High school football is coming to Victory Field for the first time on Friday night.
Class 6A fourth-ranked Cathedral (4-2) will meet ninth-ranked Fishers (4-2) as part of the two-game Victory Field Classic. On Oct. 16, Brownsburg will play Hamilton Southeastern at the home of the Indianapolis Indians.
While the backdrop will be unique, the Cathedral-Fishers matchup would be intriguing anywhere. Cathedral is unbeaten against in-state opponents, but hasn’t yet played another top-10 opponent in Class 6A. A win here would solidify the Irish as a serious state title contender (as would a win over Center Grove in the regular-season finale).
A scary thought on Cathedral: several of its best players will be back next year, some the next two years. Top rushers Markese Stepp (497 yards) and Tony Johnson (330 yards) are a sophomore and junior, respectively. Top receivers Luke Sanders (430 yards) and Daijon Collins (214 yards) are a junior and sophomore, respectively. Top offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor is a sophomore. On the defensive side, safety Ben Stewart (37 tackles) is a junior and Jackson Barrow (six tackles for a loss) is a sophomore.
In this case, thank goodness the Indiana High School Athletic Association added the tournament success factor. It doesn’t make sense for Cathedral to be playing in a lower classification in football.
Prediction: Fishers has lost two of its last three and is battling some key injuries. Cathedral’s only losses are to Cincinnati Moeller and St. Xavier, two of Ohio’s top programs. Cathedral 28, Fishers 21.
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Grounds Crew (@INDYINDIANSTURF) September 30, 2015
I had a big week last week at 37-5 (88.1 percent) to improve to 202-53 (79.2 percent) on the season. For all of Friday’s area picks, visit IndyStar.com on Friday morning. Here’s a look at five of the other top area games this weekend (7 p.m. Friday unless noted):
Carmel (4-2) at Ben Davis (3-3): The last time these teams met, Ben Davis was running away in the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium for a 42-24 win in the Class 6A state championship. Ben Davis sophomore Reese Taylor was 17-for-24 passing last week for 310 yards in a 35-14 win over Lawrence North. Standout RB Chris Evans caught seven passes for 123 yards. Carmel has won three in a row after a 51-0 drubbing of North Central last week. Carmel 31, Ben Davis 24.
Westfield (4-2) at Avon (4-2): After losing a heartbreaker late to Hamilton Southeastern in Week 3, Avon has rebounded with three resounding wins. Westfield is coming off back-to-back losses to HSE and Brownsburg. Avon 42, Westfield 28.
HS football: Week 7 Associated Press rankings
Guerin Catholic (5-1) at Brebeuf Jesuit (4-2): These teams notched two of the most impressive wins of last week. Guerin won its fourth game in a row, knocking off a hot Greenwood team 31-21. Brebeuf knocked off Roncalli in a 17-10 double-overtime defensive slugfest. Brebeuf Jesuit 17, Guerin Catholic 14.
Shelbyville (6-0) at New Palestine (6-0), 7:30 p.m.: For reference, New Pal beat Shelbyville 72-3 last season. The Golden Bears are improved. But that is a lot of ground to make up in one year. The last time Shelbyville was 6-0 was 2009. New Palestine ended the streak that year. New Palestine 49, Shelbyville 21.
Decatur Central (5-1) at Greenwood (4-2): Decatur Central’s Tyrone Tracy (549 rushing yards, 434 receiving yards) is putting up huge numbers. Decatur Central 33, Greenwood 23.