Four Downs: Sectional Opening Round

Here's a rundown of our area football teams and their opening round sectional matchups.

Warriors @ Wildcats

Teams: Evansville Harrison (2-7) at Jasper (5-4), 8 p.m. Friday, Joe Rohleder Field at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium.
Series: Warriors lead 3-2.
Last meeting: Jasper and Harrison clashed in the first round of the 2016 sectional as the Warriors prevailed for a 38-27 home victory.
1.) Since Tony Ahrens took over the head coaching role for Jasper in 2003, the Wildcats have lost their sectional opener just twice and both of those losses came on the road (Reitz in 2010, Harrison in 2016). In Ahrens’ tenure, the Cats have only had one single-digit deficit game in the first round (13-10 W over Northview, 2007).
2.) Reece Milligan (Sr., WR/RB) led Jasper with 859 all-purpose yards as he was a threat in the run game, pass game as well as returning kicks. Elliott Hopf (Jr., RB/DB) and Lance Dawkins (Soph., RB/LB) both finished with over 500 yards rushing with 556 and 542, respectively.
3.) After two seasons of finishing over .500 in 2015 and 2016, the Warriors have now had sub-.500 records for back-to-back seasons under head coach Lane Oxley. Harrison’s two victories this season came in a 34-14 rout at home over Crawford County in the opening week and a 18-12 overtime thriller against Evansville North at Romain Stadium.
4.) Teddy Duneghy (Sr.) led the Warriors with 535 yards rushing this season as he had three games where racked up over 100+ yards of rushing offense. Defensively, Michael Jordan (Sr.) led the way for Harrison as he averaged nearly six tackles a game including two tackles for loss. The Warriors are searching for their first sectional championship since 2015, when they defeated Jasper 48-13 for the crown.

Rebels @ Raiders

Teams: South Spencer (2-7) at Class 2A No. 10 Southridge (6-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Raider Field.
Series: South Spencer leads 29-28 but the Raiders have won 10 straight meetings.
Last meeting: Southridge flexed their offensive muscle in a 55-21 home victory on Sept. 14 this season.
1.) This is the second consecutive season the Raiders will open their postseason by playing the Rebels in the opening round at Raider Field. Last year, Southridge rolled to a 46-7 victory as their streak of six straight victories began en route to their state championship. The Raiders haven’t lost a sectional opener since 2012 (vs. Evansville Mater Dei).
2.) In their regular season meeting this season, Southridge rushed for 438 yards (second highest) and forced a season-high three interceptions. Cole Calvert (Jr.), Seth Nunamaker (Sr.) and Colson Montgomery (Soph.) all had over 100 yards rushing in the win.
3.) Jeovany Dubon (Sr., K) and Chase Taylor (Soph., P) have remained a steady group on special teams. Dubon averages 52.5 yards per kickoff and has 20 touchbacks. He’s also 41-of-43 on PAT attempts and made his only two field goals he’s kicked this season. Taylor averages 38.7 yards per punt including a season-long 67-yard bomb.
4.) South Spencer had an impressive 49-16 victory over Forest Park on Sept. 28 with Kobe Bartlett (Soph., QB) leading the way with five touchdown passes and nearly 300 yards passing. However, since then the Rebels have fallen 48-14 to Boonville and 76-0 to Heritage Hills. The 76-0 defeat was the Rebels worst loss in the past 20 years. South Spencer has won just one opening round sectional game in the past five seasons (2016, 34-18 over Forest Park).

Miners @ Rangers

Teams: Linton (4-5) at Forest Park (1-8), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Ranger Field.
Series: First ever meeting.
1.) Forest Park’s victory over North Knox in last year’s