Four Downs: Jasper returns home

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Senior Jack Ahlbrand (4) and Class 4A-No. 3 Jasper are back Friday at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium against Evansville Central. Ahlbrand had a touchdown reception in the team's 31-13 win Sept. 17 at Evansville Mater Dei. 

By Herald Staff

Here's a look at the games featuring our teams this week. 

Bears at Wildcats

Teams: Evansville Central (1-4, 1-4) at Jasper (5-0, 5-0), Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

Last Meeting: Evansville Central topped Jasper in the sectional opener, 30-7, Oct. 23, 2020.

Series: Jasper leads, 12-7

1. Jasper coach Tony Lewis noted the team's starts hadn't been all that great, but that changed Sept. 17 at Evansville Mater Dei. Jasper notched a couple of touchdowns in the opening quarter before Mater Dei responded in this All-Wildcats matchup. Lewis thought his players were ready to play, and played hard.

2. The Wildcats are dealing with the injury bug once more this week, as senior fullback Isaac Day has a foot issue. Day had scored five touchdowns through the first four games of the season, though he was kept out of the end zone at Mater Dei. Lewis said sophomore Will Wallace and junior Victor Peter will both get some fullback reps this week.

3. Central has been Jasper kryptonite these last two years. The Bears knocked the Wildcats out of the sectional in 2019 and 2020, and handed the Wildcats their first loss last year. Central itself started 0-4 before breaking through with a 39-38 triple overtime win Sept. 17 against Evansville Reitz — largely due to the play of freshman quarterback Ben Davies.

4. "He did a great job throwing the football — did a great job on bootlegs," Lewis said of Davies. "He didn't play like a freshman. He played like a junior or senior. So, our hope is to get pressure on him and make him feel the rush a little bit. And if we can't, then he's going to make it hard on us with the athletes that they have at receiver."

Marksmen at Raiders

Teams: Tell City (3-2, 1-1) at Southridge (2-3, 1-1), 7:30 p.m., Raider Field

Last Meeting: Southridge won, 14-12, Sept. 25, 2020.

Series: Southridge leads, 25-2

1. An ugly loss reared its head Sept. 17 when Southridge took a 63-9 defeat at Gibson Southern. Raiders coach Scott Buening was actually happy, though, that his players played and competed as hard as they could. He had no problem with what they did and how they tried to do it. He lauded Gibson's senior duo of Brady Allen and Rory Heltsley.

2. It's been an up-and-down kind of year for Southridge, who hasn't had a losing season since 2005. Lose win, win one — rinse, wash and repeat. Buening noted, though, the approach is the same. He loves this group — citing how they've regrouped and come a long way. Buening noted they're more consistent in how they prepare and are more engaged in practice.

3. The Raiders will get a look at Pocket Athletic Conference Small School foe Tell City, who stands at 3-2. Like the Raiders, the Marksmen have had a win or a loss every other week this season. They have some prominent seniors in running back Keaton Lloyd and four-year quarterback Aden Dodson.

4. "Last year, they threw a defense at us that we hadn't seen throughout their film all season," Buening said. "I wouldn't be surprised to see something similar to that in regards to how they defend us. We'll have our work cut out for us. They play hard, they're getting a lot of confidence as the season's going on. They've played some quality football teams, and we'll have a heck of a challenge for sure."

Rebels at Rangers

Teams: South Spencer (2-3, 1-1) at Forest Park (2-3, 0-1), 7:30 p.m.

Last Meeting: Forest Park rolled to a 42-7 win.

Series: South Spencer leads, 14-3

1. Win or lose, Forest Park had been competitive in every game it was in prior to the 48-7 loss Sept. 17 at Mt. Vernon. Coach Ross Fuhs noted that it was some of the same problems the Rangers have been dealing with — big special teams plays, especially on punt returns, and poor tackling. They were down, 28-0, after one, and never got back in it.

2. One positive the Rangers could take from their loss to the Wildcats was the play of rushing tandem Ethan Beckman, a senior, and Tyler Fetter, a freshman. Beckman had the lone touchdown of the game for the Rangers, plus eight carries and 64 yards. Fetter ran the ball 13 times and had 90 yards rushing, and Fuhs praised some of the runs he had.

3. Up next for the Rangers is South Spencer, a team that came away with a 40-12 win against Princeton. Senior Rylan Davis rushed for 174 yards and three touchdowns for the Rebels, while fellow Haden Durnil added another score on 121 yards. The Rebels have had a couple of quarterbacks this season in freshman Ty Brown and more recently, sophomore Garin Kenney.

4. "We'll be prepared for either one," Fuhs said. "They've got a nice team this year. They're definitely an improved team — a team we've beat the last few years. So, I'm sure they've got us marked as a bullseye on their schedule, and I think, once again, it's just going to come down to doing our keys."

Patriots at Titans

Teams: Heritage Hills (4-1, 1-1) at Gibson Southern (4-1, 1-0), 8 p.m.

Last Meeting: Gibson Southern won, 21-10, in the sectional opener, Oct. 23, 2020.

Series: Heritage Hills leads Gibson Southern, 33-13

1. Heritage Hills has won four games in a row, and for the first time this season, the Patriots did not have any turnovers in their 35-14 win Sept. 17 against North Posey. They did put the ball on the ground once, but they recovered it. Coach Todd Wilkerson thought the Pats did a nice job of taking care of the football.

2. The Pats allowed a touchdown on the first drive of the game, but settled in and took over afterward. Wilkerson told The Herald that Heritage Hills didn't want to give up a big play early, and said the Pats maybe tried to play softer on the first drive. He added a defense can tighten up once it gets a feel of how an offense is executing.

3. He said it will be a similar thing Friday at first against a high-octane Gibson Southern offense, led by Allen at quarterback, who is set to play at Purdue University. The Titans have scored 63 or more points in three of their last four games. The one time they didn't was in a 42-7 loss Sept. 10 at South Warren (Ky).

4. "We have to string together long drives and keep their offense off the field," Wilkerson said. "And if we can do that and limit their possessions, and play some defense - maybe getting a turnover here or there, forcing them to punt a few times — I think in the fourth quarter, we can see what happens."

More on