The Indiana Football Digest's Top Games – 2015 Sectionals Week One
BY PAUL CONDRY AND MATT KOPSEA
CLASS 6A SECTIONAL 2
CHESTERTON (7-2) AT VALPARAISO (7-2)
KICKOFF: 7 pm CT, Viking Field.
COACHES: Mark Peterson, 17-14 in third season at Chesterton, 52-43 in ninth season overall. Dave Coyle, 15-24 in fourth season at Valparaiso.
LAST WEEK: Chesterton beat Merrillville, 21-18. Valparaiso beat Lake Central, 36-31.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Chesterton 40-40, Valparaiso 38-42.
SERIES LAST 30 SEASONS: Valparaiso, 25-14.
LAST MEETING: Valparaiso, 14-7, Sep. 19, 2015.
UP NEXT: Winner plays LaPorte (6-3) or Penn (8-1) in sectional final.
COACHES COMMENTS: "This will be another classic game in the DAC (Duneland Athletic Conference). We will need to play flawless football in all three aspects of the game, special teams, defense, and offense." – Valparaiso coach Dave Coyle.
LAPORTE (6-3) AT PENN (8-1)
KICKOFF: 7:30 pm ET, TCU Freed Field.
COACHES: Dave Sharpe, 6-3 in first season at LaPorte, 18-13 in third season overall. Cory Yeoman, 138-28 in 13th season at Penn.
LAST WEEK: LaPorte beat Portage, 43-23. Penn beat Mishawaka, 41-34.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: LaPorte 38-42, Penn 31-32.
SERIES LAST 30 SEASONS: Penn, 5-1.
LAST MEETING: Penn, 33-18, Nov. 7, 2008, sectional.
UP NEXT: Winner meets Chesterton (7-2) or Valparaiso (7-2) in sectional final.
COACHES COMMENTS: "Penn has a combination of great talent and great coaching. Their guys play with great technique and they have high football IQ's. Penn will not beat themselves. They will be conservative and rely on their special teams and defense early. Our defense must clamp down in the red zone. Their offense is explosive, so we have to fight, scratch, and claw to keep them out of the end zone. If we can force field goal attempts instead of extra-point attempts, then we have a chance. Offensively, we have relied on our running game all year long. In our three losses, we found ourselves in a lot of second and eight and third and five situations. For our offense to click, we need to have second and six and third and two plays. We would love to keep our offensive line on the field as long as possible. The only two teams that had offensive success on Penn were Mishawaka and OLSM (Our Lady of St. Mary). Both relied on a very quick hitting running game and 'clock-chewing drives.' We hope to mimic those game plans. Overall, our kids have played a great schedule this year. However, this is the best team we've seen thus far. We must adjust to the speed and physicality of this game early." – LaPorte coach Dave Sharpe.
"We need to take care of the ball and get first downs on offense. We need to play fit and tackle well on defense. We need to be special on special teams." – Penn coach Cory Yeoman.
HAMILTON SOUTHEASTERN (8-1) AT FISHERS (6-3)
KICKOFF: 7 pm ET, Clarian Field.
COACHES: Scott May, 77-23 in ninth season at Hamilton Southeastern, 80-42 in 11th season overall. Rick Wimmer, 76-38 in 10th season at Fishers, 240-121 in 33rd season overall.
LAST WEEK: Hamilton Southeastern beat Brownsburg, 44-24. Fishers beat Zionsville, 35-14.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Hamilton Southeastern 35-37, Fishers 40-41.
SERIES LAST 30 SEASONS: Hamilton Southeastern, 8-6.
LAST MEETING: Hamilton Southeastern, 39-33, Sep. 11, 2015.
UP NEXT: Winner plays Noblesville (3-6) or Carmel (7-2) in sectional final.
COACHES COMMENTS: "Our key to winning this game is to play four quarters. Fishers is a good team and we have to beat them at their place. We have to take care of the ball on offense and our defense must take away the big plays." – Hamilton Southeastern coach Scott May.
"HSE (Hamilton Southeastern) is a great team that has played with tremendous confidence and resolve this season. Offensively, they have several weapons that can strike quickly. (Running back Aaron) Mattio, (quarterback Carter) Poiry, and (wide receiver Greg) Miller are certainly playmakers that can break a game open quickly. Defensively, we must play the run much better than we did in our previous meeting and not allow big plays in the passing game. We must also play four quarters. Offensively, we must protect the football and move the chains with a balanced attack. They have the best defensive lineman we have played against in Collin Miller and a defense that has played pretty well of late. Our offensive efficiency and productivity will need to be very good to come out on top." – Fishers coach Rick Wimmer.
CENTER GROVE (9-0) AT COLUMBUS NORTH (6-3)
KICKOFF: 7 pm ET, Max Andress Field.
