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Indiana Football Digest's Top Games - 2018 State Finals

CLASS 1A CHAMPIONSHIP

PIONEER PANTHERS (14-0) VS. NORTH VERMILLION FALCONS (13-1)

KICKOFF: Noon EST, Saturday, Lucas Oil Stadium.

COACHES: Adam Berry, 43-1 in third season at Pioneer. Brian Crabtree, 77-12 in seventh season at North Vermillion, 112-51 in 14th season overall.

SEMISTATE SCORES: No. 1 Pioneer over No. 2 Adams Central, 38-7. No. 7 North Vermillion over No. 10 Indianapolis Lutheran, 14-7.

PREVIOUS MEETING: North Vermillion, 27-26, on November 29, 2014 in Class 1A state final.

LAST TIME IN THE WINNER’S CIRCLE: Pioneer (2017), North Vermillion (2014).

TOP PERFORMERS: Jack Kiser of Pioneer is 58-of-88 for 1,095 yards with 16 touchdowns and has run 161 times for 1,874 yards and 31 scores. North Vemillion’s Christian Myers has carried the ball 161 times for 1,874 yards with 17 touchdowns.

COACH TALK: “We’re going to have to stop their playmakers. They have three talented backs that can make big plays, so we need to be disciplined defensively and do a good job of reading our keys. Offensively, we were not very crisp in the semistate, so we need to clean things up by eliminating turnovers and penalties and do a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage up front.” – Pioneer’s Adam Berry.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to see how we stack up to a tremendous Pioneer team. To have a chance to win on offense, we will have to manufacture long drives that chew time off of the clock. On defense, we will have to keep their athletes in front of us and force them to march the ball down the field rather than scoring on big plays.” – North Vermillion’s Brian Crabtree.

CLASS 2A CHAMPIONSHIP

EASTBROOK PANTHERS (13-1) VS. WESTERN BOONE STARS (14-0)

KICKOFF: Noon EST, Friday, Lucas Oil Stadium.

COACHES: Jeff Adamson, 268-85 in 30th season at Eastbrook. Justin Pelley, 52-19 in sixth season at Western Boone.

SEMISTATE SCORES: No. 5 Eastbrook over No. 11 Bremen, 34-33. No. 1 Western Boone over No. 10 Southridge, 48-7.

PREVIOUS MEETING: None.

LAST TIME IN THE WINNER’S CIRCLE: Eastbrook (never), Western Boone (1988).

TOP PERFORMERS: Eastbrook’s Xaine Kirby has rambled 234 times for 1,873 yards with 23 touchdowns. Spencer Wright of Western Boone has completed 120-of-185 for 3,518 yards with 27 touchdowns and rushed 81 times for 441 yards and nine scores.

COACH TALK: “Western Boone is the most complete team we have seen all season. They are balanced and explosive on offense. They can hurt you on the ground and through the air. (Quarterback) Spencer Wright is a terrific athlete to be directing their offense and he has a lot of athletic options to help him. Defensively, they have a great combination of size and speed. They get to the ball better than any group we have seen. We hope to have a great week of preparation and finish with a win.” – Eastbrook’s Jeff Adamson.

“This will be a battle between two good football teams, both playing for a state title. We will have to be efficient on offense and limit the penalties. In order to win, we will have to contain Eastbrook’s up-tempo rushing attack and force some turnovers. They get off the ball and I am impressed by their physicality. We will need to match their intensity and take advantage of matchups out wide in order to have a chance on Friday at Noon.” – Western Boone’s Justin Pelley.

CLASS 3A CHAMPIONSHIP

WEST LAFAYETTE RED DEVILS (14-0) VS. EVANSVILLE MEMORIAL TIGERS (14-0)

KICKOFF: 3:30 p.m. EST, Saturday, Lucas Oil Stadium.

COACHES: Shane Fry, 67-12 in sixth season at West Lafayette. John Hurley, 87-53 in 11th season at Evansville Memorial.

SEMISTATE SCORES: No. 2 West Lafayette over No. 10 Fort Wayne Bishop Luers, 27-14. No. 1 Evansville Memorial over No. 5 Indianapolis Bishop Chatard, 42-17.

PREVIOUS MEETING: West Lafayette, 24-10, on November 28, 2009 in Class 3A state final.

LAST TIME IN THE WINNER’S CIRCLE: West Lafayette (2009), Evansville Memorial (2017).

TOP PERFORMERS: Kyle Adams of West Lafayette is 240-of-363 for 3,469 yards and 43 touchdowns. Evansville Memorial’s Michael Lindauer has completed 222-of-332 for 3,518 yards with 46 scores.

COACH TALK: “In order for us to beat Evansville Memorial, we must slow down their offense. We will have to be able to get to their quarterback (Michael Lindauer) and disrupt their timing. On offense, we need to take care of the ball and score when we are in the red zone. As always, we need to be great on special teams.” – West Lafayette’s Shane Fry.

"You have two quality teams that get to compete for a state championship. We want to see who the best man standing at the end of the game is. Offensively, they are massive up front. They are tremendously athletic on the outside and they physically run the ball for a spread team. That’s what concerns us without a doubt." – Evansville Memorial’s John Hurley.

