> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
We’re down to three.
Clarksville, Charlestown and Jeffersonvile will represent Clark County in Friday’s sectional semifinals.
All three were expected to win — and win easily — in the opening round. All three did. It gets much tougher from here.
Charlestown is still a heavy favorite against Corydon Central, Jeff is probably considered a toss-up at home against Evansville North and the Generals are a heavy underdog at Lawrenceburg.
On to the picks:
CLASS 5A, SECTIONAL 8
• Evansville North (5-4) at Jeffersonville (7-3): Jeffersonville’s offense is back.
After being held to six points by Columbus East in Week 8, the Red Devils’ offense that is eighth in the state at 45.1 points per game has scored 129 in the last two weeks. Yes, 129.
Jeff has so many weapons, including quarterback Tyler Fridley, who has been outstanding as a first-year starting senior. Fridley has thrown for 2,541 yards, 36 touchdowns and just eight interceptions.
Fridley can throw to four or five different receivers — Ricky Embry (781 yards and 11 TDs), Jacquari Chandler (687, 9), Dionte Allen (651, 9), Dalton Adkins (315, 4) and running back Austin Hines (174, 3) — who can score any time they touch the ball. Plus, he can hand it to Hines, who went over 1,000 yards last week and looks like he’s getting better every single game.
North will try to slow things down with a power running game. The Huskies have a 1,000-yard rusher of their own in Blake Howell. And when North needs to throw, it can.
Jeff coach Lonnie Oldham said one key could be the weather. On a dry field, Jeff has an advantage with its passing game. If it’s rainy, North’s power running game could shine.
“They’re physical,” Jeff coach Lonnie Oldham said. “They’re more of a running team, but they can throw the ball. Our run defense is really going to be tested this week.”
I think North’s style plays right into Jeff’s hands. Jeff is going to score and the Huskies will have to try to keep up. They can’t. Jeff will pull away late for a two-touchdown win and move on to the sectional championship for the first time since it won it in 2008.
THE PICK: Jeffersonville 40, Evansville North 26.
• Bedford North Lawrence (5-5) at No. 3 Castle (10-0): What the Stars have done has been amazing. Bret Szabo has done another masterful job. After an 0-4 start, BNL has won five of its last six with the only loss coming in the regular-season finale, 35-31 to Class 4A No. 1 Columbus East.
The Stars have come a long way. Far enough to beat unbeaten, third-ranked Castle? Probably not, but I wouldn’t put it past them.
THE PICK: Castle 28, Bedford North Lawrence 23.