The Indiana Football Digest's Top Games 2017 Sectionals - Opening Round

By Paul Condry and Matt Kopsea

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(ALL GAMES ON FRIDAY)

CLASS 4A

NORTHRIDGE (9-0) AT CULVER ACADEMY (8-1)

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

COACHES: Tom Wogomon, 37-18 in fifth season at Northridge, 62-55 in 11th season overall. Andy Dorrel, 117-99 in 20th season at Culver Academy.

LAST CONTEST: Northridge beat Elkhart Memorial, 21-0. Culver Academy beat Bremen, 40-14.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Culver Academy, 48-29, on October 26, 1990 in Class 3A sectional semifinal.

UP NEXT: Northridge will host Plymouth (6-3) or travel to East Noble (7-2). Culver Academy will be on the road at Plymouth or East Noble.

DID YOU KNOW: Northridge just finished its first unbeaten regular season. Culver Academy has limited five opponents to seven or fewer points.

COACH TALK: "CMA is very well-coached, confident football team. They play with such great enthusiasm and excitement. Their quarterback (Michael) Bocker is so impressive with how he controls the game. Their defense is quick and aggressive. They like to create total havoc and confusion for the offensive line.  A big key for us is going to be how quickly (if at all) can we adjust to it.  It is going to be a tremendous challenge for us." – Northridge's Tom Wogomon.

"Culver Academy is playing outstanding football on both sides of the ball as our defense is holding opponents to less than 30 yards per game rushing and less than 100 yards passing. Additionally, they have allowed only five rushing touchdowns and seven passing touchdowns on the season. Defensively, we are led by senior defensive ends Conner Henderson and John Houston. Sophomore Deontae Craig is also thriving along the defensive line. Seniors Jake Rodgers, Carson Bellman and Brian Loudermilk patrol our secondary challenging opposing offenses to move the ball. Offensively, we have scored 40 or more points in the last four games as the play of quarterback Michael Bocker, running backs Carson Bellman, Brian Loudermilk, Tommy Polhamus, tight end Deontae Craig, and wide receiver Sam English is developing into a robust offensive attack. CMA is looking forward to facing one of the states' premier teams in Northridge. The Raiders are extremely well-coached and a sound ball club who simply do not make mistakes. We expect this game to be highly contested and will come down to field position and execution. The team who can sustain blocks, minimize mistakes, and take advantage of field position will emerge victorious. It's A Great Day to Be an Eagle!" – Culver Academy's Andy Dorrel.

EAST NOBLE (7-2) AT PLYMOUTH (6-3)

KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, The Rockpile.

COACHES: Luke Amstutz, 46-17 in sixth season at East Noble, 72-32 in 10th season overall. John Barron, 109-46 in 14th season at Plymouth.

LAST CONTEST: East Noble beat Bellmont, 65-14. Plymouth lost to NorthWood, 30-6.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Plymouth, 22-18, on August 18, 2017.

UP NEXT: Plymouth travels to Northridge (9-0) or hosts Culver Academy (8-1). East Noble entertains Northridge or Culver Academy.

DID YOU KNOW: East Noble posted a 40-22 win at Plymouth in last season's sectional semifinals. Plymouth has been outscored 59-6 in its three losses.

COACH TALK: "We will have success against Plymouth if we are able to play well against the option and limit our mistakes." – East Noble's Luke Amstutz.

"For us to have success, we need contain their (NCAA) Division 1 quarterback (Andrew McCormick). He is an outstanding athlete and a high-competitor. Their offense revolves around him. When they want yardage, he is keeping the ball in his hands when they aren't throwing it or he's not handing it off. What also has to happen is we need to get in a rhythm offensively. We've struggled down the stretch against some really good teams offensively." – Plymouth's John Barron.

LEO (7-2) AT NEW HAVEN (8-1)

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

COACHES: Jared Sauder, 101-32 in 12th season at Leo. Jim Rowland, 113-79 in 17th season at New Haven.