COACHES: Eric Moore, 156-54 in 17th season at Center Grove, 204-59 in 21st season overall. Tim Bless, 104-76 in 16th season at Columbus North, 116-85 in 18th season overall.
LAST WEEK: Center Grove beat Indianapolis Cathedral, 7-0. Columbus North lost to Southport, 49-41.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Center Grove 40-41, Columbus North 40-41.
SERIES LAST 30 SEASONS: Center Grove, 11-3.
LAST MEETING: Center Grove, 54-7, Oct. 31, 2014, sectional.
UP NEXT: Winner plays Jeffersonville (5-4) or New Albany (4-5) in sectional final.
COACHES COMMENTS: "To beat Center Grove, our team must play with great focus on our assignments vs. their formations and then execute each individual role within the big picture. We must do this with great effort and physicality for 48 minutes." – Columbus North coach Tim Bless.
CLASS 4A SECTIONAL 18
NEW PRAIRIE (6-3) AT ANDREAN (6-3)
KICKOFF: 7 pm CT, Father Eckert Field.
COACHES: Russ Radtke, 40-8 in fourth season at New Prairie, 330-128 in 39th season overall. Phil Mason, 79-23 in eighth season at Andrean, 112-60 in 15th season overall.
LAST WEEK: New Prairie beat Jimtown, 43-14. Andrean lost to Lowell, 14-6.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: New Prairie 38-42, Andrean 41-40.
SERIES LAST 30 SEASONS: Andrean, 6-0.
LAST MEETING: Andrean, 30-19, Sep. 4, 2015.
UP NEXT: Winner meets South Bend Washington (6-3) or South Bend Clay (1-8) in sectional semifinal.
COACHES COMMENTS: "I believe we have come together well as a team since week three. To have success, we must do a much better job at matching Andrean's physicality. We need to get into the right plays and eliminate the turnovers. Defensively, we need to limit the big plays and force them to have to punt the ball. Our kids are excited for this game and it should be a great atmosphere." – New Prairie assistant coach Bill Gumm.
"We have to find a way to score and need to take pressure of our defense by getting them off the field. Our offense has to develop more consistency." – Andrean coach Phil Mason.
EAST NOBLE (8-1) AT NORTHWOOD (6-3)
KICKOFF: 7 pm ET, Andrews Field.
COACHES: Luke Amstutz, 31-11 in fourth season at East Noble, 57-26 in eighth season overall. Nate Andrews, 12-8 in third season at NorthWood, 52-47 in ninth season overall.
LAST WEEK: East Noble beat Bellmont, 28-7. NorthWood beat Plymouth, 33-30.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: East Noble 39-42, NorthWood 46-35.
SERIES LAST 30 SEASONS: East Noble, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: East Noble, 55-21, Oct. 25, 2013, sectional.
UP NEXT: Winner takes on Columbia City (2-7) or Northridge (6-3) in sectional semifinal.
COACHES COMMENTS: "To beat Northwood, we will have to match their intensity on defense and limit their big plays." – East Noble coach Luke Amstutz.
"It's simple. We have to get aligned correctly, stick to the game plan, and play harder than East Noble." – NorthWood coach Nate Andrews.
OWEN VALLEY (7-2) AT JASPER (8-1)
KICKOFF: 7 pm ET, Alumni Stadium.
COACHES: Duane Potts, 71-70 in 14th season at Owen Valley. Tony Ahrens, 123-30 in 13th season at Jasper.
LAST WEEK: Owen Valley lost to Northview, 28-14. Jasper beat Mount Vernon (Posey), 27-7.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Owen Valley 42-39, Jasper 42-38.
SERIES LAST 30 SEASONS: Jasper, 3-0.
LAST MEETING: Jasper, 50-8, Oct. 24, 2008, sectional.
UP NEXT: Winner meets Evansville Reitz (8-1) or Evansville Central (5-4) in sectional semifinal.
COACHES COMMENTS: "For Owen Valley to get a win against a very good Jasper team, we must be successful in several areas. First and foremost, we must win the line of scrimmage. Against a Jasper team that has a very good defense, we must stay on schedule offensively and put ourselves in good down and distance situations on both sides of the ball. Finally, we must win the battle of big plays." – Owen Valley coach Duane Potts.
CLASS 3A SECTIONAL 27
BELLMONT (7-2) AT MACONAQUAH (6-3)
KICKOFF: 7 pm ET, Maconaquah Field.
COACHES: Larry Getts, 28-26 in fifth season at Bellmont, 47-62 in 10th season overall. Mark Hartman, 27-42 in seventh season at Maconaquah, 28-61 in ninth season overall.
