Indiana Football Digest Top Games - 2019 Week 7

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



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

COACHES: Pete Gast, 47-64 in 11th season at Alexandria, 62-99 in 16th season overall. Jeff Adamson, 272-88 in 31st season at Eastbrook.

LAST CONTEST: Alexandria beat Elwood, 69-22. Eastbrook beat Frankton, 68-14.

TOP PERFORMERS: Eric Pegg ran 10 times for 135 yards with a touchdown for the Tigers against Elwood. Zeke Binkerd had two carries for 79 yards and two scores for the No. 9 (Class 2A) Panthers against Frankton.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Eastbrook, 54-13, on September 28, 2018.

CHALK TALK: "We're going to have to be solid in all three phases of the game, offense, defense, and special teams. They're going to score points, so we just have to get stops here and there. But most importantly, we must limit the big play. We cannot let their return game hurt us, so where we kick and punt the ball is crucial. On offense, we feel we can get things, but we have to play fast and execute. They will give us different looks, coverages, and blitzes, so our ability to recognize and adjust will be critical." – Alexandria's Pete Gast.

"Alexandria has a very extensive passing game. Hopefully, we can mix in enough pressure to disrupt their timing. We will also drop an extra man in coverage on occasion to give them some different looks. If we give them the same look on every down, they will pick us apart." – Eastbrook's Jeff Adamson.


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

COACHES: Mic Roessler, 52-28 in seventh season at Brebeuf Jesuit. Tim Herrin, 26-44 in seventh season at Terre Haute South.

LAST CONTEST: Brebeuf Jesuit beat Indianapolis Roncalli, 42-14. Terre Haute South beat Bedford North Lawrence, 49-21.

TOP PERFORMERS: Drake Hagerman was 11-of-17 for 302 yards with four scores for the No. 6 (Class 3A) Braves against Indianapolis Roncalli. Caleb Stultz went 11-of-13 for 145 yards and two touchdowns for the No. 7 (Class 5A) Braves against Bedford North Lawrence.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Brebeuf Jesuit, 28-23, on September 28, 2018.

CHALK TALK: "Friday night will be a huge test for our team. Terre Haute South is a talented team with many weapons on both sides of the ball. In order for us to be successful, we need to limit unforced errors on offense and fly to the football on defense. Our team is young and inexperienced in some key positions., so their play will have a major impact in this contest." – Brebeuf's Mic Roessler.

"For us to be successful this Friday against Brebeuf, we will need to control the line of scrimmage on both sides. This will allow us to keep their offense off the field and control tempo. This will be a great challenge for us as we get ready for post-season play." – Terre Haute South's Tim Herrin.


KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, The Rock Pile.

COACHES: Craig Koehler, 36-15 in fifth season at Concord. John Barron, 120-52 in 16th season at Plymouth.

LAST CONTEST: Concord beat Jimtown, 29-9. Plymouth beat Wawasee, 35-0.

TOP PERFORMERS: Ariel De La Paz converted a pair of extra-points and a 44-yard field goal for the No. 3 (Class 5A) Minutemen against Jimtown. Seth Rundell came up with eight catches for 107 yards and a score for the No. 8 (Class 4A) Rockies against Wawasee.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Plymouth, 27-23, on September 28, 2018.

CHALK TALK: "They have big-played everyone, so we must force them to keep snapping the ball. It will be very difficult to win if get the ball thrown over our head. Offensively, we will need to continue to complete balls at a high rate as we have been. This will hopefully allow the run game to get going as well. This is as 'skilled' of a Plymouth team as I can remember preparing for. They are very skilled on both sides of the ball, so it is going to take a great effort to beat them." – Concord's Craig Koehler.

"Concord is an outstanding football team led by a very accurate senior quarterback in Ethan Cain. Coach Koehler and his staff do an excellent job preparing their kids to play fast, stingy defense. Statistically, they are far the best football team at this point in the NLC and very deserving of their No. 3 ranking in Class 5A. We will need to be ready to play a high level Friday night." Plymouth's John Barron.


KICKOFF: 7 p.m. CDT, Enlow Field.

COACHES: Sean Coultis, 5-1 in first season at Evansville Central, 14-12 in third season overall. John Hurley, 93-54 in 12th season at Evansville Memorial.

LAST CONTEST: Evansville Central beat Evansville Harrison, 45-12. Evansville Memorial beat Evansville Reitz, 27-7.

