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Indiana Football Digest Top Games - 2019 Sectional Semifinals

The Indiana Football Digest Top Games is a weekly preview of the top contests around Indiana high school football.




KICKOFF 6:30 p.m. CDT, Demaree Stadium.

COACHES: Pat Shanley, 34-7 in fourth season at Lafayette Jeff. Brad Seiss, 28-25 in fifth season at Merrillville, 41-42 in eighth season overall.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Merrillville, 39-18, on October 25, 2013 in Class 6A sectional semifinal.

LAST CONTEST: Lafayette Jeff beat Indianapolis Tech, 55-14. Merrillville beat Chesterton, 27-20.

UP NEXT: Lafayette Jeff hosts Crown Point or Lake Central. Merrillville travels to Crown Point or entertains Lake Central

TOP PERFORMERS: Marquis Munoz ran 18 times for 217 yards with four touchdowns for the No. 2 Bronchos against Indianapolis Tech. Nick Price registered four quarterback sacks for the No. 4 Pirates against Chesterton.

CHALK TALK: "Coach Seiss is doing a tremendous job. They are very talented and play extremely hard. They are extremely stout in stopping the run and have a ton of talent on the back end of their defense. They do a great job of forcing opposing offenses into passing situations and then getting a ton of pressure on the quarterback. How well we run the ball, how well we take care of the ball, and our ability to win one vs. one matchups will have a lot to say about how well we perform offensively. Defensively, we have to find a way to contain (Jeremiah) Howard, (Armani) Glass, and (Peter) Rodriguez. They are very dynamic offensively and do a tremendous job at finding a multitude of ways to get their play-makers the ball. Their special teams are also extremely sound, so we must make sure that we are strong in this phase of the game or else they will make us pay." – Lafayette Jeff's Pat Shanley.

"Lafayette Jeff is a fast well-coached team in all three phases. For us to win, we have to limit their explosive plays on offense and in the kicking game. Offensively, we need to be able to neutralize their very talented defensive line so we can establish a running game and also provide protection when we throw the ball. It's also going to be very cold Friday, so not letting the weather conditions affect us will be very important if we are to beat a very good football team." – Merrillville's Brad Seiss.



KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Roard Stadium.

COACHES: Mark Bless, 84-32 in 10th season at Avon, 233-99 in 30th season overall. John Hart, 32-9 in fourth season at Brownsburg, 298-91 in 35th season overall.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Avon, 7-3, on September 13, 2019.

LAST CONTEST: Avon beat Noblesville, 37-13. Brownsburg lost to Hamilton Southeastern, 28-25.

UP NEXT: Avon travels to Indianapolis Pike or hosts Zionsville. Brownsburg plays at Pike or Zionsville.

TOP PERFORMERS: Christian McCray rambled 10 times for 82 yards with a score for the top-ranked Orioles against Noblesville. Preston Terrell came up with 12 catches for 165 yards for the No. 8 Bulldogs against Hamilton Southeastern.

CHALK TALK: "We will need to win the line of scrimmage battle on both sides of the ball. Plus, we have to win the field position battle with our special teams play and not allow the big play against us in order to be successful Friday night." – Avon's Mark Bless.

"Avon is clearly the best team in the state. We are going to have to make their quarterback (Henry Hesson) throw quickly without blitzing. (Blake) Fisher may be the best and most impactful offensive lineman I have seen in a long time. Offensively, if we had been good on short yardage, we would have scored several times in the previous sectional game as we drove but didn't finish in the red zone. Big plays have dictated the outcome in all the games we have played against them the last four years." – Brownsburg's John Hart.



KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Rice Field.

COACHES: Craig Koehler, 38-16 in fifth season at Concord. Josh Shattuck, 18-14 in third season at Central, 51-62 in 11th season overall.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Concord, 17-14, on November 2, 2018 in Class 5A sectional final.

LAST CONTEST: Concord beat Warsaw, 34-28. Central beat South Bend Adams, 35-0.

UP NEXT: Concord or Elkhart Central plays at Elkhart Memorial or entertains Mishawaka.

TOP PERFORMERS: Ethan Cain was 17-of-28 for 161 yards with a touchdown against Warsaw. Dominic Davis raced 26 times for 131 yards with a touchdown for the Blazers against Adams.

CHALK TALK: "Their offensive and defensive lines are very impressive and have overwhelmed some teams this year. We have got to be able to hang in there up front on both sides of the ball in order to have a chance to win the game. Their running back (Mark Brownlee) is the best we have seen all season and has several long touchdown runs. We cannot give up a bunch of big plays to him and expect to be in the game." – Concord's Craig Koehler.

