The IHSAA Football State Tournaments Pairing Show took place Sunday night and the 320 Indiana football teams entered, now have their Sectional opponent in sights.
For Hamilton County football teams, a few are a toss-up and a few have a somewhat predictable ending . . . but with Indiana high school football, anything can happen.
Sectional 4: Noblesville, HSE, Carmel, Fishers
Carmel [4-3] at Hamilton Southeastern [6-1]
Noblesville [3-4] at Fishers [3-4]
Beginning with the biggest class and largest Hamilton County schools, there’s nothing better than County schools matching up in Sectionals. The ‘big four’ have their battles lined up with Noblesville and Fishers drawing, in my opinion, the easier of the three teams while Carmel and Hamilton Southeastern will battle it out.
If you recall, Noblesville defeated Fishers earlier in the season 28-21 on a last-minute break through run by quarterback Ryan Barnes. Although Fishers has played some tough teams, Noblesville has played just as tough ones. I think Noblesville will win this one 21-18. And for drama’s sake, it will be another last-minute battle.
As for Carmel and Hamilton Southeastern, Carmel will look to prove themselves after a rough regular season but I think HSE will maintain their defensive prowess against Carmel’s offense and win 33-14. They fought in the first game of the season and the Royals came out on top 27-21. If HSE does come out on top, this will be the first time in four years Carmel has not won the Sectional championship.
Sectional 11: Westfield, McCutcheon, Harrison (WL), Lafayette Jeff.
McCutcheon [5-2] at Harrison (West Lafayette) [5-2]
Westfield [5-2] at Lafayette Jeff [4-3]
Despite a 4-3 record, Lafayette Jefferson has only won against non-5A schools. Westfield is not only a 5A school but has been ranked near the top every week this season. Running back Nate Froelich and receiver Evan Manley will help their team to a 36-14 victory.
Right now, the two other potential Sectional opponents, McCutcheon and Harrison (WL) have five wins and two losses, similar to the Rocks, and will not go down without a fight in the Sectional championship. Westfield is looking to tack on its fourth Sectional championship in a row.
Sectional 28: Hamilton Heights, Tipton, West Lafayette, Western Boone, Benton Central, North Montgomery, Crawfordsville, Twin Lakes
Tipton [4-3] at West Lafayette [5-2]
Western Boone [5-2] at Benton Central [1-6]
North Montgomery [3-4] at Crawfordsville [2-5]
Hamilton Heights [4-2] at Twin Lakes [2-5]
Sectional 29: Guerin Catholic, Indianapolis Northwest, Danville, West Vigo, Greencastle, Chatard, Brebeuf, Tri-West
Indianapolis Northwest [4-3] at Danville [5-2]
West Vigo [4-3] at Greencastle [6-1]
Indianapolis Chatard [3-4] at Brebeuf Jesuit [3-4]
Guerin Catholic [6-1] at Tri-West [6-1]
The 3A County schools have some bigger pools to play through with eight teams in each Sectional. Hamilton Heights perhaps picked one of the most interesting team in the County as they rematch Twin Lakes, who they just beat 14-13 in a classic battle at Lucas Oil just over a week ago. Simply from the records, it looks as if Heights could blow this out of the water, but a revenge-seeking Twin Lakes will make it a close one. Heights will pull this one out 20-17 in overtime.
Guerin Catholic has had a winning season by far, but against mostly 2A teams. Tri-West, on the other hand, is prepared. They are undefeated at 5-0 in the Sagamore Conference against some good Lebanon and Danville teams. They are guided by the arm of Jake Hill, legs of Derek Lewis and receptions of Judd Grubbs. Led by 11-year head coach Chris Coll, the Bruins have a chance of winning Sectionals if they can defend Golden Eagle Carter McGinnis first. My prediction is one hell of a game from McGinnis, but the Bruins pull it out 43-34.
Sectional 45: Sheridan, Covenant Christian, Turkey Run, North Vermillion, Rockville, Fountain Central, Riverton Parke, South Putnam
Covenant Christian [7-0] at Turkey Run [0-7]
North Vermillion [5-2] at Rockville [3-4]
Fountain Central [7-0] at Riverton Parke [1-6]
South Putnam [3-4] at Sheridan [4-3]
A good look at Sheridan and South Putnam’s conference records, I think gives a tell-tale sign to what’s going to happen in this Class A match up. South Putnam has yet to win a Western Indiana Conference game while Sheridan is undefeated in the Hoosier Heartland East Conference. The Blackhawks will have a solid first round winning 28-7.
North Vermillion is the reigning Sectional champion but this will be rivaled . . . unfortunately not by Sheridan. Undefeated Covenant Christian and Fountain Central have the best shots at taking home the Sectional 45 trophy.