Senior staff writer
Center Grove, Franklin Central, Roncalli, Greenwood and Lutheran enjoy top-15 rankings as football sectionals begin at 7 p.m. Friday for most teams.
“This is the real deal,” contends veteran Center Grove coach Eric Moore, whose Trojans reached the 6A state finals last year.
Roncalli, last year’s 4A state champion, competes in 5A this year due to its success factor. This also is the first time in 27 years that legendary Rebels coach Bruce Scifres, now executive director of the Catholic Youth Organization, is not on the sidelines.
Friday’s games: Class 4A
No. 11 Greenwood (7-2) at Beech Grove (4-5) – Woodmen have strong one-two punch with senior quarterback Seth Gallman and running back Brandon Rosado, returning after recovering from high ankle sprain … defense can bend at times … gave up 63 points to Plainfield and over 300 yards of offense in defeating Whiteland 41-25 Friday … Greenwood program solid, 22-11 over three years … Beech Grove played only one 4A team, losing season finale to Mooresville 17-12 … Hornets lost three of last four games … BG coach Mark Weller had to rebuild offense that still averages 25.3 points … big nod to Woodmen to chop down Hornets’ nest.
Manual (5-4) at Indian Creek (6-3) – Manual football fortunes on rise … second straight five-win season … backfield features pair of 700-yard runners in Deangelo Dean and Coadie Barnett … defense has Isaiah Starks and Ricky Belt with combined 17 sacks … coach Robert Orkman eager for first sectional win in decades … host Braves dropped season finale to Sullivan but are 2-1 against 4A teams … this draw did Manual no favors.
Cambridge City Lincoln (1-8) at No. 3 Lutheran (7-2) – Saints have strong passing and running game … lost to 3A Ritter and 2A Scecina in rugged Indiana Crossroads Conference … have scored 30-plus points in five games … warmed up for sectional with 50-14 win Saturday against Shortridge … all-time rushing leader Andre Jones leads offense, linebacker Bailly Barham bolsters defense … visiting Eagles only win was against 2A Union County … average only nine points per game on offense, defense allowed 596 points … big mismatch on both sides of ball … Saints begin playoff march will likely to meet Edinburgh-South Decatur winner.
Class 6A: All games at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27
No. 11 Center Grove (4-5) at No. 14 Franklin Central (8-1) – Flashes won Conference Indiana title outright Friday at Terre Haute North 45-28 … riding seven game winning streak … only loss was at Roncalli … quarterback Dylan Bishop completing 65 percent of his passes, 23 TDs, only six interceptions … running back Michael Pitz, 1,007 yards rushing, 13 TDs … linebackers Mario Coles and Nate Talhelm lead defense … last sectional title 24 years ago … Center Grove dropped season finale Friday against Cathedral … only second losing season under veteran coach Eric Moore … wing-T offense averaging 188 yards rushing … led by freshman sensation Carson Steele, 1,128 yards, 13 TDs … linebacker Austin Daming leads defense … CG seeks seventh consecutive sectional trophy … strength of schedule favors Trojan win.
No. 6 Avon (7-2) at Southport (5-4) – Tough draw for Cardinals … Southport dropped last game to Columbus North 28-14 …Cards’ junior quarterback Eddie Schott 1,521 yards passing and 14 TDs … junior Jalen Caldwell, 6.0 yards per carry, keeps defenses honest … visiting Orioles three-way Hoosier Crossroads champions … coached by Greenwood native Mark Bless …big, fast and talented Orioles average 426 yards of offense … quarterback Cameron Misner, 2,158 yards passing, 32 TDs … Sampson James 1,185 yards rushing, 15 TDs … Avon’s high-powered offense rolls again … will meet Perry Meridian-Brownsburg winner.
Perry Meridian (1-8) at No. 8 Brownsburg (7-2) – Visiting Falcons lost seven games in row before defeating Terre Haute North 21-12 … Falcons fell Friday to Bloomington South 21-17 … defense allowed 30.2 points per game … ’Dogs earned share of Hoosier Crossroad Conference title … outscored last five opponents 193-56 … Bulldogs have big bite … will meet Avon-Southport winner.
Class 5A, 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28
No. 5 Roncalli (8-1) vs. No. 1 Cathedral (4-5) at Tech – Rivalries don’t get much bigger than this one in Indiana ... Irish own 20-12 series lead … Rebels bounced back Friday to defeat Guerin Catholic 24-14 after 22-game win streak ended one week earlier by Decatur Central … Rebels’ balanced offense led by quarterback Conner Gore, 75.7 completion percentage, 12 TDs … running backs Patrick McManama and Elijah Mahan combined for 1,380 yards rushing, 21 TDs … efficient defense led by senior C. Morgan, 76 tackles … coach Scott Marsh guides Rebels in playoffs for first time … Cathedral closed regular season with 21-14 victory over Center Grove, third win in past four games … Irish rely on ground game, 206.5 yards per game … grinder goes to Rebels.