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The Indiana Football Digest's Top Games - 2017 Sectional Semifinals

By Paul Condry and Matt Kopsea





KICKOFF: 6:30 p.m. CDT, Viking Field.

COACHES: Cory Yeoman, 162-31 in 15th season at Penn. Bill Marshall (interim), 0-0 in first season at Valparaiso.

LAST CONTEST: Penn beat Mishawaka, 48-7. Valparaiso beat Lake Central, 42-8.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Valparaiso, 12-7, on August 18, 2017.

UP NEXT: Penn hosts Warsaw (5-4) or Chesterton (4-5) in sectional final. Valparaiso travels to Chesterton or entertains Warsaw.

DID YOU KNOW: Penn has never lost to Valparaiso twice in one season. Valparaiso has limited six opponents to seven or fewer points.

COACH TALK: "On offense, we must try find a way to get first downs and score some points against a great defense. On the defensive side, we have to be able to pursuit and tackle well." – Penn's Cory Yeoman.

"Penn is a great team with a great coaching staff. With that in mind, we need to be solid in all three phases and aspects of the game. Defensively, we need to keep swarming to the football and creating plays with our senior-laden starting group as we have all year. Offensively. we need to sustain drives and limit penalties. On the special team's side of the game, we need to flip the field as often as we can with the kicking and punting game as well as capitalize on all extra-points and field goal attempts when in range." – Valparaiso's Bill Marshall.


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

COACHES: Chad Zolman, 118-36 in 14th season at Homestead. Kurt Tippmann, 95-20 in ninth season at Fort Wayne Snider.

LAST CONTEST: Homestead beat Fort Wayne South, 49-27. Fort Wayne Snider beat Fort Wayne Bishop Luers, 48-7.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Fort Wayne Snider, 52-31, on September 16, 2017 (Lucas Oil Stadium).

UP NEXT: Homestead entertains Fort Wayne Northrop (2-7) or Carroll (Fort Wayne) (6-3) in sectional final. F.W. Snider goes to F.W. Northrop or hosts Carroll (F.W.).

DID YOU KNOW: Homestead has tallied 35 or more points eight times. F.W. Snider has won 26 straight sectional contests.

COACH TALK: "Defensively, we will need to control the run game and keep the ball in front of us in the pass game. Offensively, we must be efficient with a focus on ball security this week. Our special teams also need to be sound in every phase." – Homestead's Chad Zolman.

"Homestead has an explosive and very productive offense. Everything runs through their very talented quarterback (Jiya) Wright. He is their leading rusher and passer. We have to have a defensive plan to combat all that he does. We have to be sound in coverage and sound in defensive gap assignments to defend their offense. Our guys have to play very well to hold their offense. Offensively, we have to continue to play physical and stay balanced with the run and pass. We have to limit the penalties and do an excellent job in special teams by winning the battle of field position. In our first game, turnovers were a big key.  We cannot turn the ball over and expect to be successful." – F.W. Snider's Kurt Tippmann.



KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Indianapolis Tech High School.

COACHES: Scott Marsh, 8-1 in first season at Indianapolis Roncalli, 35-56 in ninth season overall. Rick Streiff, 218-76 in 23rd season at Indianapolis Cathedral, 239-108 in 28th season overall.

LAST CONTEST: Indianapolis Roncalli beat Guerin Catholic, 24-14. Indianapolis Cathedral beat Center Grove, 21-14.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Indianapolis Cathedral, 34-7, on November 2, 2012 in Class 4A sectional final.

UP NEXT: Roncalli hosts Indianapolis Tech (3-6) or Decatur Central (9-1). Cathedral goes to Ind. Tech or entertains Decatur Central.

DID YOU KNOW: Roncalli is going after its fourth consecutive sectional title. Cathedral has not lost a sectional contest since dropping a 16-12 decision to Roncalli in the 2004 Class 4A finale.

COACH TALK: "We'll have to limit their big plays in the running game and run the ball effectively ourselves. As with any big game, neither team can afford to turn it over, so we'll have to take care of the football." – Roncalli's Scott Marsh. 

"In order to have success against Roncalli, we need to control the line of scrimmage, minimize penalties, and attack on special teams." – Cathedral's Rick Streiff.



KICKOFF: 6:30 p.m. CDT, Amzie Miller Field.

