Economic downturns hurt sports, too

One of the results of the economic downturn Americans are just now starting to recover from is showing up on the soccer field.

With the expense being one of the primary reasons, fewer kids are playing travel soccer. That is beginning to show up on many high school teams.

For instance, the Harrison girls have only three players who play travel or select soccer in the spring and two of them will graduate before next season.

A decade ago teams like Harrison could fill out a team with select players, while programs like Reitz and Memorial had dozens of girls on travel teams.

That is no longer the case and the overall quality of play suffers for it.

With win, Mater Dei can take control of SIAC race

WEEK 6
MATER DEI (5-0, 3-0) at CASTLE (3-2, 2-1), 7 p.m. Friday
Castle has won back-to-back SIAC titles with undefeated league records. If MD takes this game, it will seize control of SIAC race, barring a slip down the line. Christian Peach ran for a school-record 307 yards in Knights’ 39-14 romp over North, but don’t expect him to get half that against MD’s “D.”

Prediction: MD 28, Castle 24

CENTRAL (3-2, 1-2) at HARRISON (1-3, 0-3), 7 p.m. Friday
Look for another high-scoring game as Central can light the scoreboard, but can’t stop anyone. Harrison has plenty of athletes to make things interesting. Both teams are coming off devastating losses.

Prediction: Central 42, Harrison 35

MEMORIAL (1-4, 1-2) at REITZ (3-2, 2-1), 7 p.m. Friday
After a 1-2 start, Panthers have rebounded with two successive wins. Look for them to make it three in a row, against stubborn Memorial.

Prediction: Reitz 27, Memorial 20

NORTH (2-3, 1-2) at BOSSE (3-2, 2-1), 7 p.m. Friday
Coming off back-to-back victories over Castle and Memorial, Bosse is seeking its first win over North since 1996. Huskies have been struggling.

Prediction: Bosse 35, North 28

Last week: 4-0
Overall: 20-7

Thanks for reading.

–Gordon Engelhardt

Engelhardt’s AP poll entering Week 6

Class 6A
1. Center Grove
2. Warren Central
3. Carmel
4. Lawrence Central
5. Ben Davis
6. Penn
7. Pike
8. Fishers
9. Southport
10. Hamilton SE
Class 5A
1. Concord
2. Cathedral
3. FW Snider
4. Martinsville
5. Westfield
6. McCutcheon
7. Zionsville
8. TH North
9. Castle
10. Whiteland
Class 4A
1. Columbus East
2. Jasper
3. Chatard
4. FW Dwenger
5. Roncalli
6. New Haven
7. Mt. Vernon (Fortville)
8. East Noble
9. Reitz
10. New Prairie
Class 3A
1. Andrean
2. Brebeuf
3. Gibson Southern
4. Hamilton Heights
5. Western Boone
6. Yorktown
7. W Lafayette
8. Delta
9. Mishawaka Marian
10. Bosse
Class 2A
1. Laf Central Cath
2. Ritter
3. MD
4. Southridge
5. Scecina
6. Churubusco
7. Rensselaer Cen
8. Speedway
9. Tipton
10. Tell City
Class A
1. Linton-Stockton
2. N Vermillion
3. Winamac
4. Whiting
5. W Central
6. Fountain Cen
7. N Central (Farmersburg)
8. Eastern (Hancock)
9. W Washington
10. N Knox

Gibson County showdown looms

While most high school football games are in-conference during the fifth week of the season, there’s a really nice non-conference tilt looming Friday at Gibson Southern where Princeton comes to Haubstadt for the unofficial county title.

The Titans are 4-0 under second-year coach Nick Hart, while Princeton (3-1) lost its first game of the season to a rugged Mount Carmel (Ill.) team.

This could be one of the most-competitive games between these two schools in years.

Castle-Central game could be high-scoring

WEEK FIVE

CASTLE (2-2, 1-1) at CENTRAL (3-1, 1-1), 7 p.m., Friday
Whoever picks up the pieces after a tough loss will prove to be the winner. After blanking Reitz, Castle was stunned 40-33 by Bosse. It marked the Knights’ first loss to Bosse since 2006 and first SIAC loss since Memorial in 2010, which snapped a 15-game league winning streak. Central, on the other hand, was pounded 48-28 by Reitz after a 3-0 start. The Bears are averaging 51.2 points, but surrendering 41.0, so look for another high-scoring affair.

