News and Tribune

September 5, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PICKS: Victories needed

Three proud programs searching for first win

By GREG MENGELT
greg.mengelt@newstribune.com

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Through two weeks, Jeffersonville is the only one of our eight local football teams that is unbeaten. Three are still winless.

It’s time to turn this ship around. This is the week to do it.

After starting last season 12-0, of course Charlestown is the surprise winlessless team. Providence opened the season against two much larger schools and Clarksville is battling small numbers — apparently leading to second-half fatigue — after last year’s winning season.

It should be a winning week for area teams against non-local teams. Here’s a look at all seven of Friday’s local games:



HOLY CROSS (KY.) AT PROVIDENCE

With the expectations Providence had coming into this season, an 0-3 start would seem almost tragic.

Sure, the Pioneers’ schedule gets a bit easier in a few weeks. There are games on the schedule they should win and some they will win, but this week’s game could become about momentum.

Providence has to beat Holy Cross if its going to roll into Indian Creek, and later host Jeffersonville and Charlestown with any confidence.

Holy Cross appears to be better than it was a year ago. That’s apparent after last week’s win over Fort Knox.

However, I can’t see how the Cougars are 21 points better — and that 28-7 loss was against a Providence team that is not as good a it is now.

Don’t let last week’s 60-34 loss to Floyd Central fool you. The Highlanders are much better than their Week 1 performance and, clearly, the Pioneers are certainly better than the results have shown.

This is — or at least will be — a good Providence team. The Pioneers are 0-2 for the first time since 2008. They won’t be 0-3.

THE PICK: Providence 41, Holy Cross 21.



CLARKSVILLE AT CHARLESTOWN

Well, one team is going to get its first win.

The last time Charlestown started 0-2, it won eight straight and played for a sectional championship. The way the Pirates played in the second half of last week’s 40-26 loss at MSC-favorite Brownstown Central, history could repeat itself.

On the other hand, Clarksville has some things to get straight. But it’s a known fact that two-way players get stronger as the year goes on. As long as the Generals stay healthy, they should get stronger.

It won’t matter Friday.

THE PICK: Charlestown 47, Clarksville 6.



JEFFERSONVILLE AT BEDFORD NORTH LAWRENCE

For about eight years, people have probably gotten tired of me writing about how good former BNL coach Bret Szabo is.

Szabo has moved on to Evansville Central — where his Huskies just knocked off Terre Haute South — and the Stars are 0-2 after having been outscored 80-20.

Maybe people should have paid attention to me.

I know nothing about new Stars coach Steve Weber — except, wasn’t he on the sitcom “Wings?” — but I do know that Szabo inherited a team at the bottom and made it a championship program.

BNL will miss him. Jeff — and the rest of the Hoosier Hills Conference — should be glad he’s gone. More than likely, the Stars will go back to where they once resided on a nearly-yearly basis.

Oh, and in case I failed to mention it, Jeff is really, really good. No contest.

THE PICK: Jeffersonville 55, Bedford North Lawrence 13.



JENNINGS COUNTY AT NEW ALBANY

If we learned anything from last week’s games it’s that New Albany is for real.

The Bulldogs probably outplayed Castle and could easily have beaten the Class 5A powerhouse.

It appears that Jennings County has improved from last year, but the Panthers will provide no serious obstacle for New Albany.

THE PICK: New Albany 39, Jennings County 13.



FLOYD CENTRAL AT MADISON

If we learned anything else from last week, it’s that Floyd Central is better than it appeared in Week 1 and, maybe just maybe, Madison is decent for the first time in ... I don’t know ... ever?

The Cubs shocked Charlestown in Week 1 then backed it up with a 37-10 drubbing of South Dearborn that was worse than the final score indicated.

The Highlanders will have to slow down the suddenly vaunted Madison running game. I think they will. At least enough to win.

But this could be a tight game. If Madison wins this one, it could wind up with a winning record. Should we just name Patric Morrison HHC Coach of the Year right now?

THE PICK: Floyd Central 34, Madison 21.