CLASS 4A CHAMPIONSHIP

FORT WAYNE BISHOP DWENGER SAINTS (13-1) VS. EVANSVILLE CENTRAL BEARS (13-1)

KICKOFF: 3:30 p.m. EST, Friday, Lucas Oil Stadium.

COACHES: Jason Garrett, 13-1 in first season at Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger. Troy Burgess, 13-1 in first season at Evansville Central, 108-75 in 17th season overall.

SEMISTATE SCORES: No. 6 Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger over No. 2 Mishawaka, 24-6. No. 8 Evansville Central over No. 4 Marion, 30-14.

PREVIOUS MATCHUP: None.

LAST TIME IN THE WINNER’S CIRCLE: Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger (2015), Evansville Central (never).

TOP PERFORMERS: Devon Tippmann of Bishop Dwenger has 194 carries for 1,198 yards and six scores. Evansville Central’s Brennan Schutte has run the ball 324 times for 2,192 yards and 25 touchdowns.

COACH TALK: “They remind us a lot of ourselves. They have a big, strong offensive and defensive line and like to run the ball. They also have strong, fundamental gap sound defense. They have a great quarterback with great size and athleticism and sound targets to throw. It going to come to down to our defense limiting the big plays and our offense being able to execute by running the football and throwing it when we need to.” – Bishop Dwenger’s Jason Garrett.

“They are going to do things the right way and will not be out-coached. We have to be disciplined on defense and not allow to control the line of scrimmage. For us to have success, we have to be able to match their intensity. We have to be able to do the little things and keep our mistakes to a minimum. We have to keep their guys up front out of the backfield and allow our playmakers on offense to do their job.” – Evansville Central’s Troy Burgess.

CLASS 5A CHAMPIONSHIP

NEW PALESTINE DRAGONS (13-0) VS. DECATUR CENTRAL HAWKS (12-1)

KICKOFF: 7:05 p.m. EST, Saturday, Lucas Oil Stadium.

COACHES: Kyle Ralph, 73-4 in sixth season at New Palestine. Kyle Enright, 29-6 in third season at Decatur Central.

SEMISTATE SCORES: No. 1 New Palestine over No. 3 Michigan City, 35-10. No. 2 Decatur Central over No. 3 Columbus East, 27-24.

PREVIOUS MEETING: None.

LAST TIME IN THE WINNER’S CIRCLE: New Palestine (2014), Decatur Central (never).

TOP PERFORMERS: New Palestine’s Charlie Spegal has 291 carries for 3,031 yards with 66 touchdowns. Parker Harrington of Decatur Central has completed 90-of-177 for 1,594 yards with 20 touchdowns and carried the ball 159 times for 858 yards and four scores.

COACH TALK: “Decatur Central is a very talented and well-coached team. We have to play our best football of the season on the biggest stage. The biggest thing we need to do to play successful is to continue to do what has gotten us here. Be efficient on offense, play strong defense, win the turnover battle, and play tremendous on special teams. It is an honor to be at this stage playing a class above where we belong again and it is great to go against such a great program and team. It should be an incredible game Saturday night.” – New Palestine’s Kyle Ralph.

“One of the keys to our success is slowing down (running back) Charlie Spegal and (quarterback) Zach Neligh. The New Pal running attack is very good and features a 3,000 yard back and a quarterback who has rushed for over 1000 yards as well. We also need to move the ball on the ground and win the time of possession. Against a great defense like that of New Pal (which has allowed under 10 points per game), you must try and stay on script and make positive gains on first and second down to give you third and manageable situations. If you get into must throw situations with them, they are very good, so we must keep them off-balance. We also must win the field position battle on special teams.” – Decatur Central’s Kyle Enright.

CLASS 6A CHAMPIONSHIP

CARMEL GREYHOUNDS (11-2) VS. WARREN CENTRAL WARRIORS (13-0)

KICKOFF: 7:05 p.m. EST, Friday, Lucas Oil Stadium.

COACHES: John Hebert, 39-14 in fourth season at Carmel. Jayson West, 58-16 in sixth season at Warren Central, 110-28 in 11th season overall.

SEMISTATE SCORES: No. 3 Carmel over No. 10 Valparaiso, 14-10. No. 1 Warren Central over No. 7 Center Grove, 27-20.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Warren Central, 41-17, on October 5, 2018.

LAST TIME IN THE WINNER’S CIRCLE: Carmel (2016), Warren Central (2013).

TOP PERFORMERS: Carmel’s Dylan Downing has 176 rushes for 1,056 yards and five scores. David Bell of Warren Central has 81 receptions for 1,507 yards and 23 touchdowns.

COACH TALK: “It’s always a great game. It’s always really competitive., but on the other side of the coin, our kids know they can play with them. That’s an advantage for us.” – Carmel’s John Hebert.

“We have to have the next man step up and be ready to compete against a very physical Carmel football team. We have to stop the run and not allow big plays. We have to be efficient on offense against a very good Carmel defense.” – Warren Central’s Jayson West.

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