One of the more intriguing games of the final week of the high school football regular season will be played in a baseball stadium.
Brownsburg (4-4) will meet Class 6A No. 5 Hamilton Southeastern (7-1) in the second game of the Victory Field Gridiron Classic on Friday (the first was Cathedral’s 35-6 win over Fishers two weeks ago).
After three consecutive losses in the series, HSE has blanked Brownsburg by a combined score of 73-0 the last two seasons. A third consecutive shutout will be a difficult task.
Brownsburg has won its last three games by scores of 59-30 (Westfield), 66-41 (Zionsville) and 47-24 (Noblesville). Junior quarterback Hunter Johnson, a Tennessee recruit, has passed for 922 yards with 14 touchdowns and one interception during that span. Senior running back Toks Akinribade (1,202 rushing yards, 15 touchdowns) and senior receiver Tyler Kirtz (61 catches for 989 yards and 15 TDs) are having huge seasons.
But this will be Brownsburg’s toughest opponent since losing 37-23 to Fishers on Sept. 18. HSE has won seven in a row since a season-opening loss to Carmel. Senior quarterback Carter Poiry (1,585 passing yards, 10 touchdowns) has teamed up often with receivers Greg Miller (39 catches, 561 yards) and Aaron Matio (24 catches, 478 yards) and defensive lineman Collin Miller has 16 tackles for a loss.
Prediction: This will be a good test before tough sectional matchups next week for both teams. HSE will face rival Fishers while Brownsburg takes on Avon. HSE 34, Brownsburg 27.
10 storylines for the state HS football tournament
I was 38-5 last week (88.4 percent) on the predictions to improve to 277-67 (80.5 percent) on the season. Check IndyStar.com on Friday morning for a look at all of the Week 9 area predictions. Here’s a look at five other top games (kickoff 7 p.m. Friday):
Cathedral (6-2) at Center Grove (8-0): The top-ranked Trojans get a heck of a test in the regular-season finale against the fourth-ranked Irish. Center Grove won last year’s meeting, 44-38, and both teams are better this season. Both teams like to run the ball but it may come down to which senior quarterback – Cathedral’s Max Bortenschlager or Center Grove’s Joey Siderewicz – can hit more big plays in the passing game. Will this be the first of two meetings? These teams could meet again in the semistate round. Center Grove 35, Cathedral 28.
Cincinnati St. Xavier (5-2) at Warren Central (5-3), 7:30 p.m.: Warren Central lost 23-14 last year at St. Xavier. The Warriors were close earlier this season against another Cincinnati power, losing 27-16 at Colerain. Jay Coe (815 rushing yards, 18 TDs and 31 catches for 383 yards and three TDs) is putting together quite a season. St. Xavier 24, Warren Central 21.
Bishop Chatard football to host its first home game
Whiteland (6-2) at Greenwood (5-3): Whiteland leaned on a strong defensive performance and a big night from senior Brandon Patterson (156 yards on 21 carries) last week in a 17-7 win over Plainfield. Whiteland has won three in a row in this series. Whiteland 24, Greenwood 14.
Westfield (4-4) at Brebeuf Jesuit (5-3): Westfield has lost four in a row for the first time since a 3-7 season in 2012. Brebeuf has Bishop Chatard on deck next week in a Class 3A sectional. Westfield 28, Brebeuf Jesuit 24.
Insider: Kyle’s Week 9 AP high school football ballot