LAST WEEK: Bellmont lost to East Noble, 28-7. Maconaquah beat Manchester, 28-27.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Bellmont 40-41, Maconaquah 41-40.
SERIES LAST 30 SEASONS: No meetings.
UP NEXT: Winner takes on Norwell (1-8) or Fort Wayne Concordia (4-5) in sectional semifinal.
COACHES COMMENTS: "The key this week will be rebounding from the East Noble game, both mentally and physically. Playing on the road and taking a 90-minute trip will create some challenges that we will have to overcome vs. a very well-coached Maconaquah team. We are now on a one-game contract so it's find a way to win or go home." – Bellmont coach Larry Getts.
"To win this Friday, we will have to match the physicality of a very good Bellmont team. Up front, they are very big and have backs who are downhill runners. They run a very methodical offense that has put up some big numbers. Offensively, we will need to continue to put drives together and protect the ball." – Maconaquah coach Mark Hartman.
WEST LAFAYETTE (8-1) AT WESTERN BOONE (8-1)
KICKOFF: 7 pm ET, Western Boone Field.
COACHES: Shane Fry, 27-6 in third season at West Lafayette. Justin Pelley, 23-9 in third season at Western Boone.
LAST WEEK: West Lafayette lost to Lafayette Central Catholic, 38-20. Western Boone beat Lebanon, 31-25.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: West Lafayette 41-40, Western Boone 33-48.
SERIES LAST 30 SEASONS: West Lafayette, 4-2.
LAST MEETING: West Lafayette, 30-15, Oct. 28, 2011, sectional.
UP NEXT: Winner plays Hamilton Heights (6-3) or Crawfordsville (3-6) in sectional semifinal.
COACHES COMMENTS: "On defense, we need to be able to defend their talented wide receiver Kaleb McCloskey. We need to limit the big play and make it difficult for them to move the ball. Offensively, we need to take care of the football and get all of our skill guys involved in the game." – West Lafayette coach Shane Fry.
"West Lafayette presents multiple challenges. As always, turnovers will be a key in Friday's game. We must find a way to put pressure on their quarterback (Mikey Kidwell) and prevent the big play. On offense, we have to run the football and continue to spread the ball around to multiple receivers. We are excited and welcome the challenge to play the No.1 team in (Class) 3A on our home field." – Western Boone coach Justin Pelley.
NORTH HARRISON (9-0) AT SOUTHRIDGE (6-3)
KICKOFF: 7 pm ET, Raider Field.
COACHES: Mark Williamson, 20-21 in fourth season at North Harrison, 36-39 in seventh season overall. Scott Buening, 23-10 in third season at Southridge, 35-38 in seventh season overall.
LAST WEEK: North Harrison beat Paoli, 36-21. Southridge lost to Gibson Southern, 50-0.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: North Harrison 33-48, Southridge 42-39.
SERIES LAST 30 SEASONS: No meetings.
UP NEXT: Winner takes on Corydon Central (5-4) or Brown County (2-7) in sectional semifinal.
COACHES COMMENTS: "We have a big challenge traveling to Southridge for the opening game of the sectional. We must continue to play good mistake-free football to have a chance to advance in the tournament." – North Harrison coach Mark Williamson.
"For us to beat North Harrison, we are going to have to do a great job of matching their physical play. They are big and strong in the line positions and as well as the running back positions. No one has been able to limit their running game this season. For us to beat them, we will need to be able to find a way to do that." – Southridge coach Scott Buening.
HERITAGE HILLS (8-1) AT CHARLESTOWN (7-2)
KICKOFF: 8 pm ET, Dutch Reis Field.
COACHES: Todd Wilkerson, 27-16 in fourth season at Heritage Hills. Jason Hawkins, 67-22 in eighth season at Charlestown, 73-35 in 10th season overall.
LAST WEEK: Heritage Hills beat South Spencer, 41-13. Charlestown beat Eastern (Pekin), 54-15.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Heritage Hills 39-42, Charlestown 34-47.
SERIES LAST 30 SEASONS: Heritage Hills, 4-0.
LAST MEETING: Heritage Hills, 28-7, Nov. 14, 2014, regional.
UP NEXT: Winner meets Salem (3-6) or Brownstown Central (7-2) in sectional semifinal.
COACHES COMMENTS: "We will have to play great team defense to win Friday night. Charlestown has several explosive athletes, so it will take a solid defensive effort to contain their playmakers." – Heritage Hills coach Todd Wilkerson.
"We will have to stop the power run game out of bone and control the five-wide. They are very diverse in what they do and can do both very well. Kenton Crews is one of the best players in the state in my opinion and they give him the ball in a various different ways, so we will have to contain him if we have a chance to win. We have improved throughout the season and look forward to see where we stack up against a team of Heritage Hills' caliber." – Charlestown coach Jason Hawkins.