SILVER CREEK AT CORYDON CENTRAL

Last year, Corydon Central scored a combined 112 points in two games against Silver Creek.

While Dragon defense has improved and the Panther offense isn’t quite what it’s been recently under Darin Ward — another coach I can’t say enough good things about — last week showed that the Dragons are still a level or two behind Corydon.

They’ll get there. Probably sooner rather than later. But last week showed that they’re not quite there yet.

THE PICK: Corydon Central 39, Silver Creek 21.



BROWNSTOWN CENTRAL AT EASTERN

Great win by Eastern last week. And your grand prize is ... Brownstown Central.

There may be some more wins out there for the Musketeers this year. This week isn’t one of them.

THE PICK: Brownstown Central 44, Eastern 8.



FRIDAY’S GAMES

COMPILED BY KEVIN HARRIS

CLARKSVILLE AT CHARLESTOWN

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Dutch Reis Field.

• RECORDS: Clarksville 0-2, 0-1 Mid-Southern Conference; Charlestown 0-2, 0-1.

• SERIES RECORD: Clarksville leads 22-21.

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

• LAST MEETING: Aug. 31, 2012 at Clarksville — Charlestown 67, Clarksville 18.

• KEY FACTS: The Generals have not started a season 0-3 since 2010. That was fourth-year coach Steve Cooley’s first season at Clarksville, as the Generals dropped their first four games and ended up 3-7. … Pirates’ coach Jason Hawkins, a Clarksville graduate, has a perfect 6-0 record against his alma mater ever since he took the Charlestown helm in 2007. In those six victories, the Pirates have averaged 43.3 points per game and won those six by an average margin of 30 points per contest.

• ANALYSIS: The Pirates’ offense showed some life last week by scoring 20 points in the second half of a 40-26 loss at Brownstown Central. Charlestown is expected to continue to make strides on offense on Friday night against a Clarksville defense that got ran over by an Eastern offense in a 55-22 loss in Week 2.



JEFFERSONVILLE AT BEDFORD NORTH LAWRENCE

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: BNL Stadium.

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

• SERIES RECORD: Jeff leads 26-11.

• SERIES STREAK: Jeff won last year; Bedford has won four of the last five meetings.

• LAST MEETING: Aug. 31, 2012 at Blair Field — Jeff 41, Bedford 26.

• KEY FACTS: Already after two games this season, Jeff senior running back Austin Hines has rushed for 383 yards and scored 60 points on 10 touchdowns. That has moved Hines up to seventh on the Red Devils’ all-time rushing list (2,478 yards) and third on Jeff’s all-time scoring list (282 points). … Jeff has scored 60-plus points in four of its last six contests. Along with their back-to-back 60-plus point outings to start the 2013 season, the Red Devils tallied 67 points in a 20-point victory at Jennings County in last year’s regular-season finale and 62 points in their Class 5A Sectional 8 first-round win over New Albany in 2012.

• ANALYSIS: If the Red Devils maintain their high intensity level on offense, then no team can stop them right now in the HHC, except for Columbus East. The Stars should have their hands full on Friday night.



JENNINGS COUNTY AT NEW ALBANY

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Buerk Field.

• RECORDS: New Albany 1-1, 0-0 HHC; Jennings County 0-2, 0-0.

• SERIES RECORD: New Albany leads 26-12.

• SERIES STREAK: New Albany won last year; Jennings has won three of the last four meetings.

• LAST MEETING: Aug. 31, 2012 at Jennings — New Albany 42, Jennings County 13.

• KEY FACTS: The Bulldogs have given up only 14 points after two games this season. They shut out Providence in the season opener on Aug. 23 (28-0), followed by a 14-7 loss at Castle last week. The last time New Albany allowed less than 20 points in back-to-back contests came in its final two regular-season games in 2009. … The Panthers are off to their second consecutive 0-2 start. In fact, it is the fourth time in the last six campaigns that Jennings has begun a season with two straight losses.

