News and Tribune

August 22, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PICKS: It’s a fresh start for everyone

Week one

By GREG MENGELT
greg.mengelt@newstribune.com

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — It’s highly unlikely that Southern Indiana is going to have a team like the 2012 Charlestown Pirates.

Of the eight teams the News and Tribune covers — Welcome, Eastern Musketeers! — none is likely be average 60 points per game, go 12-1, win a sectional title and be considered a state championship contender in 2013.

However, what is exciting about the new season is that every team has a chance to be as good or better than last season, with the exception of Charlestown. (After all, how could the Pirates improve from last year?)

And the two big boys, Jeffersonville and New Albany — both in the new Class 6A this season — could have their best seasons in years.

Plus, Charlestown is still probably the favorite in the Mid-Southern Conference, which is becoming a habit for the Pirates, and Jeffersonville appears to be on the verge of ending Columbus East’s decade-long grip on the Hoosier Hills Conference.

High school football is exciting every year — and 2013 should be no exception. And every year, the Week 1 picks are very difficult. With all of the out of area teams involved and no previous results to make an educated guess, it can make you look like a fool.

Here are my best foolish guesses:



EVANSVILLE BOSSE AT JEFFERSONVILLE

On paper, this looks like a mismatch. Jeffersonville won nine of its 12 games last season (discounting a forfeit of a game it would have won 1,000 times out of 1,000) and Bosse was winless.

This is probably a bit of a mismatch, but not as much as one might think. Bosse was 0-10 last year (the Bulldogs had to forfeit their one victory), but it played Castle almost as well as the Devils did.

The Bulldogs have some athletes. Jeff has more.

The Devils probably won’t run them off the field, but it won’t be close. This could be a special Jeffersonville team. It all comes down to quarterback play and health. If Jeff can get solid play under center and can stay healthy, the 2013 Devils may become a team to remember.

At long last, the Devils’ season opener losing streak will come to an end. Twenty is certainly enough.

THE PICK: Jeffersonville 41, Bosse 20.



MADISON AT CHARLESTOWN

OK, so Charlestown isn’t going to be as good as last year. With Aaron Daniel and several other three-year starters gone from the offense, it can’t possibly be.

That doesn’t mean the Pirates can’t achieve as much as last year.

With nearly the entire defense back and some raw talent on the offensive side, Charlestown has a great shot at repeating as MSC and sectional champions and getting another shot at Gibson Southern in the regional.

As for Madison, its uniforms are really cool. The Cubs have another new coach who will try to rebuild a program that has had little interest in being rebuilt.

Charlestown won’t beat the Cubs 67-14 like last year, but once again, the Pirates will win by a wide margin.

THE PICK: Charlestown 35, Madison 0.



PROVIDENCE AT NEW ALBANY

Nothing against Providence — the Pioneers should have a fantastic season — but I am a big believer in Charlie Fields and the Bulldogs in 2013.

New Albany has the size and experience, and finally this season, the Bulldogs have some experience.

Tuwan Payton had a big night against the Pioneers a year ago. There’s no reason to believe he won’t again on Friday.

Another streak comes to an end as the Bulldogs win at home against their rivals for the first time in seven tries.

THE PICK: New Albany 30, Providence 16.



SILVER CREEK AT SPRINGS VALLEY

Silver Creek lost all-everything back Layne Taylor, but the Dragons still have plenty of offensive weapons, including quarterback Brooks Howell with another year of experience under his belt.

Creek is still going to score a ton of points. Stopping opponents is still the question. Will the Dragons stop Springs Valley on Friday? No. Will they enough to win the game? I think so.

This could be a big win for Silver Creek in search of its first winning season.

THE PICK: Silver Creek 42, Springs Valley 33.



LOUISVILLE MALE AT FLOYD CENTRAL

Floyd expects a bounce back season after two wins a year ago. The Highlanders will certainly be improved. They have too many weapons not to.

While Male may be down a little this season, it is still one of the premier programs in all of Kentucky.

It will closer than last year’s 41-point loss, but the Bulldogs should still roll to a victory.

THE PICK: Male 27, Floyd Central 13.



