In case you haven’t noticed, after this weekend there will be just two – TWO! – games left in the high school football regular season.
With six weeks in the books, it seems like a good time to hit the reset button, take a quick look back as well as a glance ahead to the final two months of the season.
First, a few awards for the first month-and-a-half of the season among Central Indiana teams:
Best team: Center Grove, by a nose or two.
The Class 6A top-ranked Trojans (6-0) have compiled the most impressive resume, knocking off Warren Central, Ben Davis and Carmel – all top-10 teams. The wins over Warren Central and Carmel came by a combined seven points, so it’s not like Center Grove is lapping the field here. But you take wins in the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference any way you can get them and the Trojans should take plenty of confidence from those victories.
Jovan Swann is a dominant force at defensive tackle. His partner on the line, Cameron Tidd, is awfully good as well. Offensive coordinators look to avoid those guys when calling plays. The offensive isn’t flashy but running back Titus McCoy always seems to get the job done and quarterback Joey Siderewicz keeps defenses honest through the air.
Center Grove has Pike and Lawrence North before closing the regular season at home against Cathedral. A sweep would give the Trojans their first unbeaten regular season in 20 years.
Next in line: I have Carmel as the No. 2 team on my 6A ballot. The Greyhounds (4-2) have lost by a touchdown to unbeaten Cincinnati LaSalle – ranked No. 20 nationally this week by USA Today – and 24-21 to Center Grove. First-year coach John Hebert’s team beat Hamilton Southeastern by three touchdowns in the opener and the Royals haven’t lost since. The next three weeks – at Ben Davis, Warren Central, at Lawrence Central – will tell us more about Carmel.
I’d put Cathedral, Warren Central and HSE next in line.
Most surprising team: Shelbyville. The Golden Bears were 5-6 last year and haven’t won more than six games in a season since 2009. Led by junior quarterback John Lux (1,094 passing yards, 13 TDs) and senior running back Deshaun French (946 yards, 13 TDs), Shelbyville has a pair of one-point wins over Greensburg and Delta.
The streak probably ends this week against Class 5A top-ranked New Palestine, but the Golden Bears should be a factor in Class 4A Sectional 23.
Best game of the season: There have been some good ones already but Hamilton Southeastern’s amazing rally for a 39-33 win over rival Fishers on Sept. 11 is hard to top. The Royals trailed 28-0 at halftime before mounting a furious comeback, scoring four touchdowns in a seven-minute span of the second half. HSE is now 5-1 and sitting pretty at No. 5 in Class 6A.
Most impressive individual performance:McCoy’s 301-yard rushing game in Center Grove’s 44-26 win over Lawrence Central was impressive, as was Avon’s Brandon Peters going for 390 passing yards and four TDs in a 49-42 loss to Ben Davis.
But I’ll go with Warren Central’s Jay Coe – generously listed at 5-6 – and his all-round performance in a 45-28 win over Ben Davis on Sept. 18. Coe made big plays from multiple spots on the field, including throwing his small frame into the meat of the defense for tough yards. He finished with 133 yards on 24 carries and three TDs and also caught three passes for 87 yards and a score.
Mr. Football race: Avon’s Peters, a Michigan recruit, is putting up big numbers (64 percent completion rate, 1,602 passing yards, 21-to-2 touchdown-to-interception rate). Ben Davis running back Chris Evans, also a Michigan recruit, has rushed for 466 yards and eight touchdowns and caught 29 passes for 434 yards and three TDs. Winchester’s Kiante Enis, yet another Michigan recruit, has rushed for 1,087 yards and 12 TDs and caught six passes for 200 yards and two TDs. New Palestine’s Alex Neligh (1,148 passing yards, 16 TDs and 945 rushing yards, 15 TDs) also deserves mention. We’ll take a closer look at this race after the regular season.
HS football: ESPN spotlight no problem for Avon, Peters
Games to look forward to: With the sectional draw coming on Oct. 11, we’ll soon have the tournament road mapped out for us. Some of the best potential sectional matchups: Carmel-HSE in Sectional 4, Avon-Ben Davis in Sectional 5 and Cathedral-Lawrence Central in Sectional 6. How about a Cathedral-Avon or Cathedral-Ben Davis regional? Or Center Grove-Warren Central in the regional? In 5A, a New Palestine-Columbus East showdown in Sectional 14 is looming. Zionsville-Decatur Central would be a good one in Sectional 13. In 3A, Bishop Chatard looks like the team to beat but is in a tough Sectional 29 with Brebeuf Jesuit, Guerin Catholic and Tri-West. In 2A, Sectional 37 looks balanced with Cardinal Ritter, Scecina and Heritage Christian.
Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.