LAST CONTEST: Leo beat DeKalb, 35-12. New Haven beat Huntington North, 41-20.

LAST MEETING: New Haven, 35-33, on September 8, 2017.

UP NEXT: Leo plays at Fort Wayne South (1-8) or hosts Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger (6-3). New Haven travels to Fort Wayne South or Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger.

DID YOU KNOW: Leo captured back-to-back sectional and regional titles in 2010 and 2011. New Haven has scored 35 or more points in seven contests.

COACH TALK: "New Haven is a very talented and well-coached football team. They have very speedy and quick skill players, so we will have to very fundamentally sound defensively in our assignments, and we will have to run and tackle well on the defensive side of the ball. They have big play potential all over the field, so missed assignments, missed tackles, and not getting 11 hats to the ball will hurt you. Offensively, we are going to need to place an emphasis on taking care of the football and establishing the line of scrimmage and the run game." – Leo's Jared Sauder.

"Leo is a very good football team that could easily be undefeated at this point. We were fortunate to escape with a victory in overtime earlier in the year. We will have to avoid turnovers and penalties and win the battle of field position, which is very difficult as they have one of the best kickers-punters (Ben VonGunten) in the state. We must be able to stop their power rush game and contain their budding passing game. This will be a big challenge for us this week." – New Haven's Jim Rowland.

LEBANON (7-2) AT PENDLETON HEIGHTS (6-3)

KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, John Broughton Field.

COACHES: Jeff Smock, 7-2 in first season at Lebanon. Jed Richman, 9-11 in second season at Pendleton Heights, 44-41 in eighth season overall.

LAST CONTEST: Lebanon beat Western Boone, 32-29. Pendleton Heights lost to Shelbyville, 34-27.

PREVIOUS MEETING: None.

UP NEXT: Lebanon hosts Western (5-4) or Yorktown (3-6). Pendleton Heights entertains Yorktown or plays at Western.

DID YOU KNOW: Lebanon has not won a sectional crown since 1997. Pendleton Heights is enjoying its first winning campaign since going 8-3 in 2012.

COACH TALK: "For us to be successful this week, we have to be efficient offensively and be prepared for their aggressive downhill defense. Defensively, we have to be stout against their versatile running game and prevent their talented wide receiving corps from making big plays in the passing game." – Lebanon's Jeff Smock.

"They are very talented and play extremely physical. Coach Smock has done a very nice job with this team and we are going to have to be at our best to compete with them." - Pendleton Heights' Jed Richman.

JASPER (7-2) AT NORTHVIEW (7-2)

KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. EDT, Knights Stadium.

COACHES: Tony Ahrens, 137-38 in 15th season at Jasper. Mark Raetz, 38-13 in fifth season at Northview, 53-58 in 11th season overall.

LAST CONTEST: Jasper beat Mount Vernon (Posey), 54-21. Northview beat Cascade, 56-14.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Jasper, 50-0, on October 23, 2009 in Class 4A sectional opener.

UP NEXT: Jasper travels to Evansville Reitz (8-1) or hosts Evansville Central (8-1). Northview goes to Evansville Reitz or Evansville Central.

DID YOU KNOW: Jasper has not endured a losing season since going 4-6 in 1989. Mark Raetz was at Terre Haute South prior to his arrival at Northview in 2013.

COACH TALK: "Jasper is traditionally one of the top teams in Class 4A. They have a very good team this year with a lot of returning starters from last season. They are very well-coached and their kids play extremely hard.  Some keys for us to win are we have to stop their big-play ability and move the ball consistently on offense and finish drives with points. We must do the little things right and play with great focus, effort, and energy on every play." – Northview's Mark Raetz.

EVANSVILLE REITZ (8-1) AT EVANSVILLE CENTRAL (8-1)

KICKOFF: 7 p.m. CDT, Central Stadium.

