Castle-Harrison game nearly a toss-up

SIAC FOOTBALL BLOG – WEEK 7

CASTLE (3-3, 2-2) at HARRISON (4-2, 2-2), 7 p.m. Friday
This could be a make or break week for Castle, which has played a brutal schedule so far. All three of the Knights’ losses were to quality opponents: Reitz, Mater Dei and Terre Haute North. They gave Reitz and MD all they wanted, but will they win out in the rest of the regular season, or flounder? Harrison, the surprise team of the SIAC, is seeking its first winning season since finishing 7-5 in 2004. The Warriors last won 4 games in 2006. Bosse coach Eric Schnur said Harrison’s skill players are comparable to any in the state. That may be a bit hyperbolic, but you get the idea. Castle has a game-breaker of its own in RB Jadrien Higginson. But he missed the Knights’ 34-27 loss to MD last week with concussion-like symptoms and may be sidelined again. Workmanlike replacement Sam McLurkin gained 74 yards on 20 carries, scoring one touchdown, in his place. Almost a toss-up.

Prediction: Castle 35, Harrison 28

CENTRAL (3-3, 1-3) vs. MEMORIAL (2-4, 2-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Enlow Field
It will be interesting to see how the Tigers react after they “coulda, oughta” upset Reitz. Only a freshman, QB Michael Lindauer is already a star in the making. After three wins to open the season, Central is reeling, with three successive losses.

Prediction: Memorial 35, Central 21

BOSSE (2-4, 1-3) vs. MATER DEI (6-0, 4-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Reitz Bowl
After being shut out three games in a row, the Bulldogs edged North, 16-14. Mater Dei’s defense has shown a bend, but don’t break philosophy while its offense is explosive. It has worked so far. The Wildcats, who are averaging 41.2 points but giving up 25.2, continue to be ranked No. 1 in Class 2A. They look to coast against Bosse.

Prediction: Mater Dei 42, Bosse 14

REITZ (6-0, 4-0) at NORTH (1-5, 0-4), 7 p.m. Friday
This could be ugly. After escaping with a 36-29 decision over Memorial, scoring the winning TD in the final 1:01, Reitz is looking for a blowout/breather. North, on the other hand, let a winnable game slip away last week against Bosse and may not win another game all season.

Reitz 45, North 14

Last week: 2-2
Overall: 25-5

–Thanks for reading

Gordon Engelhardt

Engelhardt’s AP football poll ballot entering Week 7

Below are my selections for this week’s Indiana AP prep football poll. The overall poll, from reporters and broadcasters throughout the state, will be on Page 3B in Wednesday’s Courier & Press.

Class 6A
1. Center Grove
2. Penn
3. Carmel
4. Indianapolis Cathedral
5. Hamilton Southeastern
6. Warren Central
7. Columbus North
8. Avon
9. Fishers
10. Indianapolis Ben Davis
Class 5A
1. New Palestine
2. Ft. Wayne Snider
3. Columbus East
4. Bloomington South
5. Kokomo
6. Decatur Central
7. Whiteland
8. Westfield
9. Concord
10. Terre Haute North
Class 4A
1. Ev. Reitz
2. Plymouth
3. Lowell
4. Northview
5. Jasper
6. Leo
7. E. Central
8. Ft. Wayne Dwenger
9. Indianapolis Roncalli
10. Ev. Harrison
Class 3A
1. Gibson Southern
2. West Lafayette
3. Indpls Chatard
4. Ft. Wayne Luers
5. Mishawaka Marian
6. Heritage Hills
7. Bellmont
8. Southridge
9. Indpls Brebeuf
10. Guerin Catholic
Class 2A
1. Ev. Mater Dei
2. Eastern Hancock
3. Monrovia
4. Woodlan
5. Eastbrook
6. Heritage Christian
7. Triton Central
8. Indpls Ritter
9. Oak Hill
10. Indpls Scecina
Class A
1. Lafayette Catholic
2. Linton
3. Pioneer
4. Tri-Central
5. N. Vermillion
6. North White
7. Perry Central
8. LaVille
9. Adams Central
10. Northfield

Local sectional soccer pairings

The IHSAA revealed its postseason soccer draw on Friday. Following are the local pairings:

IHSAA SECTIONAL SOCCER PAIRINGS
INVOLVING EVANSVILLE TEAMS
BOYS
Class 2A Memorial Sectional
At Traylor Family Stadium
Monday, Oct. 5
Harrison vs. Castle, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 7
Jasper vs. Memorial, 5 p.m.
Boonville vs. Harrison-Castle winner, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 10
Championship, 2 p.m.
Class 2A Bosse Sectional
At EVSC Fields
Monday, Oct. 5
Bosse vs. North, 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 7
Central vs. Reitz, 5:30 p.m.
Mount Vernon vs. Bosse-North winner, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 10
11 a.m., championship
Class A Gibson Southern Sectional
Monday, Oct. 5
Princeton vs. Day School, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 7
Mater Dei vs. Gibson Southern, 5 p.m.
North Posey vs. Princeton-Day School winner, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 10
Championship, 2 p.m.

GIRLS
Class 2A Castle Sectional
Tuesday, Oct. 6
Castle vs. Boonville, 6 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 8
Jasper vs. Memorial, 5 p.m.
Harrison vs. Castle-Boonville winner, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 10
Championship, 7 p.m.
Class 2A Reitz Sectional
At EVSC Fields
Monday, Oct. 5
Bosse vs. Reitz, 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 7
North vs. Mount Vernon, 5:30 p.m.
Central vs. Bosse-Reitz winner, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 10
Championship, 11 a.m.
Class A Princeton Sectional
Monday, Oct. 5
Gibson Southern vs. Wood Memorial, 5 p.m.
Pike Central vs. North Posey, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 6
Mater Dei vs. Day School, 5 p.m.
South Spencer vs. Princeton, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 8
Gibson Southern-Wood Memorial winner vs. Pike Central-North Posey winner, 5 p.m.
Mater Dei-Day School winner vs. South Spencer-Princeton winner, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 10
Championship, 7 p.m.

Mater Dei expected to receive a tough challenge from Castle

SIAC PREP FOOTBALL BLOG – WEEK 6

GAME OF THE WEEK: MATER DEI (5-0, 3-0) at CASTLE (3-2, 2-1), 7 p.m. Friday
Castle quarterback Dayne Keller has been waiting a year for this rematch. As an inexperienced sophomore, he had a “Murphy’s Law” game against Mater Dei. He threw seven interceptions as the Knights lost, 42-17. However, it should be pointed out that it wasn’t all his fault. Wrong routes and tipped balls resulted in a few of those picks. Castle “coulda, shoulda, oughta, almost” beat Reitz on Sept. 4, losing a wild 35-30 game. It will be interesting to see if they can give Mater Dei a similar battle and perhaps break the MD-Reitz stranglehold atop the SIAC. The Wildcats are ranked No. 1 in Class 2A. This could come down to the final minute.

Prediction: Mater Dei 31, Castle 28

CENTRAL (3-2, 1-2) at HARRISON (3-2, 1-2), 7 p.m. Friday
This is a pick-up-the-pieces game for Harrison – it hopes. Arguably the most surprising team in the SIAC, the Warriors were blanked 28-0 last Friday by Reitz. The fact that they lost wasn’t surprising, but with all that speed, I didn’t expect them to get shut out. Central has fallen back to earth once it began playing tough competition. Let’s see if the Bears can bounce back after two straight losses. It’s a tossup.

Prediction: Central 28, Harrison 27

MEMORIAL (2-3, 2-1) at REITZ (5-0, 3-0), 7 p.m. Friday
After four successive weeks on the road, the Panthers will finally return to the Bowl. Whether or not QB Evan Deig returns from an ankle injury probably won’t matter. Backup Reid Mahan was “next man up” last week, completing 16 of 21 passes for 218 yards in a 28-0 win over Harrison. He threw for two TDs and ran for another. It marked the second straight week Reitz’s defense was unscored upon. The previous week, Central’s only score in a 28-7 loss to the Panthers was Tias Stewart’s 92-yard kickoff return. Reitz remains first in the Class 4A poll.

Prediction: Reitz 35, Memorial 7

NORTH (1-4, 0-3) at BOSSE (1-4, 0-3), 7 p.m. Friday
This is a golden opportunity for the Huskies to pick up their first SIAC win. The Dawgs’ struggles continue.

