Will Central stun Jasper?

CENTRAL (7-3) AT JASPER (9-1), 7 p.m. Friday
No. 6 Jasper hasn’t faced an electric running back like Central’s Avion Sullivan all season, although Princeton’s Deon Hardiman is pretty formidable. He has more than 2,000 yards rushing and 30 TDs. Bears QB Austin Fuchs has more than 1,000 yards rushing and passing, proof that Central is not one-dimensional. Proud Jasper, which has not won a sectional title since 2008, is sick and tired of losing to Evansville schools.

Prediction: Jasper 35, Central 31

REITZ (7-3) vs. SILVER CREEK (4-6), 7 p.m., Reitz Bowl
The most interesting thing about this game is the site. Silver Creek, a third-year program, has no visitor’s seating section, so it will play at the Bowl instead. Reitz is still considered the visiting team. Other than that puzzling tidbit, it’s another blowout for the Panthers, which could meet Jasper for the sectional title for the second straight year the following week. Silver Creek QB Brooks Howell threw 4 TD passes in 49-41 shootout win over Boonville. But Reitz ain’t Boonville.

Prediction: Reitz 42, Silver Creek 14

TERRE HAUTE NORTH (7-2) at CASTLE (6-3), 6:30 p.m. Friday
Plagued by five turnovers in a 44-14 loss to TH North at Lucas Oil in the season opener, Castle hopes to prove to the No. 2-ranked Patriots that they are vastly improved. Star LB Clay Seitz returned from a broken hand in regular season finale vs. Memorial, but RB Christian Peach is still hobbling.

Prediction: TH North 28, Castle 21

TERRE HAUTE SOUTH (2-7) at NORTH (2-7), 6:30 p.m. Friday
If you believe in comparative scores, check this out: North beat TH South 37-20 in a season opener that wasn’t that close, yet TH South turned around later and beat No. 2 TH North. I know it was a rivalry game, but still puzzling. Which TH South team will show up against the Huskies?

Prediction: TH South 27, North 24

PRINCETON (7-3) at BOSSE (6-4), 7 p.m. Friday
You could call this the battle of the backs: Deon Hardiman vs. Carrington Crutcher. Will Bulldogs wake up after narrowly beating Pike Central (which had one win)? Princeton coach Waylon Schenk will try to beat his alma mater.

Prediction: Bosse 42, Princeton 35

GIBSON SOUTHERN (10-0) vs. MEMORIAL (3-7), 7 p.m. Friday, Romain Stadium
If this game looks like a mismatch, think again. Memorial took the Titans to OT in sectional title game last year. John Hurley, who led the Tigers to a sectional championship berth in his first five seasons, is in danger of seeing that streak end.

Prediction: Gibson Southern 28, Memorial 21

MATER DEI (10-0) at SULLIVAN (7-3), 6:30 p.m. Friday
No. 1 MD didn’t need ailing RB Nolan Goebel against Forest Park, won’t need him against Sullivan, although he will probably see some action. The Wildcats appear headed for a sectional championship showdown at No. 6 Southridge.

Prediction: Mater Dei 42, Sullivan 17

Last week: 6-0
Overall: 42-7.

Thanks for reading.

–Gordon Engelhardt

Predictions for first round of sectionals

Believe it or not, postseason is here. Feel free to make your predictions. Surely, Four Horseman isn’t the only other prognosticator out there!

OWEN VALLEY (5-4) at REITZ (6-3), 7 p.m. Friday
This is the lone first-round sectional matchup involving a SIAC team on Friday that has two teams with above .500 records, but it still shouldn’t be close. Reitz should win handily.

Prediction: Reitz 28, Owen Valley 14

SEYMOUR (0-9) at CENTRAL (6-3), 6 p.m. Friday
Central has scored 394 points, but given up 333. There is no way Seymour can hang with the high-scoring Bears.

Prediction: Central 42, Seymour 21

JASPER (8-1) at HARRISON (1-7), 6:30 p.m.
The Warriors are hoping a major upset, and hoping perhaps Jasper will be looking past them toward a probable second-round showdown at home against Central.

Prediction: Jasper 45, Harrison 24

BOSSE (5-4) at PIKE CENTRAL (1-8), 6:30 p.m.
The Bulldogs posted their first regular season winning record since 2000 and aren’t about to stop now.

Prediction: Bosse 49, Pike Central 21

MEMORIAL (2-7) at HERITAGE HILLS (2-7), 7 p.m.
The Tigers didn’t have a good regular season, but expect them to advance to a probable second-round showdown with unbeaten Gibson Southern.

Prediction: Memorial 28, Heritage Hills 21

FOREST PARK (2-7) vs. MATER DEI (9-0), 6:30 p.m. Friday at Enlow
The Wildcats should be up 42-0 by halftime, then Mike Goebel will take it easy on the outmanned Rangers.

Prediction: Mater Dei 56, Forest Park 14

Last week: 4-0
Overall: 36-7.

Thanks for reading.

–Gordon Engelhardt

Make your picks for rivalry week – last week of regular season

MATER DEI (8-0, 6-0) at REITZ (6-2, 5-1), 7 p.m. Friday
Mater Dei is seeking its first unbeaten regular season since 2001 while Panthers hope to win City title outright and tie MD for SIAC championship. Don’t count on the latter two happening. MD should control Panthers’ ground game and forced them to pass.

Prediction: Mater Dei 28, Reitz 21

HARRISON (1-6, 0-6) at BOSSE (4-4, 3-3), 7 p.m. Friday
Bulldogs hope to bounce back from two losses to finish the regular season above .500. LaWan Rollins stepped in admirably as Harrison QB after Ryan Hales went down with a broken collarbone last week in practice. But it’s doubtful Warriors can rebound from devastating 42-41 OT loss to Memorial in which they blew a 35-7 halftime lead.

Prediction: Bosse 42, Harrison 34

CENTRAL (5-3, 3-3) at NORTH (2-6, 1-5), 7 p.m. Friday
Same old story – Bears have scored 345 points, but have allowed 312. It’s doubtful North has the firepower to keep up.

Prediction: Central 45, North 28

MEMORIAL (2-6, 2-4) at CASTLE (5-3, 4-2), 7 p.m. Friday
Memorial is riding high after overcoming a 35-7 halftime deficit to stun Harrison, 42-41, in OT. Injury-plagued Castle hopes to close regular season with a win, then heal up as it gets a first-round Class 5A playoff bye.

Prediction: Castle 31, Memorial 21

Last week: 4-0
Overall: 32-7.

Thanks for reading.

–Gordon Engelhardt

Princeton’s Young ranked No. 7 in Class of 2016

The honors keep piling up for Princeton’s 6-foot sophomore sensation Jackie Young. She is ranked as the No. 2 wing and No. 7 high school girls’ basketball player overall in the Class of 2016 by prospectsnation.com. Young has also been offered scholarships by the University of Illinois and Vanderbilt. She had previously been offered by Indiana, Purdue and Notre Dame.

Last season, Young was third in the state in scoring (26.1), 10th in rebounding (9.98) and 12th in assists (5.1) in leading Princeton to a 19-6 record. She was 169-for-194 from the line (87.1 percent) and hit 53 percent of her field goal attempts.
Young was named Courier & Press all-Southwestern Indiana Player of the Year, a no-brainer even though she was only a freshman.

–Gordon Engelhardt

Mater Dei keeps rolling toward an undefeated regular season

MATER DEI (7-0, 5-0) at CENTRAL (5-2, 3-2), 7 p.m. Friday
MD rolled to a 35-0 lead in playing its best half of the season last week against Bosse, then coasted to a 48-28 win. Watch out, Central. Bears QB Austin Fuchs has an ailing knee.

Prediction: Mater Dei 42, Central 24

BOSSE (4-3, 3-2) at REITZ (5-2, 4-1), 7 p.m. Friday
After winning three thrillers in a row, the Bulldogs came crashing back to earth against MD. Reitz is seeking its fifth consecutive victory.

Prediction: Reitz 38, Bosse 28

HARRISON (1-5, 0-5) vs. MEMORIAL (1-6, 1-4), 7 p.m. Friday, Enlow Field

After giving Central a good shot last week, Memorial hopes to use it as a springboard against Harrison.

Prediction: Memorial 35, Harrison 31

NORTH (2-5, 1-4) at CASTLE (4-3, 3-2), 7 p.m. Friday
The Huskies led Reitz 16-7, before giving up two TDs in the final 3:34. Will they recover against Castle, which is becoming more diversified? I doubt it.

Last week: 4-0
Overall: 28-7.

Thanks for reading.

–Gordon Engelhardt

Engelhardt’s AP rankings entering Week 8

Class 6A
1. Ben Davis
2. Center Grove
3. Carmel
4. Penn
5. Southport
6. Pike
7. Warren Central
8. Fishers
9. Homestead
10. Hamilton SE
Class 5A
1. Westfield
2. Cathedral
3. Concord
4. FW Snider
5. Whiteland
6. TH North
7. Martinsville
8. Munster
9. Castle
10. Zionsville
Class 4A
1. Columbus East
2. New Haven
3. Jasper
4. Chatard
5. Roncalli
6. New Prairie
7. Reitz
8. FW Dwenger
9. Leo
10. Central
Class 3A
1. Andrean
2. Gibson Southern
3. Brebeuf
4. W Lafayette
5. Hamilton Heights
6. Yorktown
7. Brownstown Central
8. Batesville
9. Bosse
10. Delta
Class 2A
1. Mater Dei
2. Laf Central Catholic
3. Ritter
4. Southridge
5. Scecina
6. Churubusco
7. Rensselaer Central
8. Shenandoah
9. South Spencer
10. Tell City
Class A
1. Linton-Stockton
2. N Vermillion
3. Winamac
4. Whiting
5. Fountain Central
6. Eastern (Hancock)
7. N Central (Farmersburg)
8. Tecumseh
9. S Putnam
10. Sheridan