Five Southside teams take aim at IHSAA sectional championships Friday night.
Big 6A matchups find upset-minded Franklin Central at Center Grove and high-flying Southport at Ben Davis with Lebanon challenging favored Roncalli in 4A at home and 1A Lutheran awaiting an underdog Park Tudor.
In 6A playoff openers last week, never-say-die Southport, with quarterback Ryan Lezon at the helm, came from behind in the fourth quarter to knock off determined Tech. Lezon’s short TD pass to Gabe Lowden tied it and Colbi Cocherell’s fifth PAT won it. Lezon, a wide receiver last year, threw four TD passes while completing 20 of 28 passes for 303 yards.
Southport’s opponent, Ben Davis faces its second straight Perry Township foe after dominating winless Perry Meridian, 57-0.
Opportunistic Center Grove jumped to a 14-0 lead against host Columbus East on Trent Veith’s 42-yard punt return for a TD and Jackson Schott scored on a 19-yard pass interception. Led by Daniel Weems’ 103 yards, the Trojans gained 345 yards on the ground for a 31-7 triumph.
Franklin Central’s fourth-quarter 25-yard TD pass from Peyton Vieweigh to Jacob Whitney stood up as the game-winner. The Bulldogs cut it to the final 14-11 score with a TD and two-point PAT.
The Trojans and Flashes met last year for the sectional trophy with Center Grove prevailing, 23-7. FC’s defense has improved, while CG’s ground attack can control the game.
In 4A, Roncalli captured its fifth consecutive win against Crispus Attucks, 42-14, on the road. Roncalli quarterback Aiden Leffler set a school record by rushing for five TDs against the Tigers. His scoring runs were 1, 9, 1, 2, and 3 yards. The Rebels have outscored their last five opponents, 167-35 after losing five of their first six games.
Underdog Greenwood hooked up against visiting 4A No. 2 East Central in a shootout, but the Woodmen fell, 49-35. Senior quarterback Oliver Rau finished with a career-high five TD passes.