COACHES: Bart Curtis, 90-34 in 10th season at Mishawaka, 201-101 in 27th season overall. Russ Radtke, 58-13 in sixth season at New Prairie, 348-133 in 41st season overall.

LAST CONTEST: Mishawaka beat South Bend Clay, 71-0. New Prairie beat South Bend Washington, 56-0.


UP NEXT: Mishawaka entertains South Bend Saint Joseph (4-6) or travels to South Bend Riley (7-3) in sectional final. New Prairie goes to Riley or hosts Saint Joseph.

DID YOU KNOW: Bart Curtis registered an 84-38 record at New Prairie between 1997 and 2007. New Prairie has scored at least 42 points in its last nine games.

COACH TALK: "Nobody has stopped this team or even slowed them down, so we will have to ride the ebb and flow of this game and not get overwhelmed. The last time we had a challenge like this, it did not go well (48-7 loss to Penn). They are similar in many ways as our NIC North champion team (Penn) with a huge offensive line that is very physical and three great backs (quarterback Nick Wilson is the key). Defensively, they attack you and are ferocious, and play fast and hard. We must match the intensity and physicality of New Prairie or this will be a long miserable evening for the Cavemen and nobody wants that." – Mishawaka's Bart Curtis.

"To have success against a Bart Curtis coached team, you must be extremely disciplined. Coach and his staff do an outstanding job preparing their players, so we have no doubt that they will be ready. We must win the time of possession game. The Cavemen have the capabilities to put together long drives and come out with points in the end. We must play disciplined football and make sure not to have break downs with those assignments. Offensively, we need to take advantage of every possession we have. With the limited amount of times we may see the ball, you can't afford to have turnovers or be put in punting situations." – New Prairie's Russ Radtke.


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

COACHES: Andy Thomas, 24-16 in fourth season at Angola, 114-83 in 18th season overall. Nate Andrews, 35-13 in fourth season at NorthWood, 75-52 in 11th season overall.

LAST CONTEST: Angola beat Wawasee, 38-7. NorthWood beat DeKalb, 54-3.

PREVIOUS MEETING: NorthWood, 48-6, on October 24, 2014 in Class 4A sectional opener.

UP NEXT: Angola travels to Culver Academy (9-1) or East Noble (8-2) for sectional final. NorthWood plays at Culver Academy or East Noble.

DID YOU KNOW: Andy Thomas is a 1989 graduate of Mishawaka High School. NorthWood is riding the wave of a 15-home game winning streak.

COACH TALK: "We have to match NorthWood's speed and intensity from the opening kickoff. It will be a fourth-quarter game, so we have to take care of the ball and absolutely cannot give up big plays." – Angola's Andy Thomas.

"It will take a valiant effort in all phases of the game. Offensively, we must run the ball successfully on first down. Defensively, we cannot allow them to convert on third down. In the kicking game, we must be very sound and opportunistic. As always, we must be very physical and play with an unwavering 'sudden change' approach." – NorthWood's Nate Andrews.


KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, East Noble Field.

COACHES: Andy Dorrel, 118-99 in 20th season at Culver Academy. Luke Amstutz, 47-17 in sixth season at East Noble, 73-32 in 10th season overall.

LAST CONTEST: Culver Academy beat Northridge, 35-12. East Noble beat Plymouth, 14-13.


UP NEXT: Culver Academy hosts Angola (10-0) or NorthWood (7-3) in sectional final. East Noble entertains Angola or NorthWood.

DID YOU KNOW: Culver Academy is allowing just 9.8 points per contest. Prior to coming to East Noble in 2012, Luke Amstutz was at Angola from 2008 to 2011.

COACH TALK: "What an opportunity for two even matched teams to face off in the sectional semifinals.  East Noble features an extremely impressive passing attack and a number of athletes that are game breakers, particularly No. 12, quarterback Andrew McCormick. In order for CMA to be successful, we must control the football and minimize their offensive touches. Additionally, our secondary will be tested and the only way we are going to be successful is if we can pressure No. 12 and force him to make mistakes. Like most playoff games, this one will be decided up front by the offensive and defensive lines. The team whose big boys play the best will emerge victorious and advance to the sectional championship." – Culver Academy's Andy Dorrel.

"We will be successful if we can limit mistakes and protect the passer. Culver is extremely aggressive defensively and we must play with confidence and care for the football." – East Noble's Luke Amstutz.


KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Bishop D'Arcy Stadium, (Saint Francis).

COACHES: Jim Rowland, 114-79 in 17th season at New Haven. Chris Svarczkopf, 146-48 in 15th season at Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger.

LAST CONTEST: New Haven beat Leo, 20-7. Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger beat Fort Wayne South, 41-7.

LAST MEETING: New Haven, 28-23, on November 4, 2016 in Class 4A sectional final.

UP NEXT: New Haven entertains Fort Wayne Wayne (4-6) or Jay County (4-6) in sectional final. Bishop Dwenger plays at Jay County or hosts F.W. Wayne.

DID YOU KNOW: New Haven has not experience a losing season since going 5-6 in 2009. Bishop Dwenger has been outscored 104-55 in its three losses (Carroll (Fort Wayne), Homestead, and Fort Wayne Snider),

COACH TALK: "Bishop Dwenger is tournament tested and extremely well-coached. Their schedule really prepares them for long tournament runs. We have to play great team defense and execute our game plan on offense. Special teams may be the difference in what looks like two evenly matched teams." – New Haven's Jim Rowland. 

"New Haven is a very talented team. Their defensive line will be the key to the game. If they can control the line of scrimmage, they will have the edge because we must run the ball to have a chance." – Bishop Dwenger's Chris Svarczkopf.


KICKOFF: 8 p.m. EDT, Alumni Stadium.

COACHES: Andy Owen, 76-44 in 11th season at Evansville Central. Tony Ahrens, 138-38 in 15th season at Jasper.

LAST CONTEST: Evansville Central beat Evansville Reitz, 34-6. Jasper beat Northview, 41-17.

LAST MEETING: Jasper, 35-20, on October 31, 2014 in Class 4A sectional semifinal.

UP NEXT: Evansville Central hosts Evansville Bosse (2-8) or Owen Valley (4-6) in sectional final. Jasper entertains Evansville Bosse or Owen Valley.

DID YOU KNOW: Evansville Central is looking to reach the sectional final for the first time since 2011. Jasper has captured eight of the last nine contests against Evansville Central.

COACH TALK: "Jasper is a great team, so we need to win the turnover battle, stop the run, and be excellent in the kicking game." – Evansville Central's Andy Owen.



KICKOFF: 6:30 p.m. CDT, Community Field.

COACHES: Reggie Glon, 162-102 in 24th season at Mishawaka Marian. John Hendryx, 24-10 in third season at Knox, 199-86 in 25th season overall.

LAST CONTEST: Mishawaka Marian beat John Glenn, 8-0. Knox beat Fairfield, 49-7.


UP NEXT: Marian entertains Jimtown (5-5) or Peru (5-5) in sectional final. Knox goes to Peru or Jimtown.

DID YOU KNOW: Marian has held six opponents to eight or fewer points. Knox is looking to reach the 10-win plateau for the first time.

COACH TALK: "Knox is a well-coached team that is on a mission. They play hard for 48 minutes, execute their offensive and defensive schemes well, and have some very nice looking athletes. For us to win, we will need our best week of practice of the season. We will need to match their focus and intensity for the entire game. Our defensive has done a great job of keeping us in games until our offense gets going. We will need to start strong on offense to win this game." – Marian's Reggie Glon.

"For us to have success Friday, we have to play a flawless game. Marian is very well-coached, very physical, and a great scheme on both sides of the ball. The size of their offensive and defensive lines is very concerning to us and our front guys are going to have to play very disciplined to compete. We aren't going to be able to have penalties and turnovers. To have any success, we can't do anything to hurt ourselves." – Knox's John Hendryx. 


KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. EDT, North Harrison Field.

COACHES: Evan Ulery, 12-8 in second season at Batesville. Mark Williamson, 38-25 in sixth season at North Harrison, 54-43 in ninth season overall.

LAST CONTEST: Batesville beat Charlestown, 38-22. North Harrison beat Corydon Central, 50-14.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Batesville, 49-20, on November 4, 2005 in Class 3A sectional final.

UP NEXT: Batesville hosts Lawrenceburg (9-1) or Greensburg (4-6) in sectional final. North Harrison entertains Lawrenceburg or Greensburg.

DID YOU KNOW: In their last three meetings, Batesville has outscored North Harrison, 111-32. North Harrison has never won a sectional title.