Prediction: Castle 42, Central 35

BOSSE (2-2, 1-1) vs. MEMORIAL (1-3, 1-1), 7 p.m. Friday, Enlow Field
High-scoring Bulldogs are riding high after their first win over Castle since 2006. This is a rivalry game like week 9, with Bosse and Memorial located about 4 blocks away from each other and teams sharing same stadium. Tigers led Mater Dei 13-7 early in the third quarter, but couldn’t hold on. Look for Bosse’s big plays to prove too much for their East Side rival.

Prediction: Bosse 31, Memorial 27

NORTH (2-2, 1-1) vs. MATER DEI (4-0, 2-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Reitz Bowl
On paper, this looks like a mismatch, but not much has gone according to form this season, except for the Wildcats continuing to win. They are ranked No. 1 in Class 2A AP poll, but I rated them No. 3, behind Lafayette Central Catholic and Indy Cardinal Ritter.

Prediction: Mater Dei 35, North 21

REITZ (2-2, 1-1) at HARRISON (1-2, 0-2), 7 p.m. Friday
After being shut out by Castle, Reitz responded with a decisive 20-point win over previously undefeated Central. Look for the Panthers to vault over .500, but Harrison is no longer a pushover. Just ask North, which struggled to beat Warriors 16-13.

Prediction: Reitz 42, Harrison 28

Last week: 2-2.
Overall: 16-7

Thanks for reading.

–Gordon Engelhardt

Engelhardt’s AP poll selections entering Week 5

Class 6A
1. Center Grove
2. Lawrence Central
3. Warren Central
4. Carmel
5. Ben Davis
6. Penn
7. Pike
8. Fishers
9. Southport
10. Hamilton SE
Class 5A
1. Cathedral
2. Concord
3. Fort Wayne Snider
4. McCutcheon
5. Zionsville
6. Martinsville
7. Westfield
8. Munster
9. TH North
10. Castle
Class 4A
1. Columbus East
2. Jasper
3. Chatard
4. Fort Wayne Dwenger
5. Roncalli
6. Mount Vernon (Fortville)
7. E Noble
8. New Prairie
9. Reitz
10. Central
Class 3A
1. Andrean
2. Brebeuf
3. Hamilton Heights
4. Gibson Southern
5. Western Boone
6. Yorktown
7. Delta
8. W Lafayette
9. Mishawaka Marian
10. Bosse
Class 2A
1. Lafayette CC
2. Ritter
3. MD
4. Scecina
5. Southridge
6. Churubusco
7. Rensselaer Central
8. Speedway
9. Tipton
10. S Spencer
Class A
1. Linton-Stockton
2. N Vermillion
2. Winamac
5. W Central
6. Fountain Central
7. N Central (Farmersburg)
8. Eastern (Hancock)
9. Perry Central
10. N Knox

Running backs abound in the SIAC

One of the toughest selections this season will be the running back positions in the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference for its honor team. Good backs are all over the league.

It’s not just Avion Sullivan at Central. Reitz has De’Wayne Esters and Malik Higgins, Memorial McKinley Warren, Bosse Carrington Crutcher, Castle Christian Peach and Mater Dei Nolan Goebel and it’s not like Harrison and North are without.

It looks like some very good runners will be disappointed when the voting ends after the season. My guess is post-season results could weigh heavily in the decision.

North team to beat in girls golf

North is reaping the dividends from having the only real feeder program in high school girl’s golf.

The Huskies have had a feeder program in place for 26 years under former principal Ken Wempe, who is now the North coach.

After winning the Southern Indiana Atheltic Conference crown Saturday, North has not lost this year. The Huskies have two seniors, two juniors and two freshmen currently on the team and a host of strong players in middle school. They will be the team to beat for years to come.

The only current player not from the feeder program, senior Taylor Howerton, can be forgiven. Her father, Jeff, is a golf professional who happens to be a former standout for the Huskies. Taylor joined the program last year when Jeff became the head pro at Sultan’s Run in Jasper.