> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
• Sectional 8 — Castle 41, Jeffersonville 34: After what Jeff’s done to New Albany and Evansville North in the first two rounds of the sectional, I was all ready to pick Jeffersonville in an upset. Then I saw what the unbeaten Knights were doing to defending champion Bedford North Lawrence in last week’s 49-14 semifinal win and there was no way I could justify it.
It’s not that Jeff can’t win. It can. However, Castle has to be the heavy favorites after jumping on the Stars 42-0 at the half in last week’s win.
Not only was Bedford the defending sectional champion, but the Stars were a late turnover away from beating Class 4A No. 1 Columbus East just two weeks earlier.
Bedford is a good team and the Knights just thrashed them. Jeff is a better team, but it’s going to take a huge effort to pull off the upset on the road against the state’s third-ranked team.
It will be a high-scoring game and a turnover or a break could swing the pendulum the Red Devils’ way, but not enough for me to go out on a limb.
• Sectional 7 — At Center Grove 31, Columbus North 14: After a 1-5 start, Columbus North has won five straight, including a pair of sectional wins over Whiteland and Franklin Central. The 17-14 win over Central was particularly noteworthy since the Flashes beat the Bull Dogs 42-35 just before North went on its streak.
Scott Bless has gotten the Bull Dogs playing well and recent results give them hope. However, Center Grove is among the handful of teams that can win the 5A championship and should continue to steamroll through the tournament.
• Sectional 15 — At Columbus East 47, Franklin County 17: East will continue its domination of Sectional 15 with its fifth straight sectional title (and seventh in 10 years) as a 4A team.
• Sectional 16 — Evansville Reitz 31, at Jasper 21: This is another one that could go either way. And once again, I give the edge to the team that has playing against Evansville schools all season.
• Sectional 31 — At Paoli 21, Lawrenceburg 14: I am a true believer in the Rams defense.
• Sectional 32 — At Evansville Mater Dei 35, South Spencer 14: The Wildcats survived a scare last week and should continue toward a showdown with No. 1 Ritter in two weeks.