestown freshman Antonyo Gaddie is used the next three years, there’s a chance that record may not stand long. Some are predicting a close game between Charlestown and the Eagles, who will finish above .500 for the first time in nearly two decades. Gaddie and the Pirate offense will put up enough points and let the Pirate defense to the rest.

• Brownstown Central 42, North Harrison 13: Brownstown Central has been looking forward to a matchup with Charlestown for a sectional championship since the Pirates beat them 62-10 for last year’s title.



CLASS 2A SECTIONAL 39

SEMIFINALS

• Providence 34, Triton Central 21:
Triton Central’s resume is awfully impressive, but the Tigers don’t play nearly the schedule Providence does. After blowout wins over Jeffersonville and Charlestown in the second half of the regular season, I’m convinced the Pioneers are the real deal and are destined for a sectional championship.

• Paoli 42, Clarksville 8: It was nice to see Clarksville get a win over Crawford County a week ago. The Generals celebrated like they won a sectional — and they should have. However, Paoli is not Crawford County. In fact, the Rams beat the Wolfpack 57-12 on Oct. 4.



FRIDAY’S GAMES

COMPILED BY KEVIN HARRIS



CLASS 6A SECTIONAL 8

CHAMPIONSHIP

CENTER GROVE AT JEFFERSONVILLE


• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Blair Field.

• RECORDS: Jeff 6-4, Center Grove 9-1.

• SERIES RECORD: Center Grove 1-0.

• SERIES STREAK: Center Grove won the only meeting in series history.

• LAST MEETING: Nov. 13, 1987 at Center Grove — Center Grove 17, Jeff 14, Class 5A regional.

• KEY FACTS: In the lone matchup in series history, former Red Devil place-kicker Tom Behringer missed a field goal late in the 1987 regional to allow the Trojans to win their first regional title. Jeff’s James Lewis compiled 185 total yards, as he 89 yards rushing and 96 yards receiving. Center Grove handed the Red Devils their only loss of the season, as Jeff ended up 11-1. … The Trojans and the Devils each rank in the top 10 in Class 6A in scoring average. Center Grove is fourth in 6A at 39.6 points per game, while Jeff rates ninth at 33.1 points a contest. The Trojans also are third in 6A in average final margin at 22.5 points per game, while the Red Devils are 10th at 9.9.

• ANALYSIS: Jeff must play very fundamentally sound if it is to upset Class 6A No. 3 Center Grove. That means no turnovers, a low number of penalties and being solid on special teams. Plus the Trojans are going to have to not be as sharp as they have been all season if the Red Devils are to win their first sectional title since 2007.



CLASS 5A SECTIONAL 14

SEMIFINAL

JENNINGS COUNTY AT FLOYD CENTRAL


• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Ron Weigleb Stadium.

• RECORDS: Floyd Central 7-2, Jennings County 3-6.

• SERIES RECORD: Floyd Central leads 32-6.

• SERIES STREAK: Floyd Central has won 14 in a row.

• LAST MEETING: Oct. 11, 2012 at Weigleb Stadium — Floyd Central 54, Jennings County 30.

• KEY FACTS: Highlanders’ coach Brian Glesing is a perfect 8-0 against the Panthers since he took the reins at Floyd Central in 2007. The closest Glesing has come to losing to Jennings was in the 2010 regular season at Jennings as the Highlanders won 37-36. … Floyd Central ranks second in Class 5A in scoring at 44 points per game. The Highlanders also are ninth in 5A in average final margin at 9.2 points per contest.

• ANALYSIS: If Floyd Central rushes for 439 yards like it did versus the Panthers in the regular-season meeting, the Highlanders should advance to a sectional championship game for the third time in five seasons.



CLASS 4A SECTIONAL 24

SEMIFINAL

SILVER CREEK AT EVANSVILLE REITZ


• TIME: 8 p.m.

• PLACE: Reitz Bowl.

• RECORDS: Silver Creek 4-6, Evansville Reitz 7-3.

• SERIES RECORD: First meeting.

