MD should gain revenge against Southridge

HIGH SCHOOL PREDICTION BLOG FOR WEEK 11
SECTIONAL SEMIFINAL ROUND

CLASS 5A SECTIONAL 16
NORTH (3-6) at TERRE HAUTE NORTH (4-5), 6:30 p.m.
The Huskies lost 47-15 to THS in Week 1. THS is the better Terre Haute school this year, but THN is still probably way too strong for North.

Prediction: Terre Haute North 38, North 14

TERRE HAUTE SOUTH (8-1) at CASTLE (6-3), 6:30 p.m.
The Knights enter the playoffs riding a three-game winning streak and are playing at home. But THS is ranked No. 4 and better than THN, which beat Castle 24-14 in Week 1.

Prediction: Terre Haute South 34, Castle 17

CLASS 4A SECTIONAL 24
JASPER (9-1) at CENTRAL (5-5), 7 p.m.
The Bears’ streak of posting at least a .500 record is in peril. Central has finished at least .500 or better every year since 2004, when it ended 4-6. The Bears have a potent offensive line, but Jasper is solid up front and everywhere else. The Wildcats are ranked No. 6.

Prediction: Jasper 28, Central 14

OWEN VALLEY (8-2) at REITZ (9-1), 7 p.m.
The Panthers bounced back from a regular-season ending loss to MD with a wild 59-35 win at Seymour. Don’t’ be fooled by Owen Valley’s 8-2 record. The Patriots only beat Boonville, 28-21, in the first round. Reitz is ranked No. 5.

Prediction: Reitz 35, Owen Valley 14

CLASS 3A SECTIONAL 32
BOSSE (2-8) at HERITAGE HILLS (9-1), 7 p.m.
The Bulldogs have struggled this season, but are coming off a 41-20 win over Pike Central. But No. 6 Heritage Hills ain’t Pike Central.

Prediction: Heritage Hills 28, Bosse 14

CLASS 2A SECTIONAL 40
MATER DEI (10-0) at SOUTHRIDGE (7-3), 6:30 p.m.
After the Raiders beat Mater Dei 21-19 last year for the sectional title, the city of Huntingburg celebrated as if had won the Super Bowl. The top-ranked Wildcats have not forgotten that and are gunning for revenge. There are three distinct differences from last season: Mater Dei is better at quarterback, is mentally tougher (if smaller) on defense and Connor Craig is injured. Craig, who gained 126 yards rushing on 17 attempts, including two TDs in Southridge’s win over MD last season, tore his ACL and MCL in the Raiders’ 28-20 win over North Posey on Sept. 12 and was lost for the season. Southridge has employed several backs in his absence. The Raiders use a wing-T and full-house T formation, in which fakes and misdirection are paramount. MD coach Mike Goebel said if his players follow the ball instead of staying in their lanes and reading their keys, they’ll be in trouble. Don’t bet on it.

Prediction: Mater Dei 28, Southridge 14.

Last week: 4-1.
Overall: 38-8.

Thanks for reading.

–Gordon Engelhardt

Will Memorial stun Gibson Southern in first round of Class 3A?

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREDICTION BLOG – WEEK 10
If I had any delusions of grandeur, I came crashing back to earth last week. After posting a 34-4 record through eight weeks, I was 1-3 picking “rivalry week” games. We’ll see if it’s topsy-turvy again in week one of the playoffs. Castle and North receive a bye in Class 5A and will resume action on Halloween against Terre Haute South and THN, respectively.

CLASS 4A SECTIONAL 24
CENTRAL (4-5) at HARRISON (3-6), 7 p.m.
Although both teams are below .500, this could be one of the more intriguing matchups of the first round. Central defeated the Warriors 19-6 on Sept. 26, but Harrison was without injured quarterback Ryan Hales. Returning to action for the first time in several weeks from a sprained knee, Hales was 14-for-18 for 180 yards and one score in the Warriors’ 46-14 romp over Bosse last Friday. Central has never finished below .500 under Andy Owen. The last time the Bears were below .500 was 2004, Mike Owen’s next-to-last season, when they ended 4-6.

Prediction: Harrison 24, Central 21

REITZ (8-1) at SEYMOUR (2-7), 6:30 p.m.
The Owls should be on the lookout in this one. Reitz is still seething from its 28-21 loss to Mater Dei, which ruined the Panthers’ bid for a perfect regular season. Reitz dropped one spot to No. 5 in the final AP poll.

Prediction: Reitz 56, Seymour 14

CLASS 3A SECTIONAL 32
MEMORIAL (4-5) at GIBSON SOUTHERN (8-1), 7 p.m.
The Titans advanced to semistate the first two seasons under coach Nick Hart, but struggled to get out of the local sectional. This year could be no exception. Memorial has lost a pair of close sectional games to Gibson Southern – 27-24 in overtime in the first round two years ago and 29-23 in the second round last season – and is gunning for an upset. The Titans could have their hands full with speedy Memorial running back McKinley Warren and wide receiver Ja’von Langley. The only reason I’m picking Gibson Southern is because the game is at Fort Branch. Memorial’s Jacob Bockelman leads all of Class 3A in punting average (40.2). Junior linebacker Jason Jones is first in the SIAC with 94 total tackles.

Prediction: Gibson Southern 27, Memorial 24

PIKE CENTRAL (1-8) at BOSSE (1-8), 6:30 p.m.
After seven successive losses, the Bulldogs hope to get well. But they have sometimes struggled against Pike in the playoffs, winning only 25-20 last season.

Prediction: Bosse 24, Pike Central 17

CLASS 2A SECTIONAL 40
FOREST PARK (1-8) vs. MATER DEI (9-0), 6 p.m.
The ‘Cats can win this game by as many points as they would like to. But coach Mike Goebel will substitute liberally. Mater Dei enters the playoffs ranked No. 1.

Prediction: Mater Dei 56, Forest Park 7

Last week: 1-3.
Overall: 34-7.

Thanks for reading.

–Gordon Engelhardt

Mater Dei remains No. 1 in final AP football poll of the season

Mater Dei (9-0) remained atop the final Associated Press Class 2A football poll with 404 points. The Wildcats received 13 first-place votes while No. 2 Rensselaer (9-0) received the other eight votes and had 394 points.
Reitz (8-1) dropped one notch to No. 5 in 4A while Jasper (8-1) stayed No. 6.
Gibson Southern (8-1) slipped one place to No. 4 in 3A. Heritage Hills (8-1) improved one spot to No. 6 while Vincennes Lincoln (8-1) remained No. 9.

Engelhardt’s final AP football ballot

Below is my ballot for the final Associated Press prep football poll. Note that I finally put Mater Dei atop the Class 2A poll. The Wildcats’ 28-21 victory over Reitz made a believer out of me, especially the way they dominated up front.
The overall final AP poll, from writers and broadcasters throughout the state, will be on the Scoreboard page in Wednesday’s Courier & Press.

Class 6A
1. Carmel
2. Penn
3. Warren Central
4. Ben Davis
5. Carroll (Allen)
6. Center Grove
7. Avon
8. Southport
9. Jeff
10. Lake Central
Class 5A
1. McCutcheon
2. FW Snider
3. Mishawaka
4. Indy Cathedral
5. Bloomington South
6. TH South
7. FW Wayne
8. Decatur Central
9. Munster
10. Castle
Class 4A
1. Columbus East
2. New Pal
3. Plymouth
4. Indy Chatard
5. Reitz
6. Jasper
7. New Prairie
8. Hammond Morton
9. Northridge
10. E. Noble
Class 3A
1. Andrean
2. Brownstown
3. Gibson Southern
4. FW Luers
5. Heritage Hills
6. Vincennes Lincoln
7. Indian Creek
8. Tri-West
9. Guerin Catholic
10. Yorktown
Class 2A
1. Mater Dei
2. Rensselaer
3. Triton Central
4. Cass
5. Laf Cen Cath
6. Monrovia
7. Winchester
8. Southridge
9. Alexandria
10. Eastside
Class A
1. Winamac
2. N Vermillion
3. Northeastern
4. Whiting
5. Linton-Stockton
6. Pioneer
7. Tri-Central
8. Indy Lutheran
9. Fountain Central
10. Tecumseh

Prediction: Reitz wins a close one over the Wildcats

WEEK 9 – HIGH SCHOOL PREDICTION BLOG INVOLVING SIAC TEAMS

REITZ (8-0, 6-0) vs. MATER DEI (8-0, 6-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Reitz Bowl

Strengths: Both teams boast true game-breakers in running backs Malik Higgins and Julian Weidner. Higgins, who has been offered a scholarship by Ball State, is averaging 12.0 per carry in gaining 1,399 yards rushing, including 17 touchdowns, for the Panthers. Weidner is averaging 11.4 per carry in gaining 784 yards rushing, including 10 touchdowns, for Mater Dei. The Wildcats are holding their opponents to 96 points; Reitz’s defense has allowed 102. Panther quarterback Evan Deig serves as a tremendous compliment to Higgins. He is 80-for-124 passing, a 64.5 percentage for 1,249 yards and 20 touchdowns. He has had 4 intercepted.
Weaknesses: Although the Panthers’ defense is strong overall, they have struggled at times stopping the run. Reitz surrendered 305 yards rushing to Central and 295 to North. While the Wildcats were once an aerial circus that dominated state passing statistics, they are averaging just 56.6 yards passing as opposed to a robust 265.0 rushing.
Coaching: Although Andy Hape has guided the Panthers to an undefeated mark in his second season as head coach and previously had 12 years of experience as a college assistant, the edge has to go to Mater Dei’s Mike Goebel. He guided the Wildcats to the Class 2A state championship in 2000 and semistate berths in 1994, 2001 and 2011. Goebel’s overall record is 178-50 in his 18th season.
History: This marks the second time in history that both teams are facing each other with 8-0 records. Reitz and Mater Dei also entered the regular season finale 8-0 in 2010; the Panthers rolled to a 54-21 victory. The Wildcats won last year’s game by a 16-14 score, but Reitz holds the overall advantage, 44-18. The Panthers appear to have a slight edge entering Friday’s game as well.

Prediction: Reitz 27, Mater Dei 24

CASTLE (5-3, 4-2) vs. MEMORIAL (4-4, 4-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Owen Stadium
The Knights have won three in a row in the series. But Memorial is coming off a 39-0 win over Harrison, its first shutout in 98 games. The Tigers’ last shutout was Oct. 27, 2006 when they blanked Washington 13-0 in a Class 3A sectional semifinal. Rip Collins is Memorial’s current defensive coordinator; Larry Mattingly was head coach in 2006.

Prediction: Castle 28, Memorial 21

BOSSE (1-7, 0-6) at HARRISON (2-6, 0-6), 7 p.m. Friday
Both teams are seeking their first SIAC victory. Bosse could squeak by in a close one; Harrison is struggling offensively.

Prediction: Bosse 21, Harrison 14

CENTRAL (4-4, 2-4) at NORTH (2-6, 2-4), 7 p.m. Friday
Bears trying to keep intact streak of .500 or better seasons to 10 in a row. Central’s last sub-.500 season was 4-6, in 2004.

Prediction: Central 24, North 17

Last week: 4-0
Overall: 34-4.

–Thanks for reading.
Gordon Engelhardt

IHSAA announces football sectional draw

The semifinals for the Class 5A sectional will be played on Oct. 31. All other first round games are on Oct. 24. For the full story of the Class 5A-4A announcement, click here. For the full story of the Class 3A-2A announcement, click here.

Class 5A, Sectional 16, semifinals:

Evansville North [2-6] at Terre Haute North [3-5]
Terre Haute South [7-1] at Castle [5-3]

Class 4A, Sectional 24, first round:

Silver Creek [4-3] at Jasper [7-1]
Evansville Central [3-4] at Evansville Harrison [2-6]
Boonville [3-5] at Owen Valley [6-2]
Evansville Reitz [8-0] at Seymour [2-6]

Class 3A, Sectional 32, first round:

Mount Vernon (Posey) [4-4] at Princeton [3-5]
Evansville Memorial [4-4] at Gibson Southern [7-1]
Pike Central [1-7] at Evansville Bosse [1-7]
Vincennes Lincoln [7-1] at Heritage Hills [7-1]

Class 2A, Sectional 40, first round:

Southridge [6-2] at Sullivan [4-4]
Forest Park [1-7] at Evansville Mater Dei [8-0]
Tell City [1-7] at Eastern Greene [5-3]
South Spencer [4-4] at North Posey [5-3]

Class A, Sectional 48, first round:

Tecumseh [5-3] bye
North Knox [6-2] at Springs Valley [1-6]
Wood Memorial [0-8] at Linton-Stockton [7-1]
North Daviess [4-4] at Perry Central [6-2]

Castle over North in a close one in Game of Week

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREDICTION BLOG – WEEK 8

CASTLE (4-3, 3-2) at NORTH (2-5, 2-3), 7 p.m. Friday
North is arguably the most improved team in the SIAC the second half of the season. The Huskies have routed Harrison and Bosse and lost to state-ranked Mater Dei and Reitz in the last four weeks. Castle, on the other hand, is an enigma. The Knights play great at home, for the most part, and not so great on the road. I’m picking Castle in this one because I think they have too much scoring punch for the Huskies. But North was tied with Reitz in the final moments last week before losing, 27-20. Hmmm. I chose this as our Game of the Week because I feel it will be the most competitive of the four league games. We’ll see.

Prediction: Castle 28, North 21

CENTRAL (4-3, 2-3) vs. MATER DEI (7-0, 5-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Reitz Bowl
Struggling Central has lost three of four while the ‘Cats have their sights set on going undefeated entering Week 9 against West Side rival Reitz, also undefeated. If you think Mater Dei might be overconfident, fahget about it (New York accent). Mike Goebel will not let that happen. Isaiah Kemper gained 249 yards rushing on 34 carries in the Bears’ 24-12 loss to Memorial. The Wildcats remain No. 1 in Class 2A.

Prediction: Mater Dei 35, Central 17

MEMORIAL (3-4, 3-2) at HARRISON (2-5, 0-5), 7 p.m. Friday
Like North, Memorial has shown considerable improvement the second half of the season. The Tigers have won two of their last three. With quarterback Ryan Hales sidelined with a leg injury, the Warriors are limited offensively. They’ve given up 261 points defensively, second-most in the league.

Prediction: Memorial 31, Harrison 17

REITZ (7-0, 5-0) at BOSSE (1-6, 0-5), 7 p.m. Friday
Nothing is going to stop the Panthers from being undefeated entering their showdown for the West Side Nut Club trophy next week vs. Mater Dei. Certainly not Bosse, which has surrendered an SIAC-high 308 points. Reitz leads the league in scoring with 285 points, one more than MD. The Panthers are ranked No. 4 in Class 4A. Reitz and Mater Dei were last unbeaten entering Week 9, in 2010.

Prediction: Reitz 42, Bosse 14

Last week: 3-1.
Overall: 30-4.

Thanks for reading.

–Gordon Engelhardt

Lyle to attend IMG Academy in Florida

MOLLY BARTELS / COURIER & PRESS Bosse's JaQuan Lyle grabs the rim as he dunks against Memorial during a game at Memorial High School in 2012.
MOLLY BARTELS / COURIER & PRESS Bosse’s JaQuan Lyle grabs the rim as he dunks against Memorial during a game at Memorial High School in 2012.

Former Bosse High School guard JaQuan Lyle will attend the fall semester at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, after complications in the enrollment process at the University of Oregon.

Lyle was added to the Oregon men’s basketball roster online in June but was removed on Sept. 16. When classes began at the end of the month, Lyle was not enrolled at the school. Sources told CBSSports.com that Lyle needed to retake one class, but that was accomplished during the summer.

The private boarding school will allow Lyle to train and clear up any remaining academic issues for the NCAA Clearinghouse. There is a possibility he could still enroll for the spring semester at Oregon when the PAC-12 Conference games begin.

Princeton’s Jackie Young commits to Notre Dame

Jackie Young, a 6-foot-1 junior wing from Princeton, Indiana, made an oral commitment Thursday to play for the University of Notre Dame women’s basketball team. She is ranked No. 2 at her position and No. 10 overall in the class of 2016 by ProspectsNation.com.

Young also received offers from Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisville, Indiana, Purdue, Illinois and Vanderbilt. She averaged 28.8 points, 12.2 rebounds and 6.5 assists in leading Princeton to a 21-1 record as a sophomore.

IHSAA tables basketball tournament format vote to Nov. 7

The IHSAA Executive Committee unanimously voted Thursday to table the basketball tournament proposal, which would alter its current format, to its next meeting on Nov. 7.

The proposal, presented in August, calls for the largest 64 schools to make up Class 4A, with the remaining schools evenly distributed among Class 3A, 2A and A, with an average of 101 schools in each. There would be 16 sectionals in each classification.

The topic is being discussed at the various area principals meetings that the IHSAA staff is currently conducting around the state. With four more meetings over the next two weeks, the IHSAA wants to allow administrators further opportunities to discuss and provide additional feedback before the measure would be voted on by the committee.