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November 2, 2012

H.S. FOOTBALL: Devils, Pirates within reach of sectional crowns

Castle ‘by far’ best team Jeff has faced

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Jeffersonville has faced some good teams this season, including a No. 1 in Columbus East.

Yet, Jeff coach Lonnie Oldham called this week’s Sectional 8 championship opponent Castle, “by far” the best team the Red Devils will have faced to date.

The Knights are 11-0 and were ranked third in the last Class 5A AP poll of the season. They’re coming off of an impressive 49-14 win over defending Sectional 8 champion Bedford North Lawrence in Friday’s semifinal. Castle led that one 42-0 at the half.

“They’re pretty dynamic,” Oldham said. “They can run or pass and they have three or four weapons on offense, similar to us. I haven’t seen too many defenses challenge them.”

Although the Knights surrender just 13.8 points per game and have given up just 26 in their first two sectional games, it’s the offense that makes Castle go.

Mitch Gilles leads a Castle offense that is 11th in the state at 43.5 points per game. Gilles has completed 138 of 214 passes for 2,395 yards and 38 touchdowns. Like Jeff, there are several Knights capable of beating opposing defenses.

Oldham admitted that if the Red Devils are going to win their first sectional since 2008, they will have to outscore the Knights.

“The test is going to be our defense against their offense,” Oldham said. “I think it will be a shootout if we’re going to win. I don’t think we can hold them to under 30-35 points on Friday night. I don’t see any way in the world we can do that. So if we’re going to win the game, we’re going to have to air it out.”

Andrew Finch leads a Castle rushing attack that can also burn defenses. Finch has 1,125 yards and 12 touchdowns and the Red Devils know that Castle likes to feed him in the red zone.

“I know that they pass the ball and when they get inside the 20-yard line, they like to ‘pound the rock,’ as coach says,” Jeff junior Dalton Adkins said. “I know if we can stop them from passing the ball — and maybe get a couple of interceptions — and stop them from pounding the rock, we should be fine.”

Jeff can play a little offense, too. Quarterback Tyler Fridley has thrown for 2,706 yards and 37 touchdowns and the Devils have five different receivers with at least 17 catches and 181 yards, led by Ricky Embry’s 45 receptions for 804 yards.

“They’ve played a whole lot of running teams,” Oldham said of the Knights. “I don’t think they’ve seen a mirror image — like we are — yet. Hopefully we’ll be able to move the ball like I suspect we can. They haven’t seen the speed or quality receivers that we have.”

“He’s doing a good job at what he’s doing, breaking records,” Adkins said of Fridley. “It helps to have weapons all over the field. We have a lot of weapons on this team.”

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