Center Grove can wrap up the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference title outright with a win over Lawrence North on Friday.
But that doesn’t make this week’s Warren Central at Carmel showdown any less enticing. The Class 6A second-ranked Greyhounds (5-2) are riding a four-game winning streak, while sixth-ranked Warren Central (5-2) has won five in a row after an 0-2 start.
The rivalry dates to 1959 with Carmel holding a 36-24-3 overall series lead. That advantage is built largely on a 10-game winning streak from 1974-83. Otherwise, it’s been back-and-forth.
Since 2007, Carmel is 7-5 against Warren Central. Only two of those 12 games have been decided by more than a touchdown – a 31-17 Carmel win in 2008 and a 37-27 Warren Central win in 2010.
This year’s game would appear to be another closely-contested matchup. Warren Central has cranked up its offense, averaging 42.4 points and 375 yards per game. Senior Jay Coe has rushed for at least 124 yards in all of his last four games and quarterback Zach Summeier is completing 66 percent of his passes for 1,258 yards and nine touchdowns.
Carmel’s only losses are to Cincinnati LaSalle, which is ranked No. 20 this week by USA TODAY, and to unbeaten Center Grove. Those losses came by a combined 10 points. The Greyhounds are led by senior quarterback Michael Viktrup (979 passing yards, 382 rushing yards), senior running back Tobias Watkins (647 rushing yards) and junior receiver Jalen Walker (425 yards, six TDs).
Prediction: This seems like the toss-up of toss-ups. I like Carmel’s defense to make a play late. Carmel 27, Warren Central 24.
Insider: A closer look at the 2015 IndyStar Mr. Football race
I was 37-9 (80.4 percent) last week to improve my season record to 239-62 (79.4 percent). For a look at predictions on all of the Week 8 area high school football games, visit IndyStar.com on Friday morning. Here are five other top area games:
Ben Davis (3-4) at Lawrence Central (3-4): Ben Davis was poised for a big win last week against Carmel before the Greyhounds rallied in the fourth quarter for a 35-21 win. Getting one here won’t be easy. Lawrence Central quarterback Andre Randolph (653 passing yards, 490 rushing yards) is one of the more explosive quarterbacks in the area. Randolph and Gerrid Doaks (1,240 yards, 15 TDs) make for a tough combination. Ben Davis 35, Lawrence Central 31.
Fishers (4-3) at Westfield (4-3): Fishers played tight with Cathedral for a half last week at Victory Field before things fell apart a bit in a 35-6 loss. The Tigers need to get the offense going. Westfield may be the right opponent. The Shamrocks have allowed 34, 59 and 35 points in three consecutive losses to Hamilton Southeastern, Brownsburg and Avon. Fishers 27, Westfield 21.
Heritage Christian (6-1) at Howe (4-3): Class 2A sixth-ranked Heritage Christian survived a 28-27 win over Lapel last week. Now it gets a matchup against another tough 2A opponent, a team it defeated 25-24 last season. Heritage Christian quarterback Jackson Heath (1,956 yards, 22 TDs) continues to put up big numbers. Heritage Christian 28, Howe 27.
Bishop Chatard (5-2) at Guerin Catholic (5-2): This is a potential matchup in Class 3A Sectional 29. Chatard is coming off a 27-23 loss last week to Cincinnati Winton Woods, while Guerin lost 21-16 to Brebeuf Jesuit. Chatard has won all five games in the series and none have been particularly close. Bishop Chatard 34, Guerin Catholic 16.
Roncalli (3-4) at Decatur Central (6-1): The Hawks have been on a roll since a Week 3 loss to Whiteland. Roncalli, a Class 4A program, hasn’t played another 4A program through eight weeks. Odd. Decatur Central 28, Roncalli 20.
Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.