Five Southside football teams open play Friday in the IHSAA playoffs.
Undefeated Lutheran, improving Roncalli, Greenwood, Beech Grove and Manual take to the gridiron Friday. No. 1-ranked 1A Lutheran is a heavy sectional favorite and believes this is finally their year to go all the way to Lucas Oil Stadium. Roncalli, winners of four of its last four games, has emerged as a favorite in Sectional 22.
All Class 6A teams have Friday off and do not begin play in eight four-team sections on Nov. 1. Center Grove is favored in Sectional 8. Southport is a darkhorse in Sectional 6 where Ben Davis looms.
Team-by-team outlook (stats from MaxPreps):
LUTHERAN (8-0) – Saints rolled over only 1A foe of season Friday, Traders Point Christian 63-27 … running back Marcus McFadden scored five TDs, ran for 152 yards against Knights … quarterback Blake White threw for 332 yards (17 of 21) & one TD Friday … coach Dave Pasch’s machine averages 41.5 points per game … in sectional lower bracket with all teams having winning records … Saints believe this is their year.
MANUAL (1-8) – Redskins showed promise in last two games … won only game by dominating Gary Roosevelt, 52-0 … one-man offense in talented D’Tayveon Pittman, 1,266 yards passing, 8 TDs, 484 yards rushing … Robert Orkman top receiver, 669 yards, 3 TDs … offense scored 72 points in last two games, only 64 points in first seven games.
BEECH GROVE (3-6) – Deceiving record due to two early-season win forfeits … defense sputtered in last two games … BG previously outscored three non-4A foes by 107-31 in mid-season win streak … quarterback Gavin Mitchell & running back Tevon Washington form ground attack … senior lineman Josh Fryar (Ohio State commit) one of state’s best.
GREENWOOD (3-6) – Closed with third loss in a row in Mid-State … outscored 117-30 in that stretch … junior running back Ethan Haessing (794 yards, 8 TDs) … quarterback/baseball pitcher Oliver Rau, 869 yards passing, 6 TDs) … in same sectional bracket as undefeated East Central.
RONCALLI (4-5) – Rebels offense finally coming around … started season withfour straight losses … won four of last five games … running back Baron Huebler scored two TDs, ran for 157 yards Friday against Guerin Catholic … quarterback Aiden Leffler has thrown for 1,161 yards, 10 TDs … senior J. Wardzala (68 tackles) leads defense … Rebels were 4-5 in 2014, then won three in row for sectional trophy.
Class 6A (play Nov. 1)
CENTER GROVE (4-5) – Same season record as 2017 but won sectional … closed with four wins in last six games … host Cathedral ended three-game win streak Friday… top threat soph running back Daniel Weems (845 yards, seven TDs) … ground game averages 211 yards … soph lineman Caden Curry leads tacklers (65) … seek seventh 6A sectional title since 2013 … rugged MIC schedule prepares CG for playoffs.
FRANKLIN CENTRAL (4-5) – Posted 2-5 mark in second season in rugged Hoosier Crossroads Conference … opened season with three wins in four games … 1-2 ground attack Josh Ruley (825 yards, 8 TDs) and soph Aataevon Jordan … quarterback Peyton Vieweigh threw for 163 yards Friday against Westfield … defense led by senior linebacker Nate Talhelm (117 tackles) … Flashes want to make noise in playoffs.
PERRY MERIDIAN (0-9) – Porous defense allowed 45.1 points per game … offense averages 311 yards total offense, 2.4 TDs per game … junior quarterback Gavin Hart, 1,195 yards passing, 10 TDs … junior running back Aiden Warren, 1,138 yards, 6 TDs … last winless season in 2008 … only sectional trophy came in 1986.
SOUTHPORT (6-3) – Inches short of claiming Conference Indiana title Friday … senior quarterback Ryan Lezon (796 yards passing, 10 TDs, 523 yards rushing) sparks offense … passing game features receivers Brevin Jefferson (23.8 yards per catch), Matthew Munoz and Carson Moore … never-say-die Cards came from two TDs down to push Bloomington North into OT … Southport has best record among Sectional 6 field … last sectional title in 2014.