"We have to be able to stop the run. If we make them one dimensional, it could play into our hands. We need to find ways to run the football. They are very stout on defense and it will be a major challenge for us to run the football. Finally, we have to win the turnover battle in order to be successful." – Elkhart Central's Josh Shattuck.



KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Sleighter Field.

COACHES: Kyle Ralph, 83-4 in seventh season at New Palestine. Darrin Fisher, 103-64 in 15th season at Whiteland, 164-136 in 29th season overall.

PREVIOUS MEETING: New Palestine, 19-8, on August 18, 2017.

LAST CONTEST: New Palestine beat Delta, 49-13. Whiteland beat Greenwood, 35-16.

UP NEXT: New Palestine hosts Seymour or Franklin. Whiteland plays at Seymour or entertains Franklin.

TOP PERFORMERS: Brody Luker had three receptions for 101 yards with two scores for the No. 1 Dragons against Delta. Jacob Phillips returned an interception 18 yards for a touchdown for the Warriors against Greenwood.

CHALK TALK: "This is another great game to be involved in against a team with a rich tradition that we have a history with. For us to be successful, we have to play turnover free on offense and be able to handle a very physical and stingy defense in what looks like tough weather elements Friday night. On defense, we have to be able to play assignment football against one of the most unique and dangerous offenses in Indiana with Whiteland's 'Fly Sweep'. Of course, our special teams' needs to continue to excel as well. It is going to be a very tough opening round of playoff football playing up a division again in Class 5A this year." – New Palestine's Kyle Ralph.

"We need to be great in the kicking game to keep field position in our favor is our number one priority. Offensively, we have to continue to do what we do by attacking all areas of the field with our running game and create big plays through the play-action pass. Defensively, we must work to make their offense one-dimensional." – Whiteland's Darrin Fisher. 


NORTHWOOD (7-3) AT LEO (9-1)

KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Lions Field.

COACHES: Nate Andrews, 53-18 in sixth season at NorthWood, 93-57 in 13th season overall. Jared Sauder, 117-38 in 14th season at Leo.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Leo, 28-7, on October 31, 2014 in Class 4A sectional semifinal.

LAST CONTEST: NorthWood beat Wawasee, 49-3. Leo beat Angola, 21-16.

UP NEXT: NorthWood entertains DeKalb or East Noble. Leo travels to East Noble or DeKalb.

TOP PERFORMERS: Ben Mestach rumbled seven times for 78 yards with two touchdowns for the Panthers against Wawasee. Peyton Wall ran 19 times for 172 yards and two scores for the No. 10 Lions against two-time defending sectional champion Angola.

CHALK TALK: "It will be a war of attrition for us, so we must be mentally focused and physical for four quarters." – NorthWood's Nate Andrews.

"NorthWood is a very good football team. They have many talented athletic players on both sides of the field. Defensively, we have to stop their run game led by quarterback Nate Newcomer and running back Jaden Miller. Both are very strong and fast runners, who will make you miss. We must play sound defense and get 11 hats to the football at all times. NorthWood plays very aggressively on defense and likes to stunt and blitz often, which will be a challenge for our offensive line and running backs. We have to know our assignments up front and be able to pick up the different pressures that they bring." – Leo's Jared Sauder.



KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. EDT, Brewer Field.

COACHES: Sean Coultis, 8-2 in first season at Evansville Central., 17-13 in third season overall. Tony Lewis, 6-3 in first season at Jasper, 137-69 in 18th season overall.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Evansville Central, 26-15, on October 27, 2017 in Class 4A sectional semifinal.

LAST CONTEST: Evansville Central beat Evansville Reitz, 41-34. Jasper beat Northview, 35-28.

UP NEXT: Evansville Central hosts Evansville Memorial or Boonville. Jasper plays at Boonville or Evansville Memorial.

TOP PERFORMERS: Collins Turner went 11-of-14 for 134 yards and rushed seven times for 33 yards with a touchdown for the No. 6 Bears against Evansville Reitz. Blake Mann was 4-of-5 for 70 yards with two scores and ran 19 times for 204 yards and two scores for the Wildcats against Northview.

CHALK TALK: "Jasper is a great program led by an outstanding head coach. They tackle and pursue very well on defense. They run the triple option on offense, which is very difficult to prepare for in a week of practice. To beat them, we need to play assignment football on defense and create big plays on offense." – Evansville Central's Sean Coultis.

"For us to have success against a very good Evansville Central team we'll have to control the football offensively and keep it away from their explosive offense. We have to win the turnover battle along with winning the field position battle in special teams. We'll have to have some guys make plays in big situations. In my opinion, four or five plays will determine the outcome of this game." - Jasper's Tony Lewis.



KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Charger Field.

COACHES: Mike Davidson, 17-6 in second season at Marian. Monte Mawhorter, 93-116 in 21st season at West Noble.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Mishawaka Marian, 12-6, on September 4, 1987.

LAST CONTEST: Marian beat Lakeland, 60-0. West Noble beat John Glenn, 26-0.

UP NEXT: Marian or West Noble entertains Jimtown or Tippecanoe Valley.

TOP PERFORMERS: Malcom Anderson exploded for 12 rushes for 110 yards with three scores for the No. 4 Knights against Lakeland. Brandon Pruitt tallied 19 carries for 164 yards with a touchdown and also caught a 51-yard touchdown pass for the No. 7 Chargers against John Glenn.

CHALK TALK: "West Noble is a really good team with a really good defense and a really good running game. In order to be successful on offense, we will need to handle and neutralize their blitz pressures. Defensively, we'll need to not let them get to the perimeter. They have multiple guys who once they hit the edge, they are gone. In the kick game, we need to control the field position, not turn the ball over, and not give up any big plays, scores, or trick plays." – Marian's Mike Davidson.

"We will need to play a perfect game and hope that Mishawaka Marian makes a few mistakes. We will have to try to match their physicality and find some way to score some points. Their defense has not given up more than two touchdowns in a game yet this season. Our kids are excited to be given a chance to compete and hope we can give the Knights a good game." – West Noble's Monte Mawhorter.



KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Neary Field.

COACHES: Jason Hawkins, 95-36 in 12th season at Charlestown, 101-49 in 14th season overall. Ryan Knigga, 75-30 in ninth season at Lawrenceburg.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Charlestown, 39-20, on October 15, 2010.

LAST CONTEST: Charlestown beat Brownstown Central, 7-6. Lawrenceburg beat Scottsburg, 42-0.

UP NEXT: Charlestown or Lawrenceburg travels to Batesville or Greensburg.

TOP PERFORMERS: Marion Lukes tallied 26 rushes for 174 yards with a touchdown for the Pirates against No. 3 Brownstown Central. Gavin Yoon hauled in five catches for 129 yards with three scores for the No. 9 Tigers against Scottsburg.

CHALK TALK: "They are really good, so we will have to play a perfect game to win. They can do multiple things on offense that can hurt you. That 10th grade quarterback (Garrett Yoon) is one of the best I have seen in a few years." – Charlestown's Jason Hawkins.

"Charlestown is a good team. They have won eight in a row and they are playing very well. They have a ton of confidence right now, especially after knocking off Brownstown. What it will take for the Tigers to have success on Friday. We will need to take care of the football and make sure every possession ends with a kick, hopefully a point-after-touchdown. We cannot turn the ball over. We must be physical in the trenches and dominate both lines of scrimmage. The biggest thing is we must get off the field on defense and tackle. Charlestown has a fast and shifty running back (Marion Lukes) we must tackle and keep him boxed in. Special teams will need to make some plays and win the field position battle. Charlestown is a good team and it should be a good one here in Lawrenceburg Friday night." – Lawrenceburg's Ryan Knigga.



KICKOFF: 7 p.m. CDT, Father Eckert Field.

COACHES: Dan Kukulski, 27-7 in third season at Boone Grove. Chris Skinner, 30-15 in fourth season at Andrean.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Andrean, 62-0, on October 26, 2012 in Class 2A sectional semifinal.

LAST CONTEST: Boone Grove beat Whiting, 44-7. Andrean beat Bowman Academy, 41-0.

UP NEXT: Boone Grove or Andrean hosts North Newton or Rensselaer Central.

TOP PERFORMERS: Braeton Vann accumulated seven carries for 137 yards with a score for the No. 6 Wolves against Whiting. Noah Hamilton completed 11-of-15 for 181 yards with a touchdown for the 59ers against Bowman Academy.

CHALK TALK: "In order to be successful this week, we need to play a well-rounded and complete game. These guys have been in this position several times in the past few years. Several of them have been in the starting line up since they were sophomores. They have worked hard all season and believe in each other." – Boone Grove's Dan Kukulski.

"Boone Grove's offense is skilled at every position. Their offensive line is strong and physical. The quarterback (Jake Mayersky) and tailback (Braeton Vann) are both dynamic athletes that can score in a variety of ways. We must do our best to minimize the explosive plays. Defensively, Boone Grove is fundamentally sound. They maintain gap-responsibility well. They're physical at the point-of-attack. In order to have success moving the ball, we must get hats on their defensive line and linebackers." – Andrean's Chris Skinner.



KICKOFF: 6:30 p.m. CDT, Reitz Bowl.

