Reitz now the team to beat in the SIAC race


CENTRAL (3-0, 1-0) at REITZ (3-0, 1-0), 7 p.m. Friday
I picked Reitz over Castle last week primarily because the game was at the Bowl. I was duly impressed by how much the Panthers dominated. At this point, they’ve become the team to beat in the SIAC race, unless Mater Dei’s quarterbacks suddenly become more proficient throwing the ball. The Central-Reitz game pits a pair of backs who both surpassed 200 yards rushing last week in Isaiah Kemper and Malik Higgins, who ran wild after moving from slotback to tailback midway through the second quarter. I don’t see how Central can stop the Panthers’ offense. Reitz moved up one notch to No. 6 in the AP Class 4A poll. (Note: IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox informed Central coach Andy Owen that he considers North Oldham canceling week 1 game a forfeit, so Central is 3-0 instead of 2-0).

Prediction: Reitz 38, Central 24

BOSSE (1-2, 0-1) at CASTLE (1-2, 0-1), 7 p.m. Friday
After blanking Reitz 17-0 last year, Castle turned around and lost 40-33 to Bosse. You would think Doug Hurt will be reminding the Knights of that all this week in practice. Stung by Reitz’s dominance last week, Castle can’t wait to turn it around. Sophomore quarterback Dayne Keller experienced growing pains, throwing four picks, along with passing for more than 200 yards. Bosse has trouble playing good defense against good teams.

Prediction: Castle 35, Bosse 24

MATER DEI (3-0, 1-0) vs. MEMORIAL (1-2, 1-0), Owen Stadium, 7 p.m. Friday
The parochial rivals are meeting for the second time in three weeks. Because both had problems finding a nonconference opponent for week 2, they decided to play each other. Mater Dei prevailed, 28-14, at the Bowl. Two weeks later, the Wildcats appear considerable favorites once again, at Owen Stadium. But their passing game is still suspect, if they have aspirations of advancing deep into the playoffs. Even in a 49-21 romp over Harrison, Kurtis Wilderman and Rob Bow were a combined 4-for-7 for 49 yards (obviously they didn’t need to pass much against the Warriors). Mater Dei remains No. 1 in Class 2A.

Prediction: Mater Dei 31, Memorial 21

NORTH (0-3, 0-1) at HARRISON (2-1, 0-1), 7 p.m. Friday
This is a huge game for the Huskies. This might be one of North’s few chances to gain a “W,” and that chance appears relatively slim. Memorial entered last week’s game winless and rolled to a 28-6 win over the Huskies. Harrison could improve to 3-1 for the first time since the 2004 team went on to finish 7-5. Only a junior, versatile Ryan Hales could be the best quarterback in the conference.

Prediction: Harrison 38, North 21

Last week: 4-0
Overall: 16-2.

Thanks for reading.

–Gordon Engelhardt

Call Castle-Reitz matchup a tossup in SIAC opener

Below are my predictions for Week 3, the first week of Southern Indiana Athletic Conference play.

CASTLE (1-1) at REITZ (2-0), 7 p.m. Friday
It may sound crazy saying this entering the opening week of SIAC play, but if recent history is any indication, the winner of this game could well challenge Mater Dei for the league title. Castle is the only team the current crop of Reitz seniors have not beaten. The Panthers also haven’t forgotten their 17-0 loss last year at Castle. “It was one of those games you never want to be a part of,” said Reitz coach Andy Hape, who blamed himself for not getting his team ready to play. The Panthers may boast the best athlete in the league in Malik Higgins, who caught 10 passes for 202 yards, including three touchdowns, in a 35-23 win at Paducah Tilghman. On the other hand, Castle’s Christian Peach broke his own single-game school rushing record with 386 yards on 38 carries, including five scores, in a 55-34 victory at New Albany. Athletic but inconsistent 6-foot-5 Will Randell was replaced at quarterback by steady sophomore Dayne Keller, who was 7-for-14 for 91 yards with two TDs and no interceptions against the Bulldogs. Castle could be stung by the absence of center Brycen Ratcliffe, who is serving a one-game suspension after being ejected against New Albany. Reitz is ranked No. 7 in the Class 4A AP poll while the Knights received honorable mention in 5A. Call this one a tossup.

Prediction: Reitz 28, Castle 27

CENTRAL (1-0) at BOSSE (1-1), 7 p.m. Friday
Playing one less game than their SIAC opponents through no fault of their own, the Bears made up for lost time, posting a 33-14 win over Paoli. Senior cornerback Rasheide Bell raced more than 100 yards with an interception for a score, underscoring Central’s obvious athleticism. Whether the Bears can play good enough defense to challenge the conference’s elite is another question. Like Central, Bosse has speed, but is suspect defensively. The Bulldogs also lack Central’s depth. The Bears have not 13 in a row in this series.

Prediction: Central 42, Bosse 28

MATER DEI (2-0) at HARRISON (2-0), 7 p.m. Friday
The Warriors are 2-0 for the first time since 2004, but could get a wakeup call against Mater Dei. On the other hand, let it be noted that I did not give the top-ranked Wildcats a first-place vote in the 2A Associated Press poll this week; I picked them third, behind Indianapolis Scecina and Lafayette Central Catholic. Mater Dei received 15 first-place votes among 23 writers and broadcasters sending in ballots throughout the state in being ranked No. 1 for the first time this season. Quarterbacks Rob Bow and Kurtis Wilderman were a combined 2-for-15 passing for 25 yards in a 28-14 win over Memorial last week, which ain’t gonna get it done against a quality opponent. On the other hand, Bow showed promise on the ground, gaining 60 yards rushing on 10 carries. The ‘Cats have won nine straight in this series.

Prediction: Mater Dei 41, Harrison 24

MEMORIAL (0-2) at NORTH (0-2), 7 p.m. Friday
One thing is for certain, one of these teams will no longer be 0-for after this game (forgive me, I couldn’t help myself). Memorial boasts athletic running back McKinley Warren and wide receiver Ja’Von Langley, which could prove to be the difference against the Huskies.

Prediction: Memorial 21, North 17

Last week: 7-0
Overall: 12-2

Thanks for reading.

–Gordon Engelhardt