SOUTHRIDGE AT CLARKSVILLE

It’s hard to figure what to expect from Clarksville.

On the one hand, they have so much speed at the skill positions that they may just run past opponents at times. On the other, they are small in stature and numbers.

The loss of quarterback Aidan McEwen, who really made Clarksville go during last year’s 6-5 campaign, also hurts a lot.

Southridge has a great program and should pull away for the victory.

THE PICK: Southridge 33, Clarksville 19.



WEST WASHINGTON AT EASTERN

Here’s another team that’s hard to figure. Eastern should improve from last year’s 1-9 season, but the loss of Kaleb Nicholson hurts. Where are the Musketeers, who struggled on offense a year ago, going to get their production?

There could be a few wins out there for the Musketeers, but making up 35 points from a year ago seems to be a stretch.

I hope I’m wrong.

THE PICK: West Washington 34, Eastern 14.

 

FRIDAY’S GAMES

COMPILED BY KEVIN HARRIS



PROVIDENCE AT NEW ALBANY

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Buerk Field.

• LAST YEAR’S RECORDS: Providence 3-7, New Albany 5-5.

• SERIES RECORD: Providence leads 23-22.

• SERIES STREAK: New Albany won last year; Providence has won the previous three meetings.

• LAST MEETING: Aug. 17, 2012 at Murphy Stadium — New Albany 28, Providence 15.

• KEY FACTS: Since the Providence-New Albany series restarted in 2007, the Pioneers have a 4-2 record against the Bulldogs. … New Albany has not beaten Providence at home since 1990. The Pioneers have prevailed in their last six trips to Buerk Field.

• ANALYSIS: Unlike last season when they were pretty banged up, the Pioneers enter the season opener healthy. Therefore, they should be running the ball better out of their Wing-T offense against the Bulldogs’ experienced defense. The big question for Providence will be if it has enough gas in the tank left in the fourth quarter against a deeper New Albany team. The biggest question mark for the Bulldogs is how will junior quarterback Zach Donan perform in his first varsity start.



EVANSVILLE BOSSE AT JEFFERSONVILLE

• TIME: 7:30 p.m.

• PLACE: Blair Field.

• LAST YEAR’S RECORDS: Jeff 8-4, Evansville Bosse 0-10.

• SERIES RECORD: First meeting.

• KEY FACTS: The Red Devils have lost 20 consecutive season openers. The last time they won an opener was 1992 in a 39-20 home victory over Evansville Harrison. … In addition, the victory over the Warriors in ’92 marked the last time Jeff has beaten a team from the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference in the regular season. The Red Devils’ last triumph over a SIAC squad came in last year’s Class 5A Sectional 8 semifinals, as they defeated Evansville North at Blair Field, 37-27.

• ANALYSIS: If sophomore quarterback Jamal Britt can adapt quickly to the varsity game, Jeff’s offense has a shot to be as explosive as it was last year. Britt will probably be nervous once his varsity debut begins on Friday against Bosse, but if he can get the ball to senior running back Austin Hines and sure-handed tight ends Dionte Allen and Dalton Adkins, Britt should do fine. This is the Red Devils’ best chance to win their season opener in more than two decades. After going winless a year ago, Bosse clearly is not as tough as past foes in Jeff’s opener like Castle, Evansville Reitz and Louisville Eastern.



LOUISVILLE MALE AT FLOYD CENTRAL

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Ron Weigleb Stadium.

• LAST YEAR’S RECORDS: Floyd Central 2-8, Male 6-6.

• SERIES RECORD: Male leads 2-1.

• SERIES STREAK: Male won last year and has won two of the last three.

• LAST MEETING: Aug. 17, 2012 at Male — Male 48, Floyd Central 7.

• KEY FACTS: The Highlanders are 3-3 in season openers since Brian Glesing took over as Floyd Central’s coach in 2007. The Highlanders’ last season-opening victory happened two years ago at Weigleb Stadium against Male, 28-21. … Floyd Central’s win over Male in 2011 is the Highlanders’ lone victory over a Kentucky school in program history.

• ANALYSIS: The Highlanders’ defense has been a concern for Glesing and his coaching staff after the unit allowed 36.5 points per game last season. Floyd Central should get a good indication of how far along its defense has grown against a Male team that put 48 points on the board versus the Highlanders last season.