COACHES: Brian Oliver, 73-16 in seventh season at Linton-Stockton. Mike Goebel, 225-70 in 23rd season at Mater Dei.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Mater Dei, 40-21, on October 26, 2018 in Class 2A sectional semifinal.

LAST CONTEST: Linton-Stockton beat North Posey, 51-0. Mater Dei beat Crawford County, 56-0.

UP NEXT: Linton-Stockton or Evansville Mater Dei plays at North Knox or Forest Park.

TOP PERFORMERS: Cash Howard recorded three rushes for 83 yards with a touchdown for the No. 5 Miners against North Posey. Cole Happe finished 2-of-3 for 81 yards with two scores for the No. 4 Wildcats against Crawford County.

CHALK TALK: "This is a big matchup for us. We have to be disciplined on defense and not give up big plays. We need to execute the offense and finish the drives. More importantly, we need to focus on one play at a time." Linton-Stockton's Brian Oliver.

"Linton-Stockton is one, if not the, most improved teams in the state. After losing a game in which they led to the very end in game one to Southridge (28-20), they have been on a dominating tear. We are quite aware that a year ago when we played, Linton had seven fumbles. They have corrected and expanded their offense with both their tradition Wing-T rush and great passing from Trey Goodman. (Devyn) Robertson is a great all-state candidate target, but he is not alone. Also, the dominating rush ability of (Luke) Lannan, (Lance) Dyer, and Goodman has led Linton to this great season. Coach Oliver and his staff have developed a great and very experienced (almost all return from starting roles last year) team on both sides of the ball. The offense is difficult for us to mimic in practice as we saw little of the Wing-T this season. They are very diverse with the misdirection and now, the shotgun passing attack has made this offense very powerful. Their defense is typical Linton, only better, hard hitting, aggressive, and fundamentally sound. We realize that, if we hold up our part, this could be a tremendous game. We have no doubt that the Miners will bring their best game." Evansville mater Dei's Mike Goebel.



KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Starfire Field.

COACHES: John Hochstetler, 63-30 in eighth season at Monroe Central, 150-113 in 23rd season overall. Grant Moser, 33-20 in fifth season at South Adams.

PREVIOUS MEETING: South Adams, 34-15 on September 20, 2019.

LAST CONTEST: Monroe Central beat Southern Wells, 43-7. South Adams beat Tri-Central, 49-7.

UP NEXT: Monroe Central or Adams Central entertains Madison-Grant or Union City.

TOP PERFORMERS: Luke Jones came up with four catches for 94 yards and two scores for the Golden Bears against Southern Wells. James Arnold was 14-of-23 for 303 yards with five touchdowns for the No. 2 Starfires against Tri-Central.

CHALK TALK: "After playing them in week five at our place, this time we are the one who travels. South Adams is very good, talented, and plays hard. They are a tough matchup physically, so ball security and timely plays will be key for us." – Monroe Central's John Hochstetler.

"Monroe Central is very well-coached and very physical. It will be an enormous challenge to beat them twice in the same season, but we will come ready to play because we really want to win the sectional." – Adams Central's Grant Moser.



KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Parke Heritage Field.

COACHES: Ryan Good, 88-46 in 12th season at Attica. Brian Moore, 17-4 in second season at Parke Heritage, 204-47 in 22nd season overall.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Parke Heritage, 26-6, on September 13, 2019.

LAST CONTEST: Attica beat Fountain Central, 54-0. Parke Heritage beat Cloverdale, 60-20.

UP NEXT: Attica or Parke Heritage goes to North Vermillion or entertains South Putnam.

TOP PERFORMERS: Jorden Douglass racked up eight receptions for 150 yards for the Red Ramblers against Fountain Central. Seth Bollinger ran 14 times for 112 yards and four scores for the No. 6 Wolves against Cloverdale.

CHALK TALK: "In order for us to be successful, our defense will have to limit big plays by their offense. On the flipside, our offense will have to consistently move the chains as well as maintaining good field position." – Attica's Ryan Good.

"Attica only has 20 players on their roster and yet they consistently come out and play extremely hard and have been very good this season again. I am always impressed with how well-coached they are and how well they execute knowing they cannot have a full on scrimmage time in practice. It is a tribute to the players and coaches. We have to play extremely physical defense, so we will need to be assignment sound and tackle extremely well. (Quarterback) Eli Kirkpatrick is a great playmaker with his feet and arm. Offensively, we need to keep doing what we've been doing. Catch the football in our passing game and being able to run the ball effectively to keep Attica off balance. They defended us better than anyone has in our first meeting. We have to find a way to make more plays offensively and execute in the red zone when we get there." – Parke Heritage's Brian Moore.

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