Southsider Voice Correspondent
The 42nd annual state football tournaments begin at 7 p.m. Friday with three Southside teams among the favorites to advance to the regionals.
Southport is favored in 6A Sectional 7; Center Grove is a heavy favorite in 6A Sectional 8; and Lutheran is the pick in Class A Sectional 46.
The Southside wound up with four teams winning regular season records: Southport 7-2, Center Grove 6-3, sectional dark horse Beech Grove 5-4 and Lutheran 6-3.
Class 6A sectional winners Friday advance to sectional championship games Oct. 31, all other class winners advance to sectional semifinal round.
Here are the matchups for the Southside:
East Central (6-3) at Greenwood (4-5) – Two teams on different paths … Greenwood lost last four games after opening 4-1 … EC has won six in row, including a double overtime win against Roncalli on Friday… Woodmen need to rediscover power offense … scored only six TDs in current skid … travel and playing in The Woodshed puts EC at a disadvantage …winner faces Shelbyville (4-5) or Connersville (4-5) … No. 1 Columbus East (9-0) is in opposite bracket.
Edinburgh (3-6) at Class A No. 8 Lutheran (6-3) – Saints have won four of past five … Lutheran’s big front line gives Class A opponents fits … Saints runner-up to Triton Central in rugged Indiana Crossroads league … Edinburgh gave up 111 points in last two losses … winner meets South Putnam (4-5) or West Washington (5-4), the only other team with winning record in Sectional 46.
Mount Vernon (6-3) at Beech Grove (5-4) – First winning season under Hornet coach Mark Weller … put together five-game winning streak … lost last three to formidable Ritter, league champ Triton Central and Mid-State’s Mooresville … sophomore quarterback Chase Andries has 1,934 yards passing and 24 TDs, 13 to senior Jamal Brumfield … winner meets Greenfield (4-5) or Pendleton Heights (3-6) … 4A No. 2 New Palestine (9-0) in opposite bracket.
New Albany (1-8) at 6A No. 5 Center Grove (6-3) – Trojans play in strongest league (Metropolitan Interscholastic) in the state … Trojans lost first three 6A matchups to top three teams (Carmel, Warren Central, Ben Davis) in state … outscored last five foes 247-87 … wing-T offense a problem for all opponents … state champs in 2008 … a win away from return trip to state finals for 3 straight years … winner meets Columbus North (4-5) or Jeffersonville (8-1).
Perry Meridian (2-7) at 6A No. 9 Southport (7-2) – Cardinals thrashed Falcons 62-21 Sept. 6 in Lucas Oil Stadium … Southport was 6-0 then and star running back Cordell Tucker injured knee … Cards QB junior Luke Johnston holds school record for TD passes with 49 in two seasons … Falcons’ defense allowing 39.7 points per game … Cards are favored to take this sectional … winner meets Tech (4-3) or Franklin Central (2-7).
Roncalli (4-5) at Northwest (0-9) – Rare losing record for Rebels … began jelling with wins against Plainfield, Scecina and Brebeuf … then dropped last three games by 5.7 points per game … Rebels have not won sectional since 2005, when they reached state finals … winner meets Sectional 22 favorite 4A No. 4 Chatard (7-2), a 20-7 winner Sept. 5 against Rebels, or Lebanon (6-3).
Tech (4-3) at Franklin Central (2-7) – Flashes opened with quality win against Mid-State co-champ Decatur Central … last five losses by seven points or less … offense averages only 15.2 points … Titans have played only one 6A foe all season … look for Flashes to advance … next opponent is Southport-Perry Meridian winner.
2A No. 3Triton Central (8-1) at Manual (0-8) – If sectionals were seeded, this one would have favored Indiana Crossroads champ Triton Central against winless Manual … Redskins competed with thin 23-player roster … gave up 421 points and scored only twice … winner meets Clarksville (3-6) or Providence (6-3).