MADISON AT CHARLESTOWN

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Dutch Reis Field.

• LAST YEAR’S RECORDS: Charlestown 12-1, Madison 2-8.

• SERIES RECORD: Charlestown leads 17-12.

• SERIES STREAK: Charlestown won last year and has won six of the last seven.

• LAST MEETING: Aug. 17, 2012 at Cub Field — Charlestown 67, Madison 14.

• KEY FACTS: The Pirates have a nine-game regular-season home winning streak. Their last regular-season loss at Dutch Reis Field happened to the Cubs in the 2011 season opener, 37-29. … Charlestown has scored more than 40 points in each of its last 13 contests. The last time the Pirates tallied under 40 was in the 2011 Class 3A Sectional 23 semifinal, which was a 33-28 home setback to Corydon Central.

• ANALYSIS: The Pirates have several new players on offense, so it will be interesting to see how they improve as the season goes on. On paper, Charlestown’s young offense should have it a little easier against a Madison defense that gave up 36.5 points per game last season. The Cubs have a new coach in Patric Morrison and usually when you have a new coach, there are going to be new schemes and wrinkles on defense that opponents will have to figure out quickly.



SOUTHRIDGE AT CLARKSVILLE

• TIME: 7:30 p.m.

• PLACE: Clarksville.

• LAST YEAR’S RECORDS: Clarksville 6-5, Southridge 6-4.

• SERIES RECORD: Southridge leads 2-0.

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

• LAST MEETING: Aug. 17, 2012 at Raider Field — Southridge 48, Clarksville 14.

• KEY FACTS: The Generals have lost their last five season openers. The last time they prevailed in an opener occurred in 2007 at Floyd Central, 14-12. … The Raiders have recorded seven consecutive winning seasons and had an above-.500 record in eight of the past nine campaigns.

• ANALYSIS: Former Jennings County coach Scott Buening is the new boss at Southridge. During his time at Jennings, Buening liked to run the ball down the opponent’s throat. That was especially the case when he had ex-Panther running back Iyan Bass at his disposal. Expect the Raiders to employ the same strategy against the Generals, who have depth concerns. Clarksville currently has 34 players on its roster, and most of its top players will be playing both ways.



SILVER CREEK AT SPRINGS VALLEY

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Death Valley.

• LAST YEAR’S RECORDS: Silver Creek 3-7, Springs Valley 5-6.

• SERIES RECORD: Springs Valley leads 3-0.

• SERIES STREAK: Springs Valley has won three in a row.

• LAST MEETING: Aug. 17, 2012 at Silver Creek — Springs Valley 46, Silver Creek 29.

• KEY FACTS: In their three losses to the Blackhawks, the Dragons have given up 46.3 points per game. … Silver Creek is 1-14 on the road the past two seasons. The Dragons’ lone road win was a 44-18 victory at Eastern last season. That victory was Silver Creek’s first since it restarted its varsity program in 2011.

• ANALYSIS: It all comes down to defense for the Dragons. If they continue to struggle defensively like they have the past two seasons, they might be looking at another loss to Springs Valley. If the defense has improved, this could be a win the Dragons can steal.



WEST WASHINGTON AT EASTERN

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Eastern.

• LAST YEAR’S RECORDS: Eastern 1-9, West Washington 9-4.

• SERIES RECORD: West Washington leads 5-1.

• SERIES STREAK: West Washington won last year and has won five of the last six.

• LAST MEETING: Aug. 17, 2012 at West Washington — West Washington 42, Eastern 7.

• KEY FACTS: In their five losses to their Washington County rivals, the Musketeers have surrendered 37 points per game to the Senators. Eastern’s only win over West Washington happened in 2011 at home, 18-7. … The Musketeers have a five-game home losing streak. Their last home victory came on Oct. 7, 2011 versus Crawford County, 20-0.

• ANALYSIS: Turnovers spelled doom for Eastern last season when it went 1-9. The Musketeers must show they have improved their ball security on Friday if they plan to hang with the Senators, who have several players back from last year’s Class A Sectional 39 championship team.