By GREG MENGELT
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
Making football picks isn’t easy.
I try to be as honest with my opinion as possible. That leads to some negative e-mails and remarks on message boards when a pick is made against a local team.
Believe me, my picks have no bearing on the actual outcome — unless you believe the Floyd Central coaching staff.
While at Weigleb Stadium, assistant coach Billy Troutman asked me to pick against his team. Apparently my doing so has brought the Highlanders good luck. Picking Providence, Jeffersonville and New Albany against the Highlanders didn’t turn out so well for me.
On the other hand, I’ve only picked against Charlestown once all season. That was before its Week 2 loss to Brownstown Central. In that column, I said I’d probably pick Charlestown when the two sides met up in the sectional. Do I still believe that?
On to the picks:
CLASS 5A SECTIONAL 14
So I guess I’ll grant Troutman and the coaching staff its wish — for reverse psychology purposes.
It’s been a great season in the Knobs. And as much as they credit the kids, the coaching staff has had a ton to do with it.
Floyd Central and Whiteland have had eerily similar results. Both are 8-2. Whiteland has won five straight and seven of its last eight. The Highlanders have won four in a row and eight of its last nine. Floyd’s losses were to Louisville Male, which is ranked sixth in Kentucky, and Class 4A No. 1 Columbus East. The Warriors have been beaten only by Class 6A No. 3 Center Grove and Class 4A No. 2 New Palestine.
The four teams that have beaten Floyd and Whiteland are a combined 42-1. Needless to say, these teams have been tested.
This is a game that I could see going in a number directions with turnovers being the difference. In the end, I like Whiteland’s homefield advantage to carry the day.
THE PICK: Whiteland 42, Floyd Central 40.
CLASS 3A SECTIONAL 31
I don’t have to be so coy on this one.
I have picked Charlestown in 10 of its 11 games because I love its defense. However, it won’t be the best unit on the field Friday night.
Brownstown Central’s offense is simply extraordinary — like the PIrates’ offense from a year ago when they beat the Braves 62-10 for the sectional title.
When the Braves beat Charlestown 40-26 on Aug. 30, it seemed like an offensive explosion for Brownstown. It turned out to be its third-lowest offensive output of the season.
During the season, the Braves have scored 74, 62, 57 twice, 55, 53, 52, 49, 40, 28 and 21.
It’s doubtful that Reed May’s Braves will put up 40 against Charlestown again, but I have little doubt they’ll score enough to win their 10th sectional title in 19 years, and surprisingly, their first since 2010.
THE PICK: Brownstown Central 33, Charlestown 20.
COMPILED BY KEVIN HARRIS
CLASS 5A SECTIONAL 14
FLOYD CENTRAL AT WHITELAND
• TIME: 7 p.m.
• PLACE: James Sleighter Field.
• RECORDS: Floyd Central 8-2, Whiteland 8-2.
• SERIES RECORD: First meeting.
• KEY FACTS: The Highlanders will be making their third sectional championship appearance in coach Brian Glesing’s seven-year stint at Floyd Central. Glesing guided the Highlanders to back-to-back Class 5A Sectional 8 finals in 2009 and 2010. Floyd Central defeated Castle in the 2009 title game at home, 42-32. But the Knights returned the favor in 2010 with a 45-44 overtime win over the Highlanders at Ron Weigleb Stadium. … In his nine seasons at Whiteland, Warriors’ coach Darrin Fisher has a 65-37 record with six winning campaigns, three Mid-State Conference titles (2008, 2010, 2013) and the program’s most recent sectional championship in 2006. Prior to Fisher’s arrival, Whiteland had a 46-71 record from 1994-2004, which included four winning seasons and no conference championships. But the Warriors won two sectional titles in 1999 and 2000.
• ANALYSIS: When looking at the statistics for both teams, there are a lot of similarities. Each squad likes to run the ball. The Class 5A No. 3 Warriors average 307 rushing yards per game, while the Highlanders have a rushing average of 287.1 yards per contest. Both teams rank in the top five in Class 5A in points per game. Floyd Central is second in 5A at 42.3 points per game, and Whiteland ranks fifth at 37 points a contest. But on defense, each team has allowed a high number of points. The Warriors have given up 35.2 points per game, while the Highlanders have yielded 31.3 points a contest. This sectional final has all the makings of a game where the team with the ball last will win. But most likely, the team that makes the biggest defensive plays will come out on top.
CLASS 3A SECTIONAL 31
CHARLESTOWN AT BROWNSTOWN CENTRAL
• TIME: 7 p.m.
• PLACE: Blevins Stadium.
• RECORDS: Charlestown 8-3, Brownstown 11-0.
• SERIES RECORD: 23-23 tie.
• SERIES STREAK: Brownstown won this season’s regular-season matchup; Charlestown has won two of the last three meetings.
• LAST MEETING: Aug. 30, 2013 at Blevins Stadium — Brownstown 40, Charlestown 26.
• KEY FACTS: The Pirates will be playing in their ninth sectional championship game on Friday night. Charlestown has a 4-4 record in sectional finals, including winning last year’s Class 3A Sectional 23 title game against the Braves at Blevins Stadium 62-10. The Pirates will be vying for their fifth sectional title on Friday night, as they have never won back-to-back sectional championships. … For the ninth time in his 21-year Brownstown tenure, coach Reed May has led the Class 3A No. 4 Braves to an undefeated regular season. In five of those nine unscathed regular seasons, Brownstown has proceeded to win a sectional championship.
• ANALYSIS: Both teams know each other real well since they annually square off in the Mid-Southern Conference. Each squad has a good idea what the other team likes to do on both sides of the ball. Therefore, this game should come down to which team wants the sectional title more. After getting thumped by 52 points on their home field in last year’s sectional championship game by the Pirates, the Braves should be really motivated to pay back Charlestown.