Four Downs: Big change in Ferdinand Friday

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Senior Daniel Eckert (24) and Forest Park were originally supposed to play North Posey on Friday. However, the Vikings have many players quarantined, and are now scheduled to host Springs Valley.

Here is a look at the games for our teams on Friday.

Wildcats at Knights

Teams: Jasper (5-1, 5-1) at Castle (4-1, 4-1), 7:30 p.m.

1. Jasper still can win the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference after dropping its Sept. 25 game against Evansville Central, 24-17, but the Wildcats are now going to need outside help. Wildcats coach Tony Lewis knows the Bears still have to play Castle and Evansville North, who also have one loss. Lewis said Jasper will only concentrate on itself and control what it can control.

2. The Knights boast a multi-back formation on offense. Sophomore Peyton Guerzini can explode for a big play, while senior Reece Yunker can also pose all sorts of problems for opposing defenses. Lewis told of Wildcats defensive coordinator Joe Shelton seeing 20 different formations on film in Sunday’s meeting, and Lewis doesn’t know if the Wildcats’ defense can key in on just one back.

3. Lewis isn’t sure if Friday’s game is a must-win, but he knows the Wildcats will be seeing a tough Knights team that has won four games in a row. Castle’s defense has allowed an average of 6.2 points per game this season, and the Knights have given up 17 points combined during their four-game win streak. Jasper’s offense is averaging 31.5 points per game in 2020.

4. “In terms of their defense, it all starts up front with their defensive front, and again, the best overall defensive front that we’ve seen up to this point,” Lewis said. “They’ve got great linebackers, they’ve got good team speed. Their DBs get to the football. So, it presents a major challenge for our offense, but we look forward to the opportunity.”

Rebels at Raiders

Teams: South Spencer (1-5, 1-2) at Southridge (6-0, 3-0), 7:30 p.m., Raider Field

Series: Southridge leads, 33-26

Last meeting: Southridge won, 56-14, Sept. 20, 2019

1. Tell City’s defense pitched four shutouts prior to the Sept. 25 Southridge game, but the Raiders came out on top with a 14-12 win in Tell City. They bested a defense that has now allowed an average of 5.2 points per game, but senior quarterback Chase Taylor ran for 85 yards and fellow senior Matt Springer had two touchdowns to give the Raiders first in the Pocket Athletic Conference Small School Division.

2. There are some things Southridge coach Scott Buening has wanted to work on after the Raiders edged the Marksmen. He doesn’t think Southridge finished well with its blocks and felt they didn’t have good angles on ball carriers. Buening also felt the Raiders didn’t seal off lanes for their ball carriers that cost them opportunities for big plays.

3. The Rebels have lost three games in a row, and have allowed 30 or more points in every game they have lost this season. Buening noted, though, that South Spencer has some strong players upfront, and senior Cameron Weigand has a lot of strength at inside linebacker. He pointed to how well they get off the ball, and their size makes them hard to move.

4. “(South Spencer senior quarterback Kobe Bartlett is) able to do some things — not just throwing the ball, but with his legs as well,” Buening said. “And he can be a threat, whether it’s dropping back as a quarterback on the passing game, his ability to scramble and move and basically create a backyard football situation. So, that’s obviously — it’s not just the getting the pass rush, but also containing him and his ability to get out and move.”

Blackhawks at Rangers

Teams: Springs Valley (0-5) at Forest Park (4-2, 1-1), 7:00 p.m.

Last Meeting: North Posey bested Forest Park, 24-11, Oct. 27, 2019

Series: This is the first meeting ever between these two teams.

1. Forest Park was originally supposed to play North Posey this week. However, that game got cancelled due to many players being quarantined and contact tracing. However, the Rangers found a replacement in a team they have never played before in Springs Valley. The Blackhawks have lost eight games in a row dating back to last season. They were originally supposed to play Tecumseh, but the Braves themselves had to cancel due to a COVID-19-related incident.

2. Rangers coach Ross Fuhs told the Herald on Wednesday that is difficult to prepare for a different opponent during the middle of the week. Fuhs said he watches hours of film during the weekend. However, he couldn’t tell anything about the Blackhawks because he hasn't seen them on film. Springs Valley has seen Paoli, whom Forest Park scrimmaged, and a mutual opponent in Tell City.

3. The game between the Rangers and Vikings was going to be one for the Pocket Athletic Conference Small School Division. However, Springs Valley is in the Patoka Lake Athletic Conference. With the change in schedule, Forest Park will only have two PAC Small School Division games left instead three. The Rangers are 1-1 in their division.

4. “I mean, the way the season is going, we are just happy to be playing,” Fuhs said by text on Wednesday. “It stinks, but as long as we can play, that’s great.”

Hatchets at Patriots

Teams: Washington (3-3, 1-2) at Heritage Hills (2-4, 0-3), 7:30 p.m., the Jungle

Last meeting: Heritage Hills downed Washington, 61-7, in the sectional opener, Oct. 21, 2005

1. Heritage Hills will try to bounce back from its 38-0 loss Sept. 25 against Gibson Southern. The Patriots had adjustments to make in their personnel, as they had players out due to injury, while others were quarantined. Coach Todd Wilkerson anticipates a few players will be back this week, such junior linebacker Caleb Fakes. Junior Luke Rickelman will fill in again for senior Jacob Schmidt at quarterback.

2. Friday against Washington is Senior Night at the Jungle, and every year, Wilkerson finds himself proud of the seniors in the program because they’ve stuck with things. He added they have put in a tremendous amount of hard work and effort to get to where they’re at as seniors. Wilkerson is proud of them as young men for both their work ethic and character. He knows they will be outstanding citizens.

3. The Hatchets are trying to get above .500 and win their third consecutive game. They’ve been counting on senior quarterback Trey Reed to make things go. Reed totaled five touchdowns on Sept. 18 against Pike Central, and also led a game-winning drive Sept. 25 at Princeton. He turned a 27-26 deficit into a 34-27 win against the Tigers.

4. “The good thing is, just having played (Titans junior quarterback Brady Allen), a lot of those same concepts and ideas can hold true this week,” Wilkerson said. “We’re going to have to do a nice job getting pressure on him, mixing up the looks, keeping him a little confused and when we get a chance to get him on the ground, we’ve got to make sure we tackle him and get him on the ground.”

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