THE INDIANA FOOTBALL DIGEST'S 2014 TOP GAMES WEEK FOUR
BY PAUL CONDRY AND MATT KOPSEA
ALEXANDRIA (3-0) AT OAK HILL (2-1)
GAME TIME: 7 pm ET, Oak Hill Field.
COACHES: Pete Gast, 21-34 in 6th year at Alexandria, 36-69 in 11th year overall. Bud Ozmun, 99-64 in 16th year at Oak Hill.
LAST OUTING: Alexandria beat Mississinewa, 15-14. Oak Hill beat Frankton, 42-12.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Alexandria 2-7, Oak Hill 4-5.
SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: Oak Hill, 10-1.
LAST MEETING: Oak Hill, 35-14, Nov. 8, 2013, sectional.
COACHES COMMENTS: "To win at Oak Hill Friday, we have to continue to play solid defense. In our first three games, we have played several stretches of tough defense. In our Mississinewa game last weekend, we came out on the winning side of a very physical ballgame. I feel that we are ready to compete in another physical game. Oak Hill is big and strong, so we will have to be ready for a physical night." – Alexandria coach Pete Gast.
"For us to win, we have to keep their passing game under control and not get beat by the big play. Alexandria has one of the best passers in our area in Blaize Kelly, along with several capable receivers. We cannot allow their receivers to run free or let Kelly get comfortable in the pocket. Offensively, we need to control the ball and clock, plus capitalize on every drive by putting points on the board." – Oak Hill coach Bud Ozmun.
AVON (2-1) AT BROWNSBURG (2-1)
GAME TIME: 7 pm ET, Roard Stadium.
COACHES: Mark Bless, 34-16 in 5th year at Avon, 183-83 in 25th year overall. Brett Comer, 51-38 in 9th year at Brownsburg.
LAST OUTING: Avon beat Hamilton Southeastern, 31-10. Brownsburg beat Franklin, 34-27.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Avon 5-4, Brownsburg 4-5.
SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: Avon, 17-14.
LAST MEETING: Avon, 41-13, Sep. 20, 2013.
COACHES COMMENTS: "To win this game, we will need to remain mentally focused on the task at hand and not get caught up in the hype of a rivalry game. We must continue to execute our game plan offensive and protect the ball. On defense, we will need to make good sound tackles and look to create turnovers. Special teams cannot get faked out by any trick plays and we must be able solidify field position." – Avon coach Mark Bless.
"We need to play a 'clean game' by avoiding turnovers and penalties while taking advantage of any Avon turnovers. We will have to attempt to stay within ourselves on offense by running the ball, knowing we will have to throw it to beat them. Defensively, we must tackle well and prevent the big play." – Brownsburg coach Brett Comer.
CARROLL (FORT WAYNE) (3-0) AT NEW HAVEN (3-0)
GAME TIME: 7 pm ET, John Young Field.
COACHES: Doug Dinan, 35-16 in 5th year at Carroll (Fort Wayne). Jim Rowland, 83-69 in 14th year at New Haven.
LAST OUTING: Carroll (Fort Wayne) beat Norwell, 22-19. New Haven beat DeKalb, 20-13.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Carroll (Fort Wayne) 2-7, New Haven 5-4.
SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: Carroll (Fort Wayne), 16-10.
LAST MEETING: New Haven, 41-35, Sep. 13, 2013.
COACHES COMMENTS: "New Haven continually is a very good football team that has great balance offensively with the pass and the run. Defensively, they show multiple fronts and are a very well coached football team. In the second half of the Norwell game, the entire team showed more resolve, determination, and physicality than we had seen all year. Consequently, we were able to control the line of scrimmage on each side of the ball, run the football with success, and set up the pass game to compliment the run. If we continue with this physical play, control the line of scrimmage, and win the turnover battle, we will give ourselves an opportunity to be successful." – Carroll coach Doug Dinan.
CENTER GROVE (1-2) AT BEN DAVIS (3-0)
GAME TIME: 7 pm ET, Giants Stadium.