COACHES: Andy Hape, 47-11 in fifth season at Evansville Reitz. Andy Owen, 75-44 in 11th season at Evansville Central.

LAST CONTEST: Evansville Reitz beat Evansville Mater Dei, 49-46. Evansville Central beat Evansville North, 60-14.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Evansville Reitz, 28-21, on September 8, 2017.

UP NEXT: Evansville Reitz hosts Jasper (7-2) or Northview (7-2). Evansville Central travels to Jasper or entertains Northview.

DID YOU KNOW: Evansville Reitz has scored 34 or more points seven times. Evansville Central is allowing just 12.7 points per contest.

COACH TALK: "This week's game is going to be a great environment and game. Two of the top teams in Class 4A will face off in the first round of the sectional. Central is one of the most talented teams that I have seen in a long time. They are big up front and athletic in their skilled positions. We are going to have to play well in all three phases of the game to give us a chance to be successful." – Evansville Reitz's Andy Hape. 

"Reitz 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.

CLASS 3A

GARRETT (6-3) AT FORT WAYNE CONCORDIA (5-4)

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

COACHES: Chris DePew, 46-21 in sixth season at Garrett, 123-63 in 17th season overall. Tim Mannigel, 39-49 in eighth season at Fort Wayne Concordia.

LAST CONTEST: Garrett beat Central Noble, 29-13. Fort Wayne Concordia beat Fort Wayne North, 28-0.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Fort Wayne Concordia, 56-42, on November 18, 2016 in Class 3A northern semistate.

UP NEXT: Garrett hosts Lakeland (4-5) or Heritage (1-8). Fort Wayne Concordia travels to Heritage or entertains Lakeland.

DID YOU KNOW: Chris DePew previously coached at East Noble before coming back to his alma mater in 2012. Fort Wayne Concordia has not had back-to-back winning seasons since 1972 (5-4) and 1973 (6-3).

COACH TALK: "Concordia has a great deal of talent returning from last year's state championship team.  Their defense is stingy and aggressive, and their offense has playmaking speed everywhere. As a small public school playing a bigger parochial school with the city of Fort. Wayne's population available to it, we are often outmatched when it comes to talent in games like this. They are well-coached and at home.  We have to find advantages in different ways to pull off what everyone would consider an upset." – Garrett's Chris DePew. 

"We will need to play an extremely good game defensively. Garrett will try to pound the ball at us, and we need to be able to get them off the field so our offense can be effective. We must also play a clean game offensively, limiting both turnovers and penalties. Our team's focus needs to be present for us to have success this week." – F.W. Concordia's Tim Mannigel.

DANVILLE (9-0) AT SOUTH VERMILLION (7-2)

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

COACHES: K.C. Woods, 19-3 in second season at Danville, 27-7 in third season overall. Greg Barrett, 7-2 in first season at South Vermillion, 64-36 in ninth season overall.

LAST CONTEST: Danville beat North Montgomery, 34-0. South Vermillion beat Attica, 48-12.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Danville, 69-13, on October 20, 2000 in Class 2A sectional opener.

UP NEXT: Danville entertains Tri-West (4-5) or Monrovia (4-5). South Vermillion hosts Tri-West or travels to Monrovia.

DID YOU KNOW: Monrovia is looking to make it back-to-back sectional titles for the first time since 1999 and 2000. South Vermilion has not reached a sectional final since 2004.

COACH TALK: "South Vermillion has athletes all over the field and they put them in position to make plays. We have to do a good job keeping track of their quarterback (Conner Dunegan) as he can make a lot of plays with his legs. Offensively, we have to get off to a better start than we have the past few weeks." – Danville's K.C. Woods.

"This is a very good Danville team. We will need to stop their athletes from making big plays and offensively, we need to control the clock and minimize turnovers." – South Vermillion's Greg Barrett.