COACH TALK: "In order for us to defeat North Harrison, our defense will need to win the early downs and force them to use their passing game to beat us. They will look to limit possessions and control the football, so our defense will need to get off the field on third down as we struggled in the first round by allowing 10 successful conversions. Offensively, we will need to continue to play with a good balance with the run and pass as well as utilize our tempo to keep their defense on their heels. If we can limit turnovers and score when we get in the red zone, then we will be in position to get the victory." – Batesville's Evan Ulery.

"We must contain their quarterback's (Trey Heidlage) run game and eliminate the deep pass.  Offensively, we must control the ball and keep the chains moving." – North Harrison's Mark Williamson.


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

COACHES: Nick Hart, 66-8 in sixth season at Gibson Southern. Levi Salters, 9-1 in first season at Vincennes Lincoln.

LAST CONTEST: Gibson Southern beat Pike Central, 63-6. Vincennes Lincoln beat Mount Vernon (Posey), 60-28.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Gibson Southern, 64-20, on October 23, 2015 in Class 3A sectional opener.

UP NEXT: Gibson Southern entertains Evansville Memorial (9-1) or Washington (4-6) for sectional final. Vincennes plays at Evansville Memorial or Washington.

DID YOU KNOW: Gibson Southern has scored 55 or more points eight times. Vincennes is going for its first 10-win campaign since posting an 11-2 mark in 2003.

COACH TALK: "Vincennes Lincoln is a great football team. They love big plays on offense and we are going to have to try and find a way to limit their big plays. Their quarterback (Graham Toole) is extremely athletic and can score on every play. There is a reason that they are 9-1. They do a great job.  We have to go in and take care of the football and limit their big plays in order to be successful." – Gibson Southern's Nick Hart.

"To have success against Gibson Southern, we will have to play a very good game. They are very, very good upfront on both sides of the ball, and that will make it very hard to run the football and stop the run. We need to maximize our possessions and minimize the times we go three and out. We can't give them a short field at any time because with their offense they can score in a hurry. They run no huddle tempo and are very fast getting plays off, so we are going to have to communicate well and quickly on the defensive side of the ball. Turnovers are going to be very big in this game, so we cannot make turnovers if we expect to win this game. Another big key to the game will be if we can somewhat slow down their run game and keep them from getting big runs on the ground. They are going to get yards on the ground, but we can't allow them to gain seven to nine yards a carry on the ground. We are going to have to play on a very high level to have success Friday night. Gibson is one the top 3A programs in the state, and it will be a great challenge for our football team and measuring stick to see how we stack up with the best in the state. We are going to let it all hang out and we will see what happens Friday." – Vincennes' Levi Salters.



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

COACHES: Jeff Adamson, 252-83 in 29th season at Eastbrook. Chris Meeks, 153-76 in 19th season at Rensselaer Central.

LAST CONTEST: Eastbrook beat Eastern (Greentown), 56-7. Rensselaer Central beat Taylor, 66-0.


UP NEXT: Eastbrook hosts Delphi (5-5) or Lewis Cass (6-4). Rensselaer goes to Delphi or Lewis Cass.

DID YOU KNOW: Eastbrook is surrendering just 6.6 points per game. Chris Meeks is a 1984 Rensselaer graduate.

COACH TALK: "They are a very well-coached team on both sides of the ball and look very disciplined. Their offense makes it very difficult to find the ball. Overall, this will be the best team that we have played all year. Their schedule prepares them well for the tournament and they are used to going deep in the playoffs. We will need to be patient on offense because their defense is so sound. It should be a great game." – Eastbrook's Jeff Adamson.

"Eastbrook looks like a team on a mission. Coach Adamson and his staff have really put together a fine team. They are undefeated and have dominated Class 2A in scoring (56.7 points per game), defense (6.6 points per game), and scoring margin (50.1). They have several key players returning off their (Class 2A) state runner-up team. They have outstanding speed and athleticism across the board. For us to be successful, we need to play great defense and win the battle of field position. Offensively, we need to be able to run and pass effectively, and finish out our drives with points." – Rensselaer Central's Chris Meeks.


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

COACHES: Justin Pelley, 36-18 in fifth season at Western Boone. Aaron Tolle, 95-53 in 13th season at Tipton.

LAST CONTEST: Western Boone beat Cascade, 48-20. Tipton beat North Putnam, 49-7.