COACHES: Eric Moore, 139-52 in 16th year at Center Grove, 188-58 in 20th year overall. Mike Kirschner, 57-25 in 8th year at Ben Davis, 71-51 in 12th year overall.
LAST OUTING: Center Grove lost to Carmel, 21-14. Ben Davis beat Pike, 53-50.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Center Grove 7-2, Ben Davis 4-4.
SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: Ben Davis, 11-8.
LAST MEETING: Ben Davis, 37-20, Oct. 4, 2013.
COACHES COMMENTS: "This Friday, the Trojans will play third top-five team in the state in four weeks. To say the Trojans have not been tested is crazy. It's still hard to determine what the Trojans can do this year because of the intense schedule. Even though we are 1-2, we have competed and could easily be 3-0!! So with that, the young Trojans have great confidence and are not scared of playing any team. That being said, I truly believe the Ben Davis Giants are the best team in any class of football in Indiana and one of the very best in the nation!! With Ben Davis' great size and speed, they can nullify anything positive that you can do. The Trojans will have to figure out a way to make the big play and special teams' is where it must happen. First downs and third down conversions will be huge for both the Center Grove offense and defense. The offense must stay on the field and the defense must get off the field on third down. When games like these are over and it's close, you can usually look at the third down conversions and it will lead you to the lack of success. Limiting Ben Davis' big play offense and controlling the ball on offense will be keys. If Center Grove plans to be around by half, our Wing-T must control that clock or it could end up into a track meet." – Center Grove coach Eric Moore.
"Center Grove presents problems with their Wing-T offense. It is the first time our defense has seen this set this fall, so we will have to be very focused on our read keys to slow them down. Their defense is very big and physical, so we are going to have to find a way to get players in space in order to move the ball." – Ben Davis coach Mike Kirschner.
EVANSVILLE CENTRAL (2-0) AT EVANSVILLE REITZ (3-0)
GAME TIME: 7 pm CT, Reitz Bowl.
COACHES: Andy Owen, 50-30 in 8th year at Evansville Central. Andy Hape, 11-4 in 2nd year at Evansville Reitz.
LAST OUTING: Evansville Central beat Evansville Bosse, 41-20. Evansville Reitz beat Castle, 35-14.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Evansville Central 2-4, Evansville Reitz 1-2.
SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: Evansville Reitz, 25-11.
LAST MEETING: Evansville Reitz, 48-28, Sep. 13, 2013.
COACHES COMMENTS: "The Bears will have to play a great game to beat Reitz at the (Reitz) bowl. We will need to take better care of the football then we did last week in our win. We must know where (running back Malik) Higgins is at all times. Our players filling in for some injuries must play with confidence. We need to try and win the special teams battle and compete every single play at every position. I am excited about the opportunity to take this Central football team to the bowl." – Evansville Central coach Andy Owen.
INDIANAPOLIS CATHEDRAL (0-2) AT INDIANAPOLIS BISHOP CHATARD (3-0)
GAME TIME: 7 pm ET, Lawrence Central H.S.
COACHES: Rick Streiff, 190-59 in 20th year at Indianapolis Cathedral, 211-91 in 25th year overall. Vince Lorenzano, 135-27 in 12th year at Indianapolis Bishop Chatard, 195-96 in 24th year overall.
LAST OUTING: Indianapolis Cathedral lost to Warren Central, 20-17. Indianapolis Bishop Chatard beat Indianapolis Roncalli, 20-7.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Indianapolis Cathedral 6-0, Indianapolis Bishop Chatard 3-6.
SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: Indianapolis Cathedral, 17-11.
LAST MEETING: Indianapolis Cathedral, 37-35, Sep. 13, 2013.
COACHES COMMENTS: "We must play physical against a typical physical Chatard team. They have great size, so we must use our speed to our advantage. We cannot let them run the ball and must control their run game. We must be able to pass with success as well." Cathedral coach Rick Streiff.
"Offensively, we must improve fundamentally with our blocking and execution. We must take care of the football in all phases. We must hit them where they least expect it. Defensively, we must improve our tackling. We must avoid dumb penalties. We must continue to force second (down) and long and third and long situations. We must allow no big plays. On specialty teams, we must continue to develop great field position, allow no big plays, and create turnovers. They are a much improved defense from last year." – Bishop Chatard coach Vince Lorenzano.