BROWNSTOWN CENTRAL (8-1) AT LAWRENCEBURG (8-1)

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

COACHES: Reed May, 248-49 in 25th season at Brownstown Central. Ryan Knigga, 58-22 in seventh season at Lawrenceburg.

LAST CONTEST: Brownstown Central beat Scottsburg, 45-14. Lawrenceburg beat South Dearborn, 69-0.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Lawrenceburg, 41-40, on November 18, 2016 in Class 3A southern semistate.

UP NEXT: Brownstown Central travels to Greensburg (3-6) or hosts Salem (6-3). Lawrenceburg hits the road to play at Greensburg or Salem.

DID YOU KNOW: Brownstown Central has not won less than eight games in a season since 1998. Lawrenceburg is averaging 41.4 points and allowing 13.2 points per game.

COACH TALK: "Lawrenceburg is a great team with a great tradition and a beautiful stadium with a great atmosphere for a high school football game. We are looking forward to the opportunity to play at their place on Friday. We will need to play a mistake-free game and assignment football to be successful on Friday." – Brownstown Central's Reed May.

"It's going to take a lot of great effort and making plays. There is no hiding the fact that Brownstown is good, but so are we. For us, it is a game where we need to try and knock them off track early in their offensive possessions and make them feel uncomfortable. If they are in a zone, they click and it becomes a guessing game for our defense. We must lock into our game plan and execute. On offense, we must make every possession count and take advantage of what they give us. There are plays to be made, and we will need our play makers to make them. I feel we have a team that can make a run, but this is a big one. We don't have the opportunity to look ahead! It is all hands on deck with the Braves. Hopefully we live to play another week. We have a great group and they are not ready to hang it up. The goal is to go 1-0 this week." – Lawrenceburg's Ryan Knigga.

CLASS 2A

HERITAGE CHRISTIAN (6-3) AT MILAN (8-1)

KICKOFF: 7 p.m. EDT, Tee Pee.

COACHES: Kyle Ray, 10-8 in second season at Heritage Christian. Ryan Langferman, 71-44 in 10th season at Milan.

LAST CONTEST: Heritage Christian beat Knightstown, 55-14. Milan beat Switzerland County, 67-0.

PREVIOUS MEETING: None.

UP NEXT: Heritage Christian goes to Triton Central (6-3) or entertains Knightstown (4-5). Milan travels to Triton Central or Knightstown.

DID YOU KNOW: Heritage Christian has not suffered two straight losing campaigns since 2004 (3-7) and 2005 (5-6). Ryan Langferman is also the principal at Milan High School.

COACH TALK: "Milan is a great team. We have to execute well in all three phases to win on Friday. We have to tackle well and play fast on defense. We have to play sound, fundamental football on special teams. And offensively, we have to have all 11 guys doing their job. We are excited for the challenge of playing a team like Milan in the playoffs," – Heritage Christian's Kyle Ray.

"Heritage Christian has a dangerous offense that we must be ready to defend. With the return of Peyton Estes at quarterback, they can both run and pass the ball effectively. We have to defend the pass well and minimize big plays. Offensively, we will need to control line of scrimmage and take care of the football." – Milan's Ryan Langferman.

NORTH POSEY (7-2) AT LINTON-STOCKTON (6-3)

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

COACHES: Waylon Schenk, 7-2 in first season at North Posey, 35-26 in sixth season overall. Brian Oliver, 58-8 in fifth season at Linton-Stockton.

LAST CONTEST: North Posey beat Pike Central, 40-22. Linton-Stockton beat Providence, 40-34.

PREVIOUS MEETING: North Posey, 43-0, on October 28, 1994, in Class 2A sectional semifinal.

UP NEXT: North Posey goes to South Spencer (3-6) or entertains Southridge (7-2). Linton-Stockton plays at South Spencer or Southridge.

DID YOU KNOW: North Posey's last sectional crown came in 2005 when it finished as Class 2A state runner-up. Linton-Stockton has not lost an opening round playoff game since 2005.