• ANALYSIS: New Albany’s defense must remain focused and keep the Panthers, who have averaged only 13 points per game, from gaining some confidence on offense. As for the Bulldog offense, it must find a way to score in the red zone, which hurt the team in last week’s setback at Castle.



FLOYD CENTRAL AT MADISON

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Cub Field.

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

• SERIES RECORD: Floyd Central leads 32-15.

• SERIES STREAK: Floyd Central has won six in a row and 11 of the last 13 meetings.

• LAST MEETING: Aug. 31, 2012 at Ron Weigleb Stadium — Floyd Central 47, Madison 14.

• KEY FACTS: Highlanders’ coach Brian Glesing is 6-0 against the Cubs during his Floyd Central tenure. The Highlanders have averaged 40 points per contest in those six victories. … Madison is off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2005. That season the Cubs began with a 4-1 mark, but ended the campaign with a 5-6 record after losing five of their last six games.

• ANALYSIS: Madison has been solid on defense in 2013, as it has yielded only 17 combined points in its first two games. But the Cubs will be tested against the Floyd Central running attack. Last year, Highlander running back Garry Posey rushed for 405 yards and four touchdowns in Floyd Central’s decisive victory over Madison.



SILVER CREEK AT CORYDON CENTRAL

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Corydon Central High School.

• RECORDS: Silver Creek 1-1, 0-1 MSC; Corydon 2-0, 1-0.

• SERIES RECORD: Corydon leads 3-0.

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

• LAST MEETING: Oct. 19, 2012 at Corydon — Corydon 42, Silver Creek 8, Class 3A Sectional 23 first round.

• KEY FACTS: In their three previous matchups, the Dragons have surrendered 55.3 points per game to the Panthers. Corydon has won those games by an average margin of 32.7 points a contest. … Since the Dragons resumed playing a full varsity schedule in 2011, they are 3-2 when they score more than 40 points.

• ANALYSIS: Silver Creek’s defense has got to find a way to slow down the Panthers, who have had their way with the Dragons in the three prior matchups. Plus it would not hurt Creek if it can keep the connection between quarterback Brooks Howell and wide receiver Bobby Haines very strong.



LOUISVILLE HOLY CROSS AT PROVIDENCE

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Murphy Stadium.

• RECORDS: Providence 0-2, Holy Cross 1-1.

• SERIES RECORD: N/A.

• SERIES STREAK: Providence won last year; Holy Cross has prevailed in three of the last four meetings.

• LAST MEETING: Aug. 31, 2012 at Holy Cross — Providence 28, Holy Cross 7.

• KEY FACTS: The Pioneers and the Cougars have played each other the past two seasons. Holy Cross defeated Providence at Murphy Stadium in 2011 (41-8) before falling to the Pioneers last season. … Providence is 0-2 for the first time since 2008. That year the Pioneers bounced back to post a 5-5 mark and lose in the first round of Class 2A Sectional 31 to Brownstown, 17-7.

• ANALYSIS: Providence’s defense has had a couple of tough weeks. The Pioneers have given up an average of 44 points per contest and 400-plus total yards in each of their two losses. Last week, Providence gave up 60 points, which rarely has happened to the Pioneers in their history. Their defense needs to step it up a notch if they intend to have a winning record in 2013.



BROWNSTOWN CENTRAL AT EASTERN

• TIME: 7 p.m.

• PLACE: Eastern High School.

• RECORDS: Eastern 1-1, 1-0 MSC; Brownstown 2-0, 1-0.

• SERIES RECORD: Brownstown leads 6-0.

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

• LAST MEETING: Aug. 31, 2012 at Blevins Stadium — Brownstown 47, Eastern 7.

• KEY FACTS: The Musketeers’ 55 points in their victory at Clarksville last week were a school record. The previous mark was in a 52-16 home win over Eastern Greene in 2010. … The Braves have averaged 47.2 points per game in their six wins over Eastern. They have scored more than 50 points against the Musketeers three times.

• ANALYSIS: Eastern has got to run the ball solidly like last week and not turn the ball over if it wants to at least hang tight with Brownstown. But that will not be easy versus the Braves’ always-formidable defense.