LAFAYETTE CENTRAL CATHOLIC (2-1) AT CULVER ACADEMY (3-0)
GAME TIME: 7:30 pm ET, Oliver Field.
COACHES: Kevin O'Shea, 79-6 in 7th year at Lafayette Central Catholic, 179-69 in 22nd year overall. Andy Dorrel, 94-81 in 17th year at Culver Academy.
LAST OUTING: Lafayette Central Catholic beat Twin Lakes, 59-6. Culver Academy beat Buchanan (Mich.), 37-30.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Lafayette Central Catholic 4-5, Culver Academy 1-5.
SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: Lafayette Central Catholic, 9-8.
LAST MEETING: Culver Academy, 14-7, Sep. 13, 2013.
COACHES COMMENTS: "To defeat Culver Academy, we will need to perform at a consistently high level. They are very disciplined, so we cannot makes mistakes and we must contain their speed." – LCC coach Kevin O'Shea.
"Over the years, we have developed an intense rivalry with Lafayette Central Catholic built on mutual respect and determination. We have tremendous admiration for the way they play football as their young men are well coached, aggressive, and exude sportsmanship. Unfortunately, our long standing series will be ending this year as conference realignment and schedule conflicts are preventing us from continuing our matchup. With that being said, Coach O'Shea and his staff have the Knights playing at a high level once again. They are extremely aggressive on defense and their offense has proven it can score points. In order for CMA to be successful on Friday, we must dictate the battle on the line of scrimmage. We have been extremely pleased with the development of our offensive and defensive line, so if we continue to execute upfront, it will give our playmakers a chance to showcase their skills. We must take advantage of our scoring opportunities and capitalize on any turnovers our defense creates. We have struggled in the red zone this year and must improve our efficiency and not allow ourselves to squander scoring opportunities. On defense, our inside linebackers have proven to be solid, so if we can get our secondary and outside linebackers to continue to develop, we believe our defense will be formidable. Finally, we must take advantage of some special team opportunities as every possession will be critical in gaining field position advantages. Finally, we are looking forward to the challenge LCC will provide this week, but we must keep the focus on us and our continued improvement as a team. This is only week four of the season, so it is imperative that we emphasize what we need to do to become a better team and not worry so much about beating LCC." – Culver Academy coach Andy Dorrel.
LAKE CENTRAL (2-1) AT CROWN POINT (3-0)
GAME TIME: 7 pm CT, Bulldog Turf.
COACHES: Brett St. Germain, 29-17 in 5th year at Lake Central, 79-29 in 10th year overall. Kevin Enright, 17-8 in 3rd year at Crown Point.
LAST OUTING: Lake Central beat Portage, 14-6. Crown Point beat Merrillville, 21-20, overtime.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Lake Central 4-5, Crown Point 3-6.
SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: Crown Point, 19-15.
LAST MEETING: Lake Central, 9-6, Oct. 25, 2013, sectional.
COACHES COMMENTS: "Crown Point is off to a great start and finding ways to win in dramatic fashion. We will have to play our best to come out with a win." – Lake Central coach Brett St. Germain.
"We will need to play at an extremely high level and continue to eliminate the mistakes we have committed in our previous games. Lake Central is the defending (Class 6A) Sectional 1 champion and a formidable test for us. They are where we want to be." – Crown Point coach Kevin Enright.
MUNSTER (3-0) AT ANDREAN (3-0)
GAME TIME: 7 pm CT, Father Eckert Field.
COACHES: Leroy Marsh, 209-146 in 36th year at Munster. Phil Mason, 62-19 in 7th year at Andrean, 95-56 in 14th year overall.
LAST OUTING: Munster beat Highland, 34-20. Andrean beat Grand Rapids Catholic (Mich.), 28-0.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Munster 5-4, Andrean 1-5.
SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: Andrean, 15-4.
LAST MEETING: Andrean, 41-27, Sep. 13, 2013.
