Below are my selections for Week 1. Please feel free to make your own picks.
HENDERSON COUNTY at REITZ, 7 p.m. Friday
It’s ironic that Tony Lewis is making his Colonels’ debut against his former team, Reitz, at the Bowl. Lewis was also a Reitz assistant under Bob Gaddis when current Panthers coach Andy Hape was an all-state offensive lineman. Lewis and Hape insist the talk should center around the players, not themselves. Reitz has won four in a row in this series, but the last two have been close. The Panthers should have a slim edge because it’s at the Bowl.
Prediction: Reitz 28, Henderson County 24
CASTLE vs. TERRE HAUTE NORTH, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Lucas Oil, Horseshoe Classic at Indianapolis
This game has extra impact because they could meet again in the revamped Class 5A Sectional 16. Knights are ranked No. 3 in AP’s Class 5A preseason poll while THN is No. 8. Castle lost a ton of talent from last year’s team, but coach Doug Hurt has more than 90 players out and is confident his team is reloading. THN returns two starters on offense and seven on defense from a 6-5 team.
Prediction: Castle 34, Terre Haute North 24
BOSSE at JEFFERSONVILLE, 6:30 p.m. Friday
Bosse returns Carrington Crutcher, one of the finest running backs in the state, but he needs help for the Bulldogs to become more well-rounded. They have struggled in the past on defense and Jeff scored 50 points or more six times last year. Red Devils moved up to Class 6A; Bosse is a 3A school.
Prediction: Jeffersonville 45, Bosse 21
CENTRAL at NORTH OLDHAM, Ky., 20/20 Bowl, 7 p.m. Friday
Like Bosse, Central has an exceptionally talented back in Avion Sullivan, who should get more help from his teammates than Crutcher. Bears only return two starters on defense from a 6-4 team, but coach Andy Owen is confident in their replacements.
Prediction: Central 38, North Oldham 21
WEST VIGO at HARRISON, 6:30 p.m. Friday
Harrison cannot wait for this rematch. Last year, the Warriors routed West Vigo 52-7 on the field, but had to forfeit for using an ineligible player. It also marks the debut of new Harrison coach Cory Brunson, former offensive coordinator at Reitz. Brunson has gotten about 50 guys out, but Warriors will still be a work in progress.
Prediction: Harrison 38, West Vigo 20
MATER DEI at HERITAGE HILLS, 7 p.m. Friday
This used to be one of the better city vs. area matchups, but Mater Dei had begun to dominate the Patriots even before Bob Clayton retired as coach. Wildcats, ranked No. 3 in Class 2A, are seeking their third successive trip to semistate. Heritage Hills quarterback Logan Wilkerson, son of coach Todd Wilkerson, tore his ACL playing basketball last winter and isn’t expected to return until the third or fourth week.
Prediction: Mater Dei 35, Heritage Hills 17
MEMORIAL at JASPER, 6:30 p.m. Friday
Jasper has won eight in a row in this series and it won’t get any easier this time around. Wildcats boast talented quarterback Nolan Ahrens and game-breaking tight end Austin Alles. Memorial needs to build a more well-rounded attack around talented running back McKinley Warren.
Prediction: Jasper 28, Memorial 14
TERRE HAUTE SOUTH at NORTH, 7 p.m. Friday
North has only nine seniors, but has added quarterback Jesse Millikan, son of former Bedford North Lawrence offensive coordinator Tim Millikan, who followed BNL head coach Bret Szabo to North. Call this one a tossup.
Prediction: North 24, Terre Haute South 17