COACH TALK: "For us to beat Linton on the road, we are going to have to match their intensity. They are the defending state champs and we have to travel to their place. We feel like we have the players to match their talent, but we can't allow the home field advantage to be a factor. Linton is well-coached and they execute their system well. We must win the turnover battle." – North Posey's Waylon Schenk.

"Very impressed with North Posey. They have great size and Alex Stewart is one of the top running backs we have seen this year. In order to win, our players will need to tackle well and not give up any big plays. Our boys will need to survive the momentum swings of a playoff game and focus on one play at a time." – Linton-Stockton's Brian Oliver.

CLASS 1A

PIONEER (9-0) AT CARROLL (FLORA) (8-1)

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

COACHES: Adam Berry, 23-1 in second season at Pioneer. Kevin Sayler, 8-1 in first season at Carroll (Flora).

LAST CONTEST: Pioneer beat North Judson, 42-0. Carroll (Flora) beat Frontier, 38-8.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Pioneer, 44-0, on November 7, 2014, in Class 1A sectional final.

UP NEXT: Pioneer plays at Frontier (5-4) or hosts North White (1-7). Carroll (Flora) goes to Frontier or North White.

DID YOU KNOW: Pioneer has not had a losing season since going 3-7 in 1995. Carroll (Flora) is in pursuit of its first sectional title since 2003.

COACH TALK: "Carroll is a great team that is athletic, has speed, and excellent size up front. We are going to have to control the line of scrimmage offensively and defensively. Their quarterback (Trey Filbrun) is one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in Class 1A, so we will have to do a good job of containing him." – Pioneer's Adam Berry.

"We will have to be very disciplined on defense. The defense will need to limit yards after contact and get off the field on third down. We will need to make sure we take care of the football and make the most of our scoring opportunities. They are a very skilled team with great skill players on offense and they have a really nice offensive line that pulls extremely well. Our quarterback Trey Filbrun will need to excellent in the pass game along with our receiving core of Devon Anderson, Quinton Veach, Trenton Brumett, and Isaac Doerflein.  The offensive line will need to be solid in the run game and pass game for us to be successful." – Carroll's Kevin Sayler.

SOUTH ADAMS (7-2) AT ADAMS CENTRAL (7-2)

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

COACHES: Grant Moser, 16-16 in third season at South Adams. Michael Mosser, 65-38 in ninth season at Adams Central.

LAST CONTEST: South Adams beat Southern Wells, 35-0. Adams Central beat Woodlan, 30-21.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Adams Central, 42-14, on September 22, 2017.

UP NEXT: South Adams plays at Northfield (7-2) or hosts Churubusco (8-1). Adams Central travels to Northfield or Churubusco.

DID YOU KNOW: South Adams is guaranteed back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2000 (6-4) and 2001 (7-4). With its win over Woodlan, Adams Central claimed its first Allen County Athletic Conference title since 1999.

COACH TALK: "They are a great team and run the ball extremely well. We knocked off the ACAC champs Woodlan in last year's sectional and are aiming to do the same thing this year with Adams Central. We will have to play very fundamental and tough-nosed Starfire Football." – South Adams' Grant Moser.

"It's going to take a lot to beat South Adams, especially since they are one of our main rivals and they always play very well against us. We also beat them pretty good the first time we played them and they are going to want some pay back. They would want nothing more than to send us packing in the tournament, so we have to be ready for everything they throw at us. I know from experience that it is always very difficult to beat a team twice in a season, so we have our work cut out for us. They are also a team that historically has a potent, attacking defense, so we have to be smart on how we attack them offensively. I would image that they will have a much better plan than they had the first time. We are also coming off a big win against Woodlan for the (ACAC) championship. That is always hard to come back down from the clouds and play another tough game back to back, but that is what you expect in the post season. Each week you have to be ready to play a tough game, so I think we will be ready. We have to continue to play tough hard-nosed defense and efficient offense.  We are going to have to utilize (running backs) Drew Schultz and Logan Macklin effectively as well and continue to alternate between the run and pass.  If we play up to our potential, we should win. However, if we cannot come down after Woodlan and focus, we can truly get beat." – Adams Central's Michael Mosser.

