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Indiana HS Football: SIAC Predictions!

Indiana high school football starts this Friday and being a native Hoosier, I’m previewing my old stomping grounds, THE SIAC! SIAC stands for Southern Indiana Athletic Conference and is based in Evansville, IN. It’s an 8-team conference. The one lone exception to the Evansville rule is Castle which resides in Newburgh, IN.

The SIAC had a good season in 2009 as Reitz won the Class 4A state championship and Memorial played in the Class 3A championship game coming up just short. Mater Dei won their class 2A sectional while Castle played in their sectional championship game, but falling by 10 points. The one scar on the SIAC currently is Harrison who is in the midst of a 31-game losing streak that has now spanned 4 different seasons! It’s incredible. Can they make it 4 straight years of 0-10 seasons!? Here is my breakdown and predicted order of finish.

#1 Evansville Reitz is heading into its 3rd year under HC Tony Lewis. Lewis took over for the Panthers when John Hart left after the state champion ’07 season to take over at Indiana powerhouse Warren Central. Lewis led Reitz to their 2nd Class 4A Championship in 3 years after beating Lowell 23-9 at Lucas Oil. Over their last 3 years, Reitz is 39-2! Offensively the Panthers return their star in QB Matt McIntosh. McIntosh is a Northern Illinois commit who threw for 1,738 yards last year including 24TD to 8INT. He also ran for 1,056 & 13TD. McIntosh gets all of his receivers back too in Cuda Dimmiett, Jeff Hudson & Morgan Jones. Hudson had over 800 total yards last year while Jones is a particularly big WR at 6’2/160lbs. Reitz should be fairly big on the offensive line. They’ll average about 6’0/290lbs. Defensively the Panthers allowed just 8.7ppg last year & they lose Tony Ewers (6’3/219lbs; 120tackles/13sacks) & Brandon Kemp (6’3/212lbs; 128tackles/10sacks). They do return some thump though in Shane Woodget (6’3/207lbs; 91tackles/10.5sacks), Damion James (5’10/185lbs; 85tackles/9.5sacks) & Jeff Fentress (6’1/200lbs; 99tackles/11.5sacks). Last year the Panthers outscored their opponents by 30ppg, made a mockery of the SIAC and were never really challenged in the state playoffs. Expect more of the same in 2010. Unless everyone in Class 4A got appreciably better, it looks like Reitz is gearing up for their 3rd state title in 4-years & their 2nd straight. It’s a West Side Dynasty! (Note: Average size of player on Reitz roster = 5’11/185lbs)
#2 It’s a little difficult to get a feel for the Castle Knights on the internet. I’ve seen people pick them as high as #2 & as low as #6. I have them #2 in the SIAC. The Knights went 8-4 last season and have a record of 26-10 over the past 3 seasons including a sectional title in ’08. Like Reitz, Castle brings back its starting QB in Schuyler Cooper. Cooper passed for 1,809 yards last year with 13TD to 9INT. He also ran for 387 yards & 6TD. Helping him is RB Logan Hayford who ran for 1400 yards last season (5.3ypc) & 17TD. Castle loses its top-2 WRs Kurt Evans & Trey Smith return. Alex McGhee is a 6’3/190lbs kid listed as WR on the roster, but didn’t have any catches in ’09. The O-Line should average about 6’0/256lbs so about 40lbs lighter than Reitz. It was tough to get defensive statistics on Castle. Last year they gave up 21.2ppg and it looks like they lose a couple of key contributors in Travis Daugherty & Alex Rosebrock. However, Castle looks like they’ll have a good secondary though with players such as DeAndre Andrews & Joey Conti. Austin Current was Castle’s leading tackler a year ago and Morgan Lemond returns on the D-Line where he led the team with 8 tackles for loss. I could see Central being #2, but Castle beat Central 31-7 last season & the gap doesn’t seem to have closed that much. Doug Hurt got his boys to the class 5A sectional championship last season where they lost 42-32 to Floyd Central. If the defense tightens up, Castle should be able to get into the regional. (Note: Average size of player on Castle roster = 5’10/183lbs)
#3 The Evansville Central Bears are a class 4A school in Indiana which puts them in the same sectional as Reitz. That means they aren’t going to be winning any sectional titles anytime soon. Still there is a lot to be excited about for HC Andy Owen. Jacob Hester returns at QB after throwing for 1,202 yards & 65% with 10TD & 2INT as a sophomore in ’09! Helping him is All-State WR Dyris Haywood who at 6’0/170lbs is drawing interest from Big 10 & SEC schools! Haywood caught 66 balls for 941 yards last year including 7TD. The offense loses RB Jaleel Fox (1,303yards/6TD), but Tyrece Strong (378yards/7.7ypc/2TD) is ready to answer the call. I can only guess with the offensive line, but it looks like it’ll be lead by Brett Bowman (6’2/315lbs) & Ryan Greist (6’5/255lbs). The O-Line should average 6’1/280lbs putting it up there with Reitz. Central averaged 25ppg last season, but with more stability at QB and Haywood being the best players in the SIAC, that number should go up considerably. I can’t guess on defense. Unlike Reitz & Castle, there is no alum at Central that operates a fancy website with historical game information. The Bears did allow 27ppg last year. They played Castle & Reitz three times last year and were outscored 121-21. I’m calling for 3rd place. It doesn’t seem like the gap closed that much between Castle or Reitz. Central is a pretty big squad with big expectations, but they are playing in the wrong class sectional. (Note: Average size of player on Central roster = 5’11/187lbs)
#4 Mater Dei is led by a veteran coach in Mike Goebel who enters his 14th season at the helm. Only Evansville North’s Mike Wilson has been in the SIAC longer. Goebel has an incredible track record to boot being 123-42 during that period of time. The Wildcats are the only Class 2A school in the SIAC which means they play against bigger schools all year long and generally do well in the state playoffs when they get to play teams that are their size. Despite a 4-5 regular season last year, Mater Dei won their sectional in convincing fashion before losing to Paoli 14-7 in the regional which would have put them in the semi-state, 1 game away from a state championship! There is no all Mater Dei football site so I don’t have a good grasp of where they are at this season. They scored 24ppg last year but gave up 23. Their “best” case record was 11-2 and they only won a couple of close games. It doesn’t look like they’ve lost much. Reitz blew them out 59-0 but they lost to Castle & Central by a combined 4 points. Things could go either way, but I’ll call for the Wildcats to finish 4th in the SIAC, but this is another team from the conference that should win their sectional title which would give the SIAC 3 teams (Classes 5A, 4A & 2A) with sectional titles. (NOTE: Average size of player on Mater Dei roster = 5’10/176lbs)
#5 Evansville Memorial is coming off an outstanding season that saw the Tigers finish the year 11-4 with a Class 3A state championship appearance. Memorial would lose to West Lafayette 24-10 to prevent Evansville from having 2 state champions in 2009. The Tigers also lost the state championship game in 2008 when they fell just short losing to Belmont 28-14. Offensively the losses are huge for Memorial. QB Grant Gribbins (3,193yards/33TD/13INT), RB Ryan Hatler (1,231yards/11TD) & WR Jon Wandling (1,247yards/7TD) are gone from an offense that averaged 32ppg! Massive regression should be expected. These guys were 33-7 over the last 2 seasons with a couple of state title appearances. It looks like Ryan Burkart will replace Gribbins at QB, Garret Block/Sam Curtis will replace Hatler & RB while Bryce Leuken tries to replace Wandling. Memorial does return TE Steven Scheu who at 6’5/225lbs is getting quite a bit of interest from D1 schools. I don’t have a really good feel for how Memorial’s defense will play out because I couldn’t find any defensive stats, but they did allow only 19ppg last year. The losses on offense however are pretty much crippling. There is no way Memorial can expect another 11-12 win season and a state championship berth. HC John Hurley is in his 3rd season at the helm so all he knows is state championship games. Regression will be in the making, but they’ll be able to stay ahead of the SIAC bottom feeders. (Note: Average size of player on Memorial roster = 5’10/179lbs)
#6 Evansville North is the other Class 5A school along with Castle. Historically North has basically been the most disappointing team in the SIAC given its size and complete lack of a winning traidition. They had an incredible run in 1995 when Deke Cooper was an All-State player, but outside of that North hasn’t been too good. Last year was no different as North went 3-7, posting their 4th losing season in 6 years. Their last sectional championship was in 2000. Offensively North has quite a bit coming back. QB Luke Blankenship returns as does RB Richard Compton. Unless the stats I have are vastly wrong, North actually didn’t spend too much time with the ball last year. They gave up 29ppg on defense and only scored 19 themselves. North’s O-Line averages 6’0/286lbs which is pretty stout and just a shade below what Reitz brings to the table. The Huskies are actually on average the biggest team in the SIAC so it’ll be interesting to see how they fare in 2010. North did manage to beat Central last year and almost beat Mater Dei. They were blown out by Reitz, Castle & Memorial by a combined score of 109-19. The losses don’t look to be huge for HC Mike Wilson who enters his 22nd season at North. Still, North has a habit of underachieving & Wilson has never been a guy who coaches them up. With Castle in the mix in Class 5A, it doesn’t look like North will be winning a sectional title. (Note: Average size of player on North roster = 5’11/197lbs)
#7 Evansville Bosse hasn’t had a winning season since 2000! That means they’ve had a losing record for 9 straight years! The Bulldogs have gone through quite an evolution since my days in the SIAC. They are perpetual doormats who have been relegated to Class 3A and struggle mightily with depth. A school that used to be known for outstanding athletes is now not to be feared all that much. I don’t have much information on Bosse, but I do know they lost their top QB in Joe Frazier, their top RBs in Josh Pendleton & Jordan Diggs, and their #2 WR in Trevor Smith. For a squad that struggles to find players in the first place, they can’t lose all their offensive playmakers and expect to win games. Colin Bridges does return, but he needs a QB to throw him the ball. The O-Line should average around 6’0/225lbs making it the 2nd smallest in the SIAC. Defensively I don’t have any statistics, but the Bulldogs gave up 32ppg last year which doesn’t bode well. This is a very small team without much depth. Putting them at #7 seems high, but I’ve read in a couple of newspapers where Bosse could be a surprise team in the SIAC with a possible finish as high as 4th! I’m not willing to go that high. (Note: Average size of player on Bosse roster = 5’10/187lbs)
#8 The Evansville Harrison Warriors are currently in a streak that has seen them lose 31 straight games! If you are from Evansville and understand a bit about Evansville high school sports history, the statement I just made completely boggles the mind! Harrison has always been a great athletics school and seeing them like this is incredible! It’s really odd. The drop has been pretty fast too. From 1995-1999 Harrison went 44-13. Since then they’ve sunk faster than the Titanic! In that 31-game span, Harrison on average has been outscored 42-13! What happened? Did kids from the east side of town start playing lacrosse or something? Maybe the stats I have are right, but it at least looks like Harrison lost their best RB in Darius Henderson and their top-2 receivers in Dominique Fields & Ethan Collins. They also lose do everything Javier Hawkins who passed for 549 yards and also combined for 580 total yards as a RB/WR hybrid with 7TD. Jamey Malvern returns at QB, but he completed 26.1% of his passes last year with 6TD to 7INT. The O-Line looks to average 5’11/229lbs which is by far the smallest unit in the SIAC. I don’t know where to begin defensively, but a squad who has given up 42ppg over a 3-year period can’t be good. Oddly enough the seniors for Harrison have never won a game. If Harrison pulls off another 0-10 season, how many seniors can say they went 0-40 as a high school football player!? Harrison’s situation is simply unbelievable. (Note: Average size of player on Harrison’s roster = 5’11/183lbs)

August 16, 2010 - Posted by | High School Football, Indiana, SIAC


  1. This may be the best thing you've ever written.

    Comment by Anonymous | August 16, 2010 | Reply

  2. I agree completely!

    Comment by College Football Mafia | August 17, 2010 | Reply

  3. Just found your blog and bookmarked your site. Interesting read in hindsight you were pretty much right on the money with the exception of MD which had a great season. I look forward to your take on next year. With the loss of the last McIntosh, things will be interesting next year in the SIAC.

    Comment by Anonymous | November 28, 2010 | Reply

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