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A Look Ahead to the Indiana State Playoffs for the SIAC

With the high school season being half over, let’s take a look at the road each team in the SIAC (and Washington!) has to travel in the state playoffs & their toughest opponents they could potentially face. As for rankings, I’ll use Jeff Sagarin’s rankings when I am referring to where a team is ranked. Let’s start with Class 5A & work our way down. I’m going with the teams most likely to do damage in the playoffs in each class. Thus I’m going to use Castle for Class 5A instead of Evansville North. Obviously North would have to get through Castle & if that were the case then the tough regional & semi-state matchups would be the same obviously.

CASTLE (Ranked #18 in the state; Ranked #14 in Class 5A)

Castle isn’t getting much love from the Sagarin rankings although the media has them now at #5 in Class 5A. The Knights will be placed in Sectional 8 of Class 5A. Their toughest opponent at this time is Jeffersonville (Ranked #44 in the state & #27 in Class 5A). The Red Devils are 3-2, but would be 4-1 if they didn’t have to forfeit a game earlier this season. As you can see, Sectional 8 is extremely weak. Castle couldn’t get out of sectionals last year, and it would be a GIGANTIC disappointment if they missed out on a sectional championship this season. Last year they went 9-0 in the regular season & are well on their way to a 2nd consecutive perfect regular season.

Regionals will be a different story for Castle. The toughest opponent they could face there would be Center Grove (Ranked #8 in the state & #6 in Class 5A). Center Grove has had an outstanding season so far at 4-1. Their only loss came against Carmel who Sagarin has as the 3rd best team in the entire state. They had some trouble with Terre Haute North which is odd, but overall, Castle will have their hands full with Center Grove & a regional championship is very far from a sure thing. Franklin Central (#39 in the state & #23 in Class 5A) & Martinsville (#48 in the state & #30 in Class 5A) could also be potential opponents for Castle should Center Grove be upset in sectional play. Castle has to be hoping for an upset if they want an easy road to semi-state.

Semi-State will be BRUTAL for the Knights. Potential opponents at semi-state include:

Lawrence Central (#1 in the state & #1 in Class 5A)
Ben Davis (#2 in the state & #2 in Class 5A)
Carmel (#3 in the state & #3 in Class 5A)
Warren Central (#5 in the state & #4 in Class 5A)
Pike (#7 in the state & #5 in Class 5A)

You get the picture. If Castle can get to the state championship they should win by default as the road to Lucas Oil certainly goes through the tough Indianapolis based teams.

EVANSVILLE CENTRAL (#73 in the state & #18 in Class 4A); EVANSVILLE REITZ (#83 in the state & #20 in Class 4A)

I lumped Central & Reitz in together because they are so close. Both teams will start in Sectional 16 of Class 4A. The toughest opponent there is Jasper who ranks #47 in the state & #9 in Class 4A. Jasper is a solid team, but they’ve had some difficulties at time scoring points. Clearly Central & Reitz are ranked lower than the Wildcats, but both Reitz & Central play much more difficult schedules which could come into play in the playoffs. What would really be great is if Central or Reitz had a solid defense, but neither team has been particularly effective in stopping opponents from scoring. The rest of Sectional 16 is a joke. This is a top heavy sectional that could get bloody especially if one of these teams has to go through the other two before advancing.

Regionals are going to be difficult. Columbus East (#19 in the state & #3 in Class 4A) is the best team in Sectional 15. The Olympians are absolutely hammering teams on average by a 41-15 margin. Columbus East beat Evansville Central 49-0 in last year’s regional final before getting destroyed by Indianapolis Cathedral 62-7 in the semi-state. Even without Gunner Kiel under center, East is looking at a return date with Cathedral. East Central (#32 in the state & #6 in Class 4A) is another possibility should they be able to beat Columbus East in a potential Sectional 15 championship game. They’ve been putting the beat down on teams although their schedule is a little soft. They’ll play Indianapolis Roncalli in their season finale which will tell us a lot more about them. Even so, both Columbus East & East Central are higher ranked teams either Reitz & Central could face in regionals. That’s assuming of course they get past Jasper in Sectional 16.

Semi-State for Reitz & Central looks a lot like Semi-State for Castle. The two toughest teams they’ll potentially have to face is Indianapolis Cathedral (#4 in the state & #1 in Class 4A) & Indianapolis Roncalli (#14 in the state & #2 in Class 4A). Roncalli’s only loss was a double-OT game against Indianapolis Chatard who is the best team in Class 3A. Cathedral has lost 3 games, but those losses have come to Chatard, Ben Davis & Cincinnati St. Xavier. Keep in mind that Catheral has a win over Warren Central this season! I don’t see how Central or Reitz gets out of regionals, but if they get to Semi-State and plays Cathedral or Roncalli, things might get extremely ugly.

EVANSVILLE MEMORIAL (#106 in the state & #18 in Class 3A)

Memorial will open up play in Sectional 24 of Class 3A. This sectional is pretty soft & I think Memorial will continue to look better & better now that their schedule gets a little easier. Their toughest opponents in Sectional 24 looks to be Vincennes (#151 in the state & #28 in Class 3A), Gibson Southern (#162 in the state & #30 in Class 3A) and Evansville Bosse (#202 in the state & #39 in Class 3A). Memorial has already beaten Bosse this season 42-14, and I wouldn’t expect any of the other teams to put up much of a fight. Vincennes & Gibson Southern won’t play the schedule that Memorial has played all season long & I think a back like McKinley Warren is good enough to win a sectional championship on his own playing against a soft schedule.

Regionals will be a bit more difficult with Charleston (#69 in the state & #9 in Class 3A) being the toughest opponent. Sectional 23 has a couple of other good teams in Heritage Hills (#107 in the state & #19 in Class 3A), Corydon (#149 in the state & #27 in Class 3A) & Brownstown Central (#182 in the state & #36 in Class 3A). Sectional 23 is a bit tough so Memorial could hope that somehow Charleston can be upset giving way to the Tigers being favored to get to Semi-State. Even if Charleston does make it through, Memorial still should have a pretty good shot at getting through given their strength of schedule. I’m still high on Memorial if they can start peaking at the right time. Despite a terrible start to the season, a path to win a sectional & a regional title is there for the taking.

Memorial can forget about Semi-State. If they get this far then their likely opponent would be Indianapolis Chatard (#6 in the state & #1 in Class 3A). Chatard has wins over Indianapolis Roncalli & Indianapolis Cathedral. Considering that Chatard is ranked #6 in the entire state according to the Sagarin rankings, they would have to be a favorite if there was simply a single class in Indiana high school football. Losing to them wouldn’t be the worst thing & if Chatard did go on to win the state championship, Memorial could make a pretty decent case for being the 2nd best team in Class 3A as long as they don’t get blown out.

EVANSVILLE MATER DEI (#29 in the state & #3 in Class 2A)

Mater Dei starts off in Sectional 32 of Class 2A. Things don’t start off easy for the Wildcats as their most difficult opponent in  the sectional will be North Posey (#55 in the state & #6 in Class 2A). This is more like a semi-state quality game than a sectional championship! The problem for a team like North Posey is that it simply can’t replicate the schedule that Mater Dei faces. Last year North Posey drew Mater Dei in the first round of sectionals. The game was played at North Posey & Mater Dei pasted them 45-20. The Vikings were 8-1 last season heading into that game & ranked highly. It didn’t matter much.

Regionals post a trio of teams that could be difficult for Mater Dei. Lawrenceburg (#82 in the state & #11 in Class 2A), Triton Central (#124 in the state & #15 in Class 3A) & Paoli (#136 in the state & #20 in Class 2A) are all solid teams having good years, but notice that Sagarin has them all ranked lower than North Posey. Theoretically the sectional play should be tougher for Mater Dei than the regional play. Last year Mater Dei drew Triton Central in regional play & hammered them 48-14 which was worse than the beating they gave North Posey to get to regionals.

Semi-State is the first place Mater Dei could potentially run into trouble. The toughest opponent they could face would be Indianapolis Ritter (#17 in the state & #1 in Class 2A). Heritage Christian (#24 in the state & #2 in Class 2A) could also be a problem. Ritter & Heritage Christian will likely meet in their regional final to determine who gets to play Mater Dei in the Semi-State. Last year Guerin Catholic was here & Mater Dei beat them 27-16. If Mater Dei is going to trip up it’ll likely be here. The one good thing about Mater Dei here is that they will still have strength of schedule advantage. Ritter has an EXCEPTIONAL win over Indianapolis Chatard which doesn’t make any sense. They’ve also played Heritage Christian this season & won that one. Still, Ritter isn’t playing the powerhouse Indianapolis teams like Ben Davis, Warren Central, Center Grove, Pike & Carmel. I suppose it’s possible that Mater Dei has played tougher opponents which will give them an edge.

If Mater Dei can get to the state championship game, their most likely opponent will be Ft. Wayne Luers (#36 in the state & #4 in Class 2A). The last 3 times Mater Dei has advanced to the state championship game they have played Luers, losing to them in 2011 & 2001 but beating them in 2000, the last time the Wildcats won a state championship. Luers is interesting because they are a lot like Mater Dei in their scheduling. Luers is a 2A school that plays a lot of 4A & 5A schools by virtue of being in the same conference as most of the other bigger Ft. Wayne schools. Mater Dei’s schedule advantage isn’t nearly as pronounced against Luers as it is against other teams in Class 2A. The other problem Mater Dei has facing Luers is that the road to the state championship is MUCH tougher for Mater Dei than it will be for Luers. Last season Luers beat Mater Dei 41-17 in a very anticlimactic state championship game. The same could happen again this year if Mater Dei leaves it all out on the field just getting to Lucas Oil.

PREDICTIONS AT THIS POINT

Castle: Wins the sectional & gets by Center Grove in the regionals. They’ll be murdered at Semi-State.
Reitz/Central: Won’t get past Jasper in sectionals. Jasper’s defense is too tough while Central & Reitz can’t stop anyone
Memorial: Wins sectionals but comes up short in regionals. Something seems off with this team.
Mater Dei: Gets back to the state championship game against Ft. Wayne Luers where Notre Dame recruit Jaylon Smith dominates to screw the Wildcats over one last time before moving on to South Bend.

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September 17, 2012 - Posted by | SIAC

2 Comments »

  1. Let’s pretend Reitz uses some old mo-jo to get to semi-state. Give me the betting line on a Reitz/Cathedral matchup.

    Comment by Vanilla | September 18, 2012 | Reply

  2. Gibson Southern was a tad underestimated…I wouldn’t make that mistake again this year.

    Comment by titan32 | May 29, 2013 | Reply


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