NORTHFIELD (7-2) AT CHURUBUSCO (8-1)

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

COACHES: Brandon Baker, 33-20 in fifth season at Northfield, 72-95 in 16th season overall. Paul Sade, 37-16 in fifth season at Churubusco.

LAST CONTEST: Northfield lost to Southwood, 47-37. Churubusco beat Fairfield, 41-7.

PREVIOUS MEETING: None.

UP NEXT: Northfield entertains South Adams (7-2) or Adams Central (7-2). Churubusco hosts Adams Central or goes to South Adams.

DID YOU KNOW: Northfield has scored 37 or more points seven times. Churubusco is looking for its first sectional title since 2010.

COACH TALK: "We were involved in one of the best games of the year in the state last week against Southwood. We made some good strides and found some things we still need to get better at.  Churubusco is a great team. They are very efficient on offense and have a fast, physical defense. They have us outmanned across the front, but that's nothing new for us. Most every team we play does. We must be disciplined on defense. We have to be ready to sacrifice ourselves so someone else can make a play. We've done that before in games, but now it becomes even more important since we won't have another week to fix things. For us on offense, it's very simple. We must play Northfield football. We need long drives that end in points. We need to stay patient and realize that three yards a play is great.  I'll go for it on fourth down every time. We can't have mistakes that end up hurting ourselves. We need to take good angles up front to get to their linebackers because they fly to the football. We need to get our play action game going in order to slow them down a little. As long as we don't hurt ourselves and stay patient, I believe we can win the game. It won't take a monumental effort, but we just need to do what we do." – Northfield's Brandon Baker.

"On offense, Northfield is very dynamic. They run an option offense and spread the ball around to a lot of very good athletes, namely No. 7 Levi Fulkerson (quarterback), No. 22 Kyle Reed (running back), and No. 33 Matt Coe (running back). Their ability to spread the ball around to these kids makes them difficult to key on one person in particular. They are averaging just under 41 points per game. On defense, Northfield runs a 4-4 and plays extremely aggressive. They play fast downhill and have amassed over 65 tackles for loss this year. We have to try to find a way to slow their defensive end Joe Halderman (No. 60) and outside linebacker Kyle Reed (No. 22) down if we are going to have any chance of moving the ball. We need to heal up and prepare for a physical contest Friday. We have to execute and play assignment, mistake-free football if we are going to have a chance to win." – Churubusco's Paul Sade.

ATTICA (7-2) AT NORTH VERMILLION (6-3)

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

COACHES: Ryan Good, 72-37 in 10th season at Attica. Brian Crabtree, 64-10 in sixth season at North Vermillion, 99-49 in 13th season overall.

LAST CONTEST: Attica lost to South Vermillion, 48-12. North Vermillion beat Seeger, 39-28.

PREVIOUS MEETING: Attica, 14-7, on September 22, 2017.

UP NEXT: Attica goes to Rockville (0-9) or entertains Turley Run (2-7). North Vermillion plays at Rockville or Turkey Run,

DID YOU KNOW: Attica's lone sectional championship came in 2000 when it also claimed the Class 1A state title. North Vermillion has not lost a first-round sectional contest since 2007

COACH TALK: "Defensively, we will need to play mistake-free defense that contains their quarterback (Jacob) Hill not only for passing situations, but for running situations as well. Offensively, we have to stay consistent whether we are running or throwing the ball. Being consistent and keeping the chains moving will also be key." – Attica's Ryan Good.

"To beat Attica, we will have to play with great effort and enthusiasm. We will need to be assignment sound on defense. On offense, we will have to finish blocks at all positions." – North Vermillion's Brian Crabtree.

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