TOP PERFORMERS: Collins Turner completed 4-of-13 for 111 yards with three touchdowns for the No. 9 (Class 4A) Bears against Evansville Harrison. Josh Russell rambled 17 times for 51 yards with a score for the No. 3 (Class 4A) Tigers against Evansville Reitz.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Evansville Memorial, 47-27, on September 28, 2018.

CHALK TALK: "To beat Memorial, we will have to earn everything. They will not give us anything. They are a great football program that is stocked with outstanding talent. The coaching staff is top notch. We need to win the turnover battle and create big plays on offense. Similarly, we cannot give up big plays on defense." - Evansville Central's Sean Coultis.

"Central is an explosive football team who is playing at a very high level. Coach Coultis and his staff have done a great good building off of 2018. We will need to stop the run, protect the football, eliminate penalties, and make big plays on both sides of the ball." – Evansville Memorial's John Hurley.


KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Red Pride Field.

COACHES: Chris Coll, 8-18 in third season at Franklin, 87-61 in 14th season overall. Brian Woodard, 82-65 in 14th season at Plainfield.

LAST CONTEST: Franklin lost to Mooresville, 49-42. Plainfield lost to Decatur Central, 42-38.

TOP PERFORMERS: Peyton Ruble hauled in seven receptions for 85 yards with a touchdown for the No. 9 (Class 5A) Grizzly Cubs against No. 7 (Class 4A) Mooresville. Jarrett Stephen raced 20 times for 101 yards and two scores for the Quakers against No. 10 (Class 5A) Decatur Central.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Plainfield, 40-39, on September 28, 2018.

CHALK TALK: "Plainfield is a very good team which is having much success this season. They present some challenges on offense with their personnel. They have two very good running backs (Rickey Alsum and Jarrett Stephen) that are physical, run hard, and have good speed. They can present a very physical run game that people have difficulty stopping. We will have to play very well up front defensively. They also have two young quarterbacks (Aiden Moyers and Cael Vanderbush) that they are using and both can throw the ball well and also have good athletes at the skill positions. Defensively, we need to be very good on first and second down and keep them from second-third down and short yardage where they are difficult to predict. Offensively, like any week, we need to be efficient and score points. The better we play on offense; the more pressure it takes off our defense. We can't afford to have many drives without getting points. If we don't score, Plainfield can be more methodical and pound us with their run game." – Franklin's Chris Coll.

"We have to value every possession on offense because our best defense has Franklin's offense on the sideline. Franklin's offense is so hard to defend because they can beat you by grinding it out or outscoring you. When we have a chance to get them off the field, we have to make that play. We can't let them extend drives with blown assignments and missed tackles. Finally, we have to bounce back in our kicking game. We were tied 22-22 last week and four of our extra-points were either missed or blocked." – Plainfield's Brian Woodard.

KNOX (6-0) AT PIONEER (5-1)

KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. EDT, The Pit.

COACHES: John Hendryx, 37-15 in fifth season at Knox, 212-91 in 27th season overall. Adam Berry, 49-2 in 4th season at Pioneer.

LAST CONTEST: Knox beat LaVille, 13-3. Pioneer beat Triton, 60-0.

TOP PERFORMERS: Martin Napierkowski accounted for a three-yard scoring run for the No. 8 (Class 3A) Redskins against LaVille. Addai Lewellen scampered seven times for 105 yards and two touchdowns for the No. 3 (Class 2A) Panthers against Triton.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Pioneer, 36-0, on September 28, 2018.

CHALK TALK: "For us to have any success with Pioneer, it starts with being able to tackle the Lewellen twins (Addai and Ezra) and limiting their big play potential. They are both very fast and run very physical, so we really need to do a good job of getting to them and tackling well. We also can't let them have the ball all night, so our offense needs to at the very least use some clock and limit their possessions and hopefully get score some points in the process." – Knox's John Hendryx.

"Knox is one of the most physical teams we play year in and out and we always have a great game plan against us. Our offense is going to have to recognize what defense they are in and execute our game plan. They run a lot of different formations and it will be important for us to line up correctly. Overall, it is going to come down to securing the ball and being able to match their physicality." – Pioneer's Adam Berry.


KICKOFF: 7 p.m. CDT, Viking Field.

COACHES: Brad Seiss, 26-24 in fifth season at Merrillville, 39-41 in eighth season overall. Bill Marshall, 16-4 in second season at Valparaiso.

LAST CONTEST: Merrillville beat LaPorte, 21-0. Valparaiso beat Crown Point, 31-14.