• KEY FACTS: The Dragons have a 5-2 record when they have scored 40 or more points in the last three seasons. They earned their first-ever sectional victory last Friday with a 49-41 home win over Boonville in the first round of Sectional 24. … The Panthers have won 11 of their last 12 sectional contests since 2009. That includes three sectional championships in that span.

• ANALYSIS: It will be Silver Creek’s first experience in making the dreaded two-hour bus drive down Interstate 64 to Evansville to play a game, which a few area teams have made over the years. It also will be the Dragons’ first visit to the 92-year-old Reitz Bowl, which has a seating capacity of more than 10,000 and will be the largest stadium Silver Creek has ever played in. This game will test the Dragons mentally due to the bus trip, the atmosphere and playing against one of the most tradition-rich programs in Southern Indiana. They must display lots of mental toughness if they are to knock off Reitz.



CLASS 3A SECTIONAL 31

SEMIFINAL

CHARLESTOWN AT BROWN COUNTY


• TIME: 7:30 p.m.

• PLACE: Daily Hill Field.

• RECORDS: Charlestown 7-3, Brown County 6-4.

• SERIES RECORD: Charlestown leads 5-1.

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

• LAST MEETING: Oct. 29, 2010 at Dutch Reis Field — Charlestown 54, Brown County 20, Class 3A Sectional 23 semifinal.

• KEY FACTS: The Pirates rank fifth in Class 3A and 23rd in the state in scoring defense, yielding 13.4 points per game. In their seven victories this season, Charlestown has allowed three points a contest in each win. That included five shutouts. … The Eagles are in the midst of their first winning season since 1995. That year, they posted a 10-2 record and won the lone sectional championship in program history.

• ANALYSIS: Brown County has scored 30-plus points in five of its six victories this season, including 42 in its first-round sectional win at Salem last Friday. But the Eagles will face a big challenge in trying to tally more than 30 points against the Pirates’ formidable defense.



CLASS 2A SECTIONAL 39

SEMIFINALS

PROVIDENCE AT TRITON CENTRAL


• TIME: 7:30 p.m.

• PLACE: Bud Mendenhall Field.

• RECORDS: Providence 7-3, Triton Central 8-2.

• SERIES RECORD: Providence leads 3-2.

• SERIES STREAK: Triton Central has won two in a row.

• LAST MEETING: Oct. 21, 2011 at Murphy Stadium — Triton Central 31, Providence 17, Class 2A Sectional 31 first round.

• KEY FACTS: The Pioneers have won six games in a row. That is their longest winning streak since they won seven consecutive contests in 2004 when they posted an 8-4 record. … The Tigers rank fifth in 2A and 23rd in the state in scoring defense at 13.4 points per game. Providence (19.9 ppg) and Triton Central (19) rank ninth and 10th, respectively, in 2A in average final margin. The Pioneers are fifth in 2A in scoring at 39 points per contest.

• ANALYSIS: If the Pioneers can find a way to run the ball like they have during their six-game win streak versus the Tigers’ stout defense, they have a great shot of advancing to their first sectional championship game since 2007.



CLARKSVILLE AT PAOLI

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Cook Field.

• RECORDS: Clarksville 1-9, Paoli 8-2.

• SERIES RECORD: Clarksville leads 20-8.

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

• LAST MEETING: Oct. 21, 2011 at Cook Field — Paoli 41, Clarksville 14, Class 2A Sectional 31 first round.

• KEY FACTS: If the Generals lose on Friday night, it will be the first time they have ever lost 10 games in one season. In fact, this year’s nine setbacks are the most they have suffered in one campaign. … The Rams have a 13-6 record in sectional play since coach Brian Balsmeyer took the Paoli helm in 2006. The Rams have advanced to the sectional final in each of the past five seasons.

• ANALYSIS: The Generals got a huge confidence boost last Friday with their 42-38 first-round sectional victory over Crawford County. They will need that confidence if they plan on upsetting a Paoli team that ranks fourth in Class 2A in scoring at 40.1 points per game.