Prediction: North 35, Bosse 17

Last week: 4-0
Overall: 23-5

–Thanks for reading.

Gordon Engelhardt

SW Indiana Midseason Power Rankings

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We are midway through the high school football regular season. I thought now would be an appropriate time to look at the best teams, from top to bottom, in Southwestern Indiana. I started out sorting this by Sagarin ratings, then moved schools up or down based on injuries, strength of schedule, common opponents. It’s not scientific, and admittedly subjective. But without further ado, here are my power rankings through five games, divided into six tiers:
TierI-Midseason Power RankingsCue the Titan bias accusations! I promise I’m not basing this on the Gibson Southern-Reitz scrimmage this summer (which I heard did not fare well for the Panthers). But obviously, you could make a case for all three teams at the No. 1 spot as each are the top-ranked team in their respective class. Gibson has not been challenged, but will face its first true test Friday against Heritage Hills at The Jungle. This week, Mater Dei has to beat Castle, who in all honesty, should’ve upset Reitz in Week 3 if not for a bogus high school onside kick return rule. If the Wildcats can hold on, we’re likely to see another 8-0 showdown between the Westside rivals at the bowl. Again, these three are fairly interchangeable to me, but Gibson has looked invincible so far.TierII-Midseason Power Rankings

Fair or unfair, I give Castle the nod over Heritage Hills because of the aforementioned Knights’ upset that didn’t materialize. The Patriots have done everything in their power — including a win against Jasper in Week 4 — to show last fall wasn’t just a flash in the pan season. So it comes down to this hypothetical: Do you think Heritage Hills could’ve come as close as Castle did to beating Reitz? Kenton Crews’ heroics aside, I think their offense still has question marks. But heck, even Castle looked suspect moving the ball last week after the first quarter. Jasper is right there in the mix and its defense has lived up to expectations. But how much better are the Wildcats than Harrison and Central? Could we see a 4A Sectional 24 title game that doesn’t feature Reitz and Jasper? I think there’s a decent chance.

TierIII-Midseason Power Rankings

There’s a fairly steep drop-off here, according to Sagarin. Even after being shut out 28-0 against Reitz and a back-up quarterback last week, I still believe in Harrison. Athletically, they match up against any team in Tier II and you could make a case for Tier I as well. These next two weeks will tell me a lot about the Warriors (two home games against Central and Castle). Southridge is off to another 3-0 start in the Pocket, albeit against a weak schedule, but Scott Buening’s Wing-T offense continues to churn out points despite losing several key players from last season. Central arguably has the most elusive backfield in the SIAC with Tias Stewart and Dorian Williams, but haven’t put up much of a fight against Reitz and Castle. And I’ll be honest. I’m not sure what to make of Perry Central, but they’re 5-0 and that deserves recognition.

TierIV-Midseason Power Rankings

Tons of parity here, particularly in the Big Eight. The first year of Darin Ward era in Boonville has gone as well as possible. The Pioneers host Mount Vernon this week, with the winner staying alive in the conference title race. Princeton’s upset against Mount Carmel (for the first time in 43 years) was significant, but is looking less so by the week with the way the Aces defense has played. By Sagarin, Memorial probably should be in Tier III but injuries to key players cause them to move down in my opinion. North looks like a one-win team in the SIAC. Vincennes pounded Mount Vernon a couple weeks ago, but the Alices are down significantly since winning a share of the conference last year.

TierV-VI-Midseason Power Rankings

How the mighty have fallen… Before the season, I booked a Mount Carmel story assuming they were the favorites to win the Big Eight in returning an offense that appeared highly dangerous on paper. The Aces offense took a hit when junior Daxton Peach suffered a season-ending knee injury. But it’s been their defense that has struggled big time — 49 points per game the past two weeks.

There’s another big drop between Tier V and VI. I’m not going to get into every team here, but I do find it is eye-opening that there are five teams in our area worse than Bosse.

So where did I go wrong? Let me know where you disagree.

Reitz has what it takes to stay unbeaten

SIAC FOOTBALL PREDICTION BLOG – WEEK 5

REITZ (4-0, 2-0) at HARRISON (3-1, 1-1), 7 p.m. Friday
The Panthers will hit the road for the fourth successive week. While Kerrion Ringo sometimes shakes loose for long touchdown runs, Reitz QB Evan Deig played ball control with pinpoint short passes as the Panthers ate up chunks of the clock in defeating Central, 28-7, last week. Reitz grad Cory Brunson has worked wonders with Harrison. The Warriors always had talent, but now they have depth and a plan to go with their athleticism. Brunson told his players they will be playing in the biggest game of their careers. DB-kick returner supreme C.J. Hedgepeth bounced back from a shoulder injury to return an interception 41 yards for a score in a 34-26 decision over North. Harrison is much improved, but not so much so that it can shock the Class 4A No. 1-ranked Panthers. Two-way Reitz starter Isaac Flowers returned from a shin injury to add a little muscle to ground game last week. Warriors are off to their best start since the 2004 team started 3-0 in ending 7-5.

Prediction: Reitz 38, Harrison 21.

CASTLE (2-2, 1-1) at CENTRAL (3-1, 1-1), 7 p.m. Friday
After losing a heartbreaker to Reitz, Castle took out its frustrations on Bosse. Central was averaging 54.3 points per game, but looked very ordinary as Tias Stewart was held in check in loss to Reitz in plays from scrimmage. However, Stewart did break away for a 92-yard touchdown on a kickoff return.

Prediction: Castle 35, Central 21

NORTH (1-3, 0-2) at MATER DEI (4-0, 2-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Reitz Bowl
Junior QB Kurtis Wilderman continues to blossom. He threw for 4 TDs and ran for two more in Wildcats’ wild 63-34 victory over Memorial. Class 2A No. 1-ranked MD looks to be 5-0 leading into a key matchup next week at Castle.

Prediction: Mater Dei 37, North 17

BOSSE (1-3, 0-2) vs. MEMORIAL (1-3, 1-1), 7 p.m. Friday at Enlow Field

Freshman Michael Lindauer showed off his talent, throwing for 294 yards and four TDs in his first varsity start, but the Tigers’ defense went south in a 63-34 loss to Mater Dei. Bosse might not win another game this season.
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Prediction: Memorial 35, Bosse 17

Last week: 4-0.
Overall: 19-5.

—Thanks for reading.

Gordon Engelhardt

Reitz could provide Central with first true test

SIAC FOOTBALL PREDICTION BLOG – WEEK 4

REITZ (3-0, 1-0) at CENTRAL (3-0, 1-0), 7 p.m. Friday
After a porous non-conference schedule and SIAC warmup against Bosse, this will be the Bears’ first major test of the season. Running back Tias Stewart is the real deal, but whether his teammates can stack up against Reitz remains to be seen. However, the Class 4A No. 1-ranked Panthers looked vulnerable against Castle. If you could advance an onside kick in HS football, the Knights would’ve stunned Reitz last week. Two-way Panther starter Isaac Flowers was on the sidelines in crutches last Friday, but could return from a shin injury.

Prediction: Reitz 35, Central 21

MEMORIAL (1-2, 1-0) vs. MATER DEI (3-0, 1-0), 7 p.m. Friday at Reitz Bowl
The Tigers rang up their first victory last week, but at a terrible cost. QB Will Durchholz, who threw for one TD and ran for another in a 35-20 victory over North with 6:47 left, when his left knee buckled and he did not return. LB Jackson Jones, Memorial’s leading tackler, also went down with a left knee injury late in the game. Freshman Michael Lindauer has the unenviable task of making his first varsity start at QB while Neal Hayhurst replaces Jones at LB. Like Reitz, Class 2A No. 1-ranked Mater Dei looked vulnerable in outlasting surprising Harrison, 38-34. ‘Cats have won five in a row against their Catholic rival. Memorial last won, 47-24, in 2009.

Prediction: Mater Dei 28, Memorial 14

CASTLE (1-2, 0-1) at BOSSE (1-2, 0-1), 7 p.m.
Castle may be one of the best 1-2 5A teams in the state, losing to Terre Haute North and Reitz, the latter a game it almost pulled out with a miraculous finish. Look for the Knights to take out their frustrations on Bosse.

Prediction: Castle 42, Bosse 14

HARRISON (2-1, 0-1) at NORTH (1-2, 0-1), 7 p.m.
The Warriors may be the biggest surprise of the SIAC so far, flashing game-breaking potential in several areas. They nearly pulled off a major upset last week. North doesn’t have the speed to hang with Harrison. Warriors kick returner supreme and standout defensive back C.J. Hedgepeth could return from a shoulder injury.

Prediction: Harrison 35, North 21

Last week: 3-1.
Overall: 15-5.

—Thanks for reading.

Gordon Engelhardt

No. 3 Memorial, No. 2 Dunbar kick off Indiana-Kentucky Challenge

Memorial’s boys’ soccer team, 4-0-0 and ranked No. 3 in Indiana, will host Lexington Dunbar, rated No. 2 in Kentucky, at 6 p.m. Friday in the opening round of the annual Indiana-Kentucky Challenge, considered one of the better early-season soccer tournaments in the region.
Fellow SIAC schools Harrison, Castle and Mater Dei, plus area powerhouse Jasper, will compete in the challenge, which continues with a morning round on Saturday concludes with Saturday’s night round.

Castle challenges Reitz in Game of the Week

GAME OF THE WEEK
REITZ (2-0) at Castle (2-0), 7 p.m. Friday
I was a little skeptical at first, but now I’m convinced that Reitz may well deserve the state’s No. 1 ranking in Class 4A. Pounding Terre Haute South by three touchdowns up there last week certainly opened my eyes. Without graduated superstar Malik Higgins, the Panthers are more multi-dimensional and perhaps even more dangerous. QB Evan Deig is completing an amazing 79 percent of his passes. For their part, the Knights were flat and out of synch in a season-opening loss at TH North, but on fire in first half against New Albany in surging to a 45-0 lead. QB Dayne Keller is in upper echeon of SIAC QBs and sophomore RB Jadrien Higginson is a revelation. But Castle must play the way it did the first half for an entire game against Reitz to stand a chance.

Prediction: Reitz 35, Castle 21

HARRISON (2-0) vs. Mater Dei (2-0), 7 p.m. Friday, Reitz Bowl
Kurtis Wilderman and Jackson Pokorney couldn’t have come up bigger last Saturday, hooking up for a 76-yard score to snap a tie and lift the ‘Cats to a 35-28 victory over then Class 3A No. 8-ranked Tri-West. Wilderman had to become more aggressive as the normally vaunted MD rushing attack was stonewalled. Harrison may be the surprise of the SIAC so far, with game-breakers galore, especially basketball player-turned football star C.J. Hedgepeth. But Warriors’ QB Ryan Hales sustained an undisclosed injury last Friday. His absence would eliminate any chance of Harrison pulling an upset over MD. Furthermore, the Warriors need more elite line play to hang with the Reitzses, Mater Deis and Castles.

Prediction: Mater Dei 42, Harrison 21

NORTH (1-1) vs. MEMORIAL (0-2), 7 p.m. Friday, Enlow Field
North got well last week, routing Indy Broad Ripple 50-14 as seven Huskies scored. After a solid showing against Jasper, Memorial regressed, losing 48-28 to Henderson County.

Prediction: North 21, Memorial 17

BOSSE (1-1) at CENTRAL (2-0), 7 p.m. Friday
After losing a winnable game against previously hapless Washington, the Bulldogs could go 0-fer the rest of the season, barring a favorable pairing in the first round of the 4A playoffs. Still stinging from posting its first losing season since 2004, Central should easily improve to 3-0. Like Castle’s Higginson, Bears’ junior Tias Stewart is a bona fide gamebreaker. Bama Hot, indeed.

Prediction: Central 42, Bosse 17

—Thanks for reading.

Last week: 6-2
Overall: 12-4.

Tell City football coach resigns, replaced by former assistant

Tell City football coach Ronnie Robinson resigned on Monday. Former assistant Josh Teague has been named interim head coach until the end of the season, according to a press release from the Tell City administration. The Marksmen, who are 0-2 this season, have been outscored 82-7. They will play at South Spencer on Friday. Robinson’s overall record at Tell City is 3-10.
Hirings and firings happen all the time. But what makes this interesting is that high school coaches don’t usually resign after two games into a season.