TOP PERFORMERS: Aahric Whitehead was 12-of-17 for 162 yards for the No. 6 (Class 6A) Pirates against LaPorte. Tommy Burbee tallied 27 rushes for 127 yards and a score for the No. 2 (Class 5A0 Vikings against Crown Point.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Valparaiso, 20-6, on September 28, 2018.

CHALK TALK: "We need to limit penalties and cannot have turnovers. We have to maintain our presence up front on both sides of the ball. Valpo has very good offensive and defensive lines, so we have to protect the ball and be able to establish a running game. Defensively, we have to get them behind the sticks by slowing their running game on third down. We have to cash in on big plays when we have our chances. Valpo has a great defense, so when we get opportunities in space, we have to take advantage of them" – Merrillville's Brad Seiss.

"In order for us to have success this week, we are going to have to establish the running game offensively. Once they load the box, we are going to have to win on the outsides. Defensively, we have to keep 11 offensive players in front of us. Merrillville has the capability of getting behind opponents in the secondary, so in all, sure blocking and tackling are key. On special teams, we are going to need to direction kick and punt in order to keep the ball out of the hands of their play makers." – Valparaiso's Bill Marshall.


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

COACHES: John Hochstetler, 60-29 in eighth season at Monroe Central, 147-112 in 23rd season overall. Doug Armstrong, 8-8 in second season at Eastern Hancock, 105-87 in 18th season overall.

LAST CONTEST: Monroe Central beat Wes-Del, 41-12. Eastern Hancock beat South Decatur, 48-12.

TOP PERFORMERS: Sam Feola came up eight catches for 139 yards for the No. 9 (Class 1A) Golden Bears against Wes-Del. Victor Olivo finished with five rushes for 92 yards with a touchdown for the Royals against South Decatur.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Monroe Central, 30-16, on September 28, 2018.

CHALK TALK: "The Eastern Hancock program is on the rise. They are explosive defensively, well-coached., and have very good special teams. Being on the road at their place will be a big challenge for us." – Monroe Central's John Hochstetler.

"We must stop Monroe's running attack because they are big with good runners. Their quarterback (Jackson Ullom) has to be contained as he has the ability to make plays, so it will be a fight for us on defense. Offensively, we need to continue to throw and catch the ball and take what they give us. Lastly, the important stat for every game is to win the turnover battle, win the field position battle, and stay away from costly penalties." – Eastern Hancock's Doug Armstrong.


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

COACHES: Brian Moore, 14-3 in second season at Parke Heritage, 201-46 in 22nd season overall. Brian Crabtree, 82-14 in eighth season at North Vermillion, 117-53 in 15th season overall.

LAST CONTEST: Parke Heritage beat South Vermillion, 46-27. North Vermillion beat Attica, 21-14.

TOP PERFORMERS: Noble Johnson registered 12 catches for 162 yards with three scores for the No. 3 (Class 1A) Wolves against South Vermillion. Lucas Cook returned an interception back 10 yards for a score for the No. 7 (Class 1A) Falcons against Attica.

PREVIOUS MEETING: North Vermillion, 36-27, on September 28, 2018.

CHALK TALK: "North Vermillion has been one of the top two teams in our league the past seven or eight years. Their coaching staff and players have done a great job in becoming a perennial power. They have established a program that knows how to win. They are very well-coached and don't beat themselves. We have to match their physicality and their efficiency. Their quarterback and running backs are very good runners and (Quarterback) Brennan Ellis is a very good passer as well. Defensively, we cannot make mistakes in our run fits or in our coverage or we will pay dearly. Offensively, we have to be ourselves. We have to be able to establish the run game and throw on time in our pass game." – Parke Heritage's Brian Moore.

"To beat Parke Heritage, we will have to limit their big play capabilities and force them to drive the ball with smaller gains. Offensively, we will need to control possession with longer drives to keep the ball out of their hands. We must win the turnover battle." – North Vermillion's Brian Crabtree.


KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. EDT, Amzie Miller Field.

COACHES: Cory Yeoman, 177-38 in 17th season at Penn. Russ Radtke, 73-18 in eighth season at New Prairie, 363-138 in 43rd season overall.

LAST CONTEST: Penn beat South Bend Saint Joseph, 34-2. New Prairie beat South Bend Adams, 55-14.

TOP PERFORMERS: Kyle Riffel ran 14 times for 101 yards and three scores for the Kingsmen against Saint Joseph. Wyatt Kmiecik carried the ball three times for 40 yards and caught two passes for 49 yards with a touchdown for the top-ranked (Class 4A0 Cougars against Adams.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Penn, 35-7, on September 28, 2018.

