Four Downs: County schools look to keep rolling

Photo by Marlena Sloss/The Herald
Southridge is aiming to go 3-0 on Friday against Tell City. The Raiders have posted back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 2013.

Here are the games for our local teams on Friday.

Wildcats at Panthers

Teams: Jasper (2-0) at Evansville Reitz (2-0), 7:30 p.m., Reitz Bowl

Last Meeting: Jasper won, 24-22, in the sectional semifinal, Oct. 30, 2015

1. Here stands Jasper at 2-0 after a 50-7 rout Aug. 28 against Evansville Harrison. However, Wildcats coach Tony Lewis thought the team didn’t have the greatest week of practice last week, and thought his players played better than they practiced. Lewis knows they would have to be better in practice this week against a Panthers squad that is also 2-0, and he thinks they know that, too.

2. Lewis nevertheless saw some improvements from Jasper’s win in the Aug. 21 season opener against Evansville Memorial. The Wildcats proved fumble prone against the Tigers, but didn’t fumble at all against the Warriors. Lewis also felt Jasper was more disciplined in the second week of the season compared to the penalties the team drew in the first game.

3. The Wildcats will have deal with senior dual threat quarterback Reid Brickey of the Panthers. Brickey proved crucial in his team’s 22-21 come-from-behind win Aug. 28 against Vincennes Lincoln. Reitz trailed, 13-0, when Brickey ran for a score and passed for another for its first lead. Junior Jay Smith ran in a 5-yard score for the game-winner. Lewis heralded Brickey as a dynamic quarterback and a great thrower.

4. “It’s a great place to watch high school football as a fan,” Lewis, who coached Reitz to a state championship in 2009, said of the Reitz Bowl. “It’s a great place to play as a player and be able to coach as a coach. It’s a neat atmosphere — very unique, probably one of the nicest venues in terms of places to watch high school football in the state of Indiana. So, our kids, I’m sure, are excited to visit the Bowl.”

Vikings at Raiders

Teams: North Posey (2-0) at Southridge (2-0), 7:30 p.m., Raider Field

Last meeting: Southridge won, 37-7, Sept. 13, 2019.

1. Southridge has played eight quarters of football in 2020, and the Raiders have outscored opponents by a combined score of 56-0 and posting back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 2013. The Raiders saw Boonville senior running back Devin Mockobee, who is committed to play at Navy, on Aug. 28. They didn’t shut him down completely. He rushed for 102 yards, but they prevented him from crossing the end zone.

2. Raiders coach Scott Buening thought his team needs to be better at tackling — citing the team’s missed tackles against the Pioneers. However, what Southridge lacked from a tackling standpoint against Boonville, it made up for in its pursuits and flying to the football. Buening thought the defense has done a good job of limiting big plays and getting the opposition on the ground.

3. Southridge will see a North Posey squad which can boast quite a few weapons on the offensive end. Junior left-handed quarterback Harold Bender leads the way for the Vikings. Buening told the Herald that Southridge was impressed with Bender when he subbed in to play against the Raiders last year, adding that he “can throw it a mile.” Fellow junior Devin Lintzenich is a standout at wide receiver.

4. “Coach (Waylon) Schenk has done a really good job down there and they’re off to a really good start.” Buening said. “They’ve won two games pretty convincingly…(Later added)…Just say we’re very focused because we’ve got a lot of things that when you play a Coach Schenk team and North Posey that you have to prepare for, be prepared for and this year is no exception.”

Marksmen at Rangers

Teams: Tell City (2-0) at Forest Park (2-0), 7:30 p.m.

Series: Forest Park leads, 8-6

Last Meeting: Forest defeated Tell City, 9-0, in the sectional opener Oct. 25, 2019

1. Forest Park is off to its best start since 2011 when the Rangers started that year 2-0 as well. They started off 2-0 each year from 2009-2011, but lost eight consecutive opening week games from 2012-2019 before finally breaking through this year. Rangers coach Ross Fuhs is happy for his players, and thought they have done a nice job of carrying out the game plan the first two weeks of the season.

2. However, the 2011 team that started 4-1 ended up losing their final five games of the season, including the sectional opener. Fuhs told his players after the team’s 41-12 Aug. 28 win at Perry Central to celebrate that night, and the next day was a new day, to turn the page. He believes the Rangers have done a nice job of that and they’ve been focused to this point. It’s a team that gets neither too high nor too low.

3. Forest Park prides itself on its ground game, and the Commodores had few, if any answers, for that on Aug. 28. Rangers senior Jake Begle ran roughshod for 213 yards and five touchdowns. Seniors Daniel Eckert and Trey Toby rushed for 91 yards and 90 yards and a touchdown, respectively, but the Marksmen also have different rushing options in senior Corey Braunecker and junior quarterback Aden Dodson.

4. “I think it’ll be a lot of fun,” Fuhs said of Friday’s home opener. “I think it’s a game that’s going to be, I feel like, very anticipated around the area with both teams coming in 2-0 with good starts to the season. We knew Tell City would be really good this year, bringing everybody back, but I know just being in school this week, a lot of kids are excited about it, saying they’re coming to the game Friday and looking forward to it.”

Patriots at Pioneers

Teams: Heritage Hills (0-2) at Boonville (1-1), 8:00 p.m., Bennett Field

Last Meeting: Heritage Hills defeated Boonville, 49-0, Aug. 24, 2002

1. The start to the 2020 season for Heritage Hills is different than the 2019 team that finished as the state runner-up in Class 3A. However, with much of that team having graduated, the Patriots find themselves having to keep learning. Coach Todd Wilkerson is trying to be patient through all of this, as many of his players don’t have a lot of experience. It’s all about trying to get better every week and be the best they can at year’s end.

2. Some players on the Patriots had to be quarantined due to having close contact in class with somebody in the school who is a positive case for COVID-19. Wilkerson thought this partially contributed to the team’s 32-0 loss Aug. 28 at Tell City, though he also gave the Marksmen their credit for the kind of team that they are. Some last minute replacements filled in, and Wilkerson expects said replacements to play much better on Friday.

3. Wilkerson thought many of the new players did okay against Tell City, and he also had praise for some players in particular for the job they did filling in. He noted that it was wet, rainy and muddy at Tell City, and he thought sophomore Davin Miller did an outstanding job as a long snapper. Wilkerson also praised fellow sophomore Dakota Boerste for his performance as a punter for the same reasons.

4. “A Division I athlete is special,” Wilkerson said of Mockobee. “You’re probably never going to shut down a Division I athlete. We don’t see many Division I athletes in this area of the state. (Mockobee’s a) special individual. We just have to do the best we can to make sure that he doesn’t beat us by himself. We have to do the best we can to limit his yards.”

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