COACHES COMMENTS: "For us to win Friday we need to try and control (quarterback Jake) Paliga and (running back Trevor) Berg in the Andrean offense. They are both very good and can blow the game open at any time. We need to continue to control the ball and the clock when we are on offense as we have the first three games." – Munster coach Leroy Marsh.
"Munster and Andrean is a great rivalry game with no love lost. Munster has a solid running game and a great receiver in (Zach) Pickett and as always, they are very solid on defense. We have to play great defense and continue to improve upfront. We can't have the mistakes we had Saturday (against Grand Rapids Catholic) in the red zone. As always, it should be a great region matchup." – Andrean coach Phil Mason.
NEW PALESTINE (3-0) AT MOUNT VERNON (FORTVILLE) (2-1)
GAME TIME: 7:30 pm ET, Mount Vernon (Fortville) Field.
COACHES: Kyle Ralph, 16-1 in 2nd year at New Palestine. Doug Armstrong, 27-11 in 4th year at Mount Vernon (Fortville), 79-67 in 14th year overall.
LAST OUTING: New Palestine beat Yorktown, 48-13. Mount Vernon (Fortville) beat Greenfield-Central, 31-14.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: New Palestine 4-5, Mount Vernon (Fortville) 5-4.
SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: New Palestine, 21-14.
LAST MEETING: New Palestine, 33-0, Nov. 8, 2013, sectional.
COACHES COMMENTS: "To win this week, we have to do a tremendous job being physical on defense and stopping their versatile rushing attack. They have had some great success on the ground and multiple explosive plays. Offensively, we need to establish a strong running game and be able to physically control the line of scrimmage." – New Palestine coach Kyle Ralph.
"To win our game vs. New Palestine, we must prevent the big play. They have a great amount of athletes that can make a play for them. We must play kind of a bend, but don't break type deal. Offensively, they are tough to run on with the speed of their linebackers. Defense is what wins them games, so it will have to be a low-scoring affair for us to win." – Mt. Vernon coach Doug Armstrong.
NORTH CENTRAL (FARMERSBURG) (2-1) AT NORTH VERMILLION (3-0)
GAME TIME: 7 pm ET, Gibson Field.
COACHES: Travis Nolting, 26-9 in 4th year at North Central (Farmersburg). Brian Crabtree, 25-2 in 3rd year at North Vermillion, 60-41 in 10th year overall.
LAST OUTING: North Central (Farmersburg) beat Turkey Run, 46-7. North Vermillion beat Covington, 59-0.
VS. COMMON FOES: North Central (Farmersburg) 1-0. North Vermillion 1-0.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: North Central (Farmersburg) 2-4, North Vermillion 1-8.
SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: North Vermillion, 27-7.
LAST MEETING: North Vermillion, 37-7, Sep. 13, 2013.
COACHES COMMENTS: "In order to beat North Vermillion on Friday night, we must play disciplined in each phase of the game. Defensively, we need to slow the running attack of Jacob Earl. Offensively, we must finish blocks and run with authority. We must win the special teams battle as well." – North Central coach Travis Nolting.
PIKE (2-1) AT CARMEL (3-0)
GAME TIME: 7 pm ET, Greyhound Stadium.
COACHES: Derek Moyers, 62-25 in 8th year at Pike, 96-55 in 14th year overall. Kevin Wright, 44-9 in 5th year at Carmel, 178-63 in 21st year overall.
LAST OUTING: Pike lost to Ben Davis, 53-50. Carmel beat Center Grove, 21-14.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Pike 7-2, Carmel 2-4.
SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: Carmel, 4-0.
LAST MEETING: Carmel, 40-32, Oct. 11, 2013.
COACHES COMMENTS: "In order to beat Carmel, we must be disciplined in our assignments and be fundamentally and technically sound in our schemes. Offensively, we must be patient and take what their defense gives us. Defensively, we have to be great tacklers and be gap sound in our assignments." – Pike coach Derek Moyers.
PLYMOUTH (3-0) AT NORTHRIDGE (3-0)
GAME TIME: 7:30 pm ET, Northridge Field.
COACHES: John Barron, 80-33 in 11th year at Plymouth. Tom Wogoman, 10-3 in 2nd year at Northridge, 35-40 in 8th year overall.
LAST OUTING: Plymouth beat Warsaw, 41-6. Northridge beat Wawasee, 55-0.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Plymouth 4-5, Northridge 4-5.
SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: Plymouth, 27-5.
LAST MEETING: Plymouth, 21-14, Sep. 13, 2013.
COACHES COMMENTS: "Northridge is one of the best teams in Class 4A this fall. They have one of the strongest, if not THE strongest senior classes I have seen from Northridge High School in the 23 years I have been associated in the Northern Lakes Conference. They have only given up seven points in three games! This is one of the premiere games in Indiana with two top 10 teams going at it. Coach Wogomon has done an incredible job coming over from Wawasee two seasons ago. His kids are very well-coached. This game will be won by the team that makes the least mistakes." – Plymouth coach John Barron.
RENSSELAER CENTRAL (3-0) AT TIPTON (2-1)
GAME TIME: 8 pm ET, Tipton Field.
COACHES: Chris Meeks, 122-64 in 16th year at Rensselaer Central. Aaron Tolle, 75-36 in 10th year at Tipton.
LAST OUTING: Rensselaer Central beat North Judson, 68-13. Tipton beat Benton Central, 24-13.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Rensselaer Central 4-5, Tipton 3-6.
SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: Tipton, 8-6.
LAST MEETING: Tipton, 27-0, Nov. 22, 2013, semistate.
COACHES COMMENTS: "Tipton has a solid ball club coming off their (Class 2A) state runner-up season. We will need to play solid defensively against their all-state candidate, Brody Dell. He is dangerous every time he touches the ball. Offensively, we need to control the line of scrimmage. After losing to them last year in the semistate, our kids are looking forward to this rematch." – Rensselaer coach Chris Meeks.
"The Blue Devils have a very tall task this Friday vs. Rensselaer. We must first stop Rensselaer's outstanding run game. We also must be able to consistently move the ball offensively. Thirdly, we must limit Rensselaer's big play ability and match their high motors and intensity." – Tipton coach Aaron Tolle.
PENN (3-0) AT FORT WAYNE SNIDER (3-0)
GAME TIME: 7 pm ET Saturday, Spuller Stadium.
COACHES: Cory Yeoman, 121-26 in 12th year at Penn. Kurt Tippmann, 54-15 in 6th year at Fort Wayne Snider.
LAST OUTING: Penn beat Elkhart Central, 57-21. Fort Wayne Snider beat Fort Wayne Northrop, 37-0.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Penn 3-6, Fort Wayne Snider 2-7.
SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: Tied, 7-7.
LAST MEETING: Penn, 38-0, Sep. 13, 2013.
COACHES COMMENTS: "It will be another great game in a long line of great games against Snider. They are a very athletic team that plays hard and is always in the right position. They are a very well coached team. On defense, we need to limit big plays. On offense, we must find a way to move the sticks. On special teams, we must take another step forward." – Penn coach Cory Yeoman.
"We have looked forward to this week for the past four years. It is a huge benefit for us to play Penn and measure ourselves with one of the great programs in the state of Indiana. We will find out what we do well and what we are deficient in on Saturday night. Penn is extremely well-coached and presents multiple challenges for our team. We believe that our success in a season depends on our ability to fundamentally execute our offense, defense, and special teams. Our performance vs. Penn is always a measuring stick along the way of where we are in terms of our goals. For us to win, we have to block their big guys up front and get a hat on No. 4, their inside linebacker (Kyle Treber). He is a player. We have to be balanced on offense by running and throwing the football. On defense, we have to play well on our defensive line and not get mauled. We are not big, but are quick. We have to use our quickness against their zone schemes to defend our gaps and play sound defense. We have to tackle well and run to the football. In any year that we are successful vs. Penn, we have had to make plays on special teams. We also have to win field position or make a momentum changing play on special teams." – Snider coach Kurt Tippmann.