CLASS 2A SECTIONAL 34
WABASH (7-2) AT LEWIS CASS (6-3)
KICKOFF: 7 pm ET, Owens Field.
COACHES: Floyd McWhirt, 11-39 in fifth season at Wabash. Scott Mannering, 221-108 in 30th season at Lewis Cass.
LAST WEEK: Wabash beat Tippecanoe Valley, 13-6. Lewis Cass beat Western, 17-14.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Wabash 38-43, Lewis Cass 49-32.
SERIES LAST 30 SEASONS: Lewis Cass, 2-0.
LAST MEETING: Lewis Cass, 59-18, Oct. 20, 2006, sectional.
UP NEXT: Winner plays Manchester (2-7) or Winamac (7-2) in sectional semifinal.
COACHES COMMENTS: "Our defense has been a strong point for us this season, and they will have to come out and play an excellent game against a very tough Cass team. Coach Mannering does a great job getting his team better each week and preparing them for their opponents. The key this week will be the execution of the game plan and who controls the line of scrimmage for us." – Wabash coach Floyd McWhirt.
NORTHEASTERN (7-2) AT EASTERN HANCOCK (9-0)
KICKOFF: 7 pm ET, Ed Knarr Field.
COACHES: Mike Roeder, 96-108 in 19th season at Northeastern. Jim O'Hara, 19-3 in second season at Eastern Hancock, 106-51 in 14th season overall.
LAST WEEK: Northeastern beat Union City, 40-0. Eastern Hancock beat Lapel, 26-0.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Northeastern 40-41, Eastern Hancock 45-36.
SERIES LAST 30 SEASONS: Eastern Hancock, 6-2.
LAST MEETING: Eastern Hancock, 33-7, Aug. 21, 2015.
UP NEXT: Winner takes on Milan (4-5) or Indianapolis Howe (6-3) in sectional semifinal.
COACHES COMMENTS: "Northeastern is a tremendously well-coached team that plays very hard. They have good size and speed. This will be a very tough game for both teams. We have to play four quarters and give it everything we have to be successful." – Eastern Hancock coach Jim O'Hara.
CLASS 1A SECTIONAL 41
PIONEER (9-0) AT NORTH WHITE (8-1)
KICKOFF: 7 pm ET, Horton Field.
COACHES: Mike Johnson, 211-77 in 25th season at Pioneer. Jim Davis, 208-177 in 37th season at North White.
LAST WEEK: Pioneer beat North Judson, 56-0. North White lost to Tri-Central, 20-14.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Pioneer 38-43, North White 35-45.
SERIES LAST 30 SEASONS: North White, 19-18.
LAST MEETING: Pioneer, 63-14, Oct. 31, 2014, sectional.
UP NEXT: Winner plays South Central (5-4) or South Newton (7-2) in sectional semifinal.
COACHES COMMENTS: "They are a machine on offense and very opportunistic on defense. We need to be able to make some big plays offensively and create turnovers on defense to have a chance to win." - North White coach Jim Davis.
SHENANDOAH (7-2) AT TRI-CENTRAL (9-0)
KICKOFF: 7 pm ET, Tri-Central Field.
COACHES: Scott Widner, 73-19 in eighth season at Shenandoah, 73-29 in ninth season overall. George Gilbert, 52-26 in seventh season at Tri-Central, 213-162 in 35th season overall.
LAST WEEK: Shenandoah beat Monroe Central, 32-14. Tri-Central beat North White, 20-14.
OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Shenandoah 46-35, Tri-Central 38-43.
SERIES LAST 30 SEASONS: Shenandoah, 14-0.
LAST MEETING: Shenandoah, 32-6, Sep. 30, 2011.
UP NEXT: Winner plays Anderson Prep Academy (3-6) or Monroe Central (7-2) in sectional semifinal.
COACHES COMMENTS: "We must find a way to get their efficient offense off the field. They are outstanding at sustaining long drives and moving the chains. Offensively, I think we'll have to hit a couple of big ones in order to stay in the game." – Shenandoah coach Scott Widner.
'Shenandoah is an outstanding football team with size, skill, and speed. First, we must get healthy. We have several players beat up and hopefully we will have all players available on Friday night. Second, we must have solid special teams play to ensure a field position edge. Next, we need to keep our offense on the field and be happy with first downs. Lastly, Shenandoah has an explosive offense, so we must attack the Wing-T and play fundamentally position to situation. We have had a great season! This is our first undefeated regular season in school history and our third consecutive conference championship. We look forward to the challenges of facing Shenandoah and hope for a great game." – Tri-Central coach George Gilbert.