LAST MEETING: Western Boone, 41-7, on October 20, 2000 in Class 2A sectional opener.

UP NEXT: Western Boone goes to Cloverdale (5-5) or Park Tudor (3-6) for sectional final. Tipton travels to Cloverdale or Park Tudor.

DID YOU KNOW: Western Boone's last sectional title came in 2001. Tipton has scored 31 or more points on seven occasions.

COACH TALK: "Tipton is a very good football team and we will have to take care of the football on offense and avoid negative plays in order to have a chance to win on Friday night. Their team speed on defense is impressive and we will have to be ready to play. Tipton's offense is very dynamic and they will present multiple challenges for our defensive unit. Their quarterback (K.J. Roudebush) is very good in and out of the pocket, so our ability to contain him will have a lot to do with the outcome of the game." – Western Boone's Justin Pelley.

"Western Boone is an excellent team that prides themselves, especially on their defense. Defensively, they are very aggressive and like to blitz.  For us to be successful, we will need to nullify their blitzes and try to be balanced as far as run and pass. Western Boone also has a size advantage on us, thus we will have to play very fast and aggressive on defense. This game will more than likely be won by the team that plays the cleanest game with the fewest penalties and turnovers." – Tipton's Aaron Tolle. 


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

COACHES: Brian Oliver, 59-8 in fifth season at Linton-Stockton. Scott Buening, 43-15 in fifth season at Southridge, 55-43 in ninth season overall.

LAST CONTEST: Linton-Stockton beat North Posey, 36-35. Southridge beat South Spencer, 46-7.

LAST MEETING: Southridge, 17-16, on August 18, 2017.

UP NEXT: Linton-Stockton plays at Evansville Mater Dei (6-4) or Forest Park (4-6) in sectional final. Southridge goes to Mater Dei or Forest Park.

DID YOU KNOW: Linton-Stockton is going for its 20th straight sectional victory. Southridge has not experienced a losing campaign since posting a 5-6 record in 2005.

COACH TALK: "Southridge is very talented and well-coached team. In order for us to be successful, we will definitely have to play better upfront on both sides of the ball then we did week one. We will need to minimize mistakes and not give up any big plays." – Linton-Stockton's Brian Oliver.

"Linton is a well-coached, disciplined, and tough football team. They have a long tradition of tournament success and are playing their best football right now. We will have a battle up front as they have a strong and physical offensive and defensive line and they have skill players who can make plays even when defended well. We feel like they mirror us and we mirror them in many ways and we are looking forward to a very competitive and physical football game." – Southridge's Scott Buening.



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

COACHES: Michael Mosser, 66-38 in ninth season at Adams Central. Paul Sade, 38-16 in fifth season at Churubusco.

LAST CONTEST: Adams Central beat South Adams, 28-7. Churubusco beat Northfield, 31-15.

LAST MEETING: Churubusco, 50-6, on October 22, 2010 in Class 1A sectional opener.

UP NEXT: Adams Central hosts Southwood (9-1) or travels to Eastside (7-3) for sectional final. Churubusco plays at Southwood or Eastside.

DID YOU KNOW: Adams Central is going after its third straight sectional championship. Churubusco has held five opponents to nine or less points.

COACH TALK: "We have to not make mistakes and keep them from scoring. We turned the ball over three times last week against South Adams and cannot do that again. We are going to have to mix it up offensively between Drew Schultz and Logan Macklin as well run a balanced run and pass attack. Running back Jalen Hammond and quarterback Parker Bates are also key players for us this week as most teams tend to focus on Drew and Logan. Defensively, we must play physical and tough and not be fooled by their many formations and motion." – Adams Central's Michael Mosser.

"Adams Central is incredibly talented on both side of the ball. They won the ACAC (Allen County Athletic Conference) with a huge win over Woodlan two weeks ago. The ACAC is one of the best if not THE best small school football conferences in Northern Indiana. They have more size and more speed than we do all around. Defending them is going to be difficult because they have more than one weapon on the offensive side of the ball, namely Logan Macklin and Drew Schultz. They are also very aggressive on defense and have shown a variety of different fronts that we need to be prepared for. We need to be prepared to block an aggressive defense and take our opportunities as them come on offense, which may be few and far between. There is a reason Adams Central has won 19 sectional titles and a big part of that is that they are well-coached to play an aggressive style of old school football." – Churubusco's Paul Sade.

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