CHALK TALK: "Defensively, we have to be able to get off blocks, have good team pursuit, and tackle well. Offensively, we must try find a way to get first downs and score some points against a great defense. On special teams', we must protect and cover well." – Penn's Cory Yeoman.

"The Cougars are excited to be welcoming the Penn Kingsmen, to Amzie Miller Field for the first time. Without question, we know we are up against our biggest challenge of the season. Coach Yeoman and his staff do an outstanding job at preparing his teams and he will have them ready Friday night. What stands out for us is the quality of opponents they play. Their kids know what it is like playing in big games. Offensively, for us to have success, we must win the war on the line. Having a slight size advantage, we hope to be able to get movement, but Penn's defensive line is fast and will not allow you to move them easily. Our backfield must be able to get us into the right plays. When opportunities arise to pass the ball, we must catch it. Defensively, we must be disciplined. Penn is very capable of mixing up a good balance of run and pass. We were pleased with our secondary's performance last week and hopefully that continues to improve. We must also tackle well and can't afford to allow them long drives. On special teams, it has been a big point of emphasis that we cannot give up the big plays." – New Prairie assistant head coach Bill Gumm.


KICKOFF: 7 p.m. CDT, Patriot Field.

COACHES: Scott Buening, 64-19 in seventh season at Southridge, 76-47 in 11th season overall. Todd Wilkerson, 55-26 in eighth season at Heritage Hills.

LAST CONTEST: Southridge beat Tell City, 41-13. Heritage Hills beat Gibson Southern, 49-14.

TOP PERFORMERS: Carson Niehaus went 5-of-9 for 90 yards with a touchdown for the No. 7 (Class 3A) Raiders against Tell City. Phoenix Rodgers rumbled 20 times for 133 yards and three scores for the No. 3 (Class 3A) Patriots against No. 9 (Class 3A) Gibson Southern.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Heritage Hills, 24-17, on September 28, 2018.

CHALK TALK: "Heritage Hills has a veteran team with few if any holes. They return a majority of their team and start 20 seniors. The combination of their size and strength on their offensive and defensive lines and the speed and athletic abilities of their skill players make them one of the better Class 3A teams in Indiana. In order to compete with the Patriots, you have to be able to slow down their fullback (Jacob) Wetzel, who is a tough, hard-nosed runner and quarterback (Cole) Sigler, who can score from anywhere on the field. Their option attack puts a lot of pressure on a defense, so we have to play mistake-free football. You also have to figure out a way to score against them defensively which has traditionally been a challenge for us when facing Heritage Hills." – Southridge's Scott Buening.

"The Raiders are well-coached and their players know how to win. To have success, we will need to play great in the trenches. On defense, we cannot allow them to put together long drives. Offensively, we must adjust to the different defensive looks they will give us and find a way to establish our running game. We are looking forward to another huge game in the Jungle on Friday night." – heritage Hills' Todd Wilkerson.


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

COACHES: Shane Fry, 73-13 in seventh season at West Lafayette. Jeff Phillips, 21-19 in fourth season at Cass, 67-53 in 12th season overall.

LAST CONTEST: West Lafayette beat Benton Central, 73-7. Cass beat Western, 49-20.

TOP PERFORMERS: Spencer Blankman rambled four times for 69 yards with two scores for the No. 1 (Class 3A) Red Devils against Benton Central. Caden Zeck scampered 12 times for 118 yards and two touchdowns for the top-ranked (Class 2A) Kings against Western.

PREVIOUS MEETING: West Lafayette, 57-7, on September 28, 2018.

CHALK TALK: "Lewis Cass has an outstanding football team and we will have our hands full this week. As always, we need to win the turnover battle. We cannot afford to turn the ball over against this team. Offensively, we have to get their linebackers blocked. Their two inside backers are as good of players as we have seen this season. Defensively, we have to be able to contain their playmakers. They run two completely different offenses and do a good job of attacking defenses on the ground and with the pass game." – West Lafayette's Shane Fry.

"West Lafayette has an explosive offense, so in order to be successful Friday night, we will need to be able to prevent long touchdown runs and passes. We will need to be able to defend the entire field because they are a threat both running and throwing the football. Offensively, we need to control the clock and continue to put points on the board. Turnovers and field position will be key factors as well." – Lewis Cass's Jeff Phillips.

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