Four Downs: Locals seek to build, improve upon

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Senior quarterback Will Weinzapfel (9) and Jasper will try to go to 2-0 on Friday when the Wildcats play at Evansville Harrison.

By Herald Staff

Here are the matchups for our teams this week.

Wildcats at Warriors

Teams: Jasper (1-0, 1-0) at Evansville Harrison (0-1, 0-1), 7:30 p.m.

Series: Jasper leads, 4-3

1. Jasper came away with a 27-19 win Aug. 20 at Evansville Memorial, but Wildcats coach Tony Lewis was not happy about the way Jasper’s special teams played against the Tigers. Some players have been removed from the kickoff team, and other players had been shuffled around in personnel changes.

2. Lewis noted that Evansville Harrison is probably one of the most athletic teams that Jasper sees all year. This includes a speedy wide receiver Xavier Thomas, a junior. He saw the film from the Memorial game, and pointed that the Wildcats missed a lot of open field tackles — both on special teams and on defense.

3. He sees a similarity with Jasper and Harrison because he thinks both teams like to run the football first if they can, but both teams have athletes at wide receiver who can be hard to contain if they catch the ball in space. The Wildcats will be dealing with senior quarterback Billy Sears, whom the Warriors converted from wide receiver.

#4 “Our biggest emphasis this week is focus on helping us get better,” Lewis said. “Number two, this should be a good week for us to make a big jump in improvement from Week One to Week Two — you should see a good step in improvement. And three, we need to establish both lines of scrimmage up front — the game is usually won upfront.”

Pioneers at Raiders

Boonville (0-0) at Southridge (0-1), 7:30 p.m., Raider Field

Last Meeting: Southridge won, 28-0, Aug. 28, 2020

1. Southridge’s 27-13 loss Aug. 20 at Linton-Stockton was the first season opener defeat of the Raiders since 2007. They capitalized on a couple of takeaways that led to a pair of touchdowns, but the Raiders themselves turned the ball over on back-to-back possessions in the second that led to the Miners scoring a pair of touchdowns. Linton-Stockton did not look back.

2. Coach Scott Buening noted that ball security, while always an emphasis, is being emphasized this week. Buening thought the ball got from their body, and thus lost some technique. He also believes the Raiders need to finish their blocks on offense, and not finishing their blocks led to the Miners pursuing the ball the way they did.

3. The Raiders now turn the page to Boonville, but multiple challenges come with this game. The Pioneers had their season opener with Paoli canceled due to the Rams having a positive COVID-19 case, so Southridge is using Boonville’s scrimmage film. Devin Mockobee is now graduated and at Purdue University, but that can mean a more balanced offense this year.

4. “They’re using a lot more kids, a lot more guys on the offense,” Buening said. “It’s still a challenge, just a different challenge. Last year was more such a tremendous individual talent...They’re still going to be a challenge to defend, and sometimes, that can be even tougher when you got to defend the field so much more in so many different places.”

Commodores at Rangers

Teams: Perry Central (0-1) at Forest Park (1-0), 7:30 p.m.

Series: Forest Park leads, 6-5

Last Meeting: Forest Park won, 41-12, Aug. 28, 2020.

1. Forest Park escaped with a 13-12 Friday against Princeton, and with this Rangers team being an experienced one, coach Ross Fuhs thinks his players know how to win at this point with some good plays that senior quarterback Cooper Uebelhor made with his feet to help deliver the Rangers a win.

2. At the same time, he didn’t think the team played their best due to a lot of mental mistakes and a lot of clamping, as a lot of players were coming out of the game. Therefore, conditioning and hydrating correctly has been an emphasis this week.

3. While the Rangers look to go 2-0, the Commodores seek to get the bad taste of a 41-6 loss at Tell City out of their mouths. Forest Park will have to counter a lot of Perry Central players such as seniors Camiren Etienne, sophomore running back Sawyer Guillaume and junior Lucas Mitchell.

4. “Linebacker play — playing downhill and playing aggressive,” Fuhs said of keys to victory. “ There’s no doubt about that that’s the number one thing right now for us is defensively, we’ve got to get guys going downhill, and we’ve got to get to the ball and we have to tackle.”

Marksmen at Patriots

Teams: Tell City (1-0) at Heritage Hills (0-1), 8 p.m., The Jungle

Series: In the last 37 years, Heritage Hills leads, 31-9

Last Meeting: Tell City won, 32-0, Aug. 28, 2020

1. Heritage Hills committed five turnovers in its 23-15 loss on Aug. 20 at Mt. Vernon, and the Patriots will be emphasizing ball security this week in practice as they seek their first win of the year. They still managed to make it a single-digit game in spite of the turnovers, but protecting the football is important, as they had some turnovers in their Aug. 13 scrimmage at Jasper.

2. Junior quarterback Camden Schipp threw three interceptions in the game, but Wilkerson noted there was more to it on some of those plays. One interception was at the end of the first half, the other towards the end of the game. While Heritage Hills still needs to do better on ball security, some other offensive breakdowns helped contribute to the turnovers.

3. Heritage Hills will have to execute against a Tell City team that posted five shutouts last year and came away with a 41-6 win against Perry Central in the opener. The Pats’ defense will have to deal with senior running back Keaton Lloyd and fellow senior Aden Dodson — a four-year starting quarterback, and Wilkerson knows Dodson will make great decisions with the ball.

4. “We had too many guys thinking about assignments and they weren’t playing fast and they weren’t playing downhill (at Mt. Vernon),” Wilkerson said. “So, I think what we’re pushing is, ‘Let’s play fast, let’s play downhill. If we make mistakes, let’s make them as aggressive mistakes, and I think that will help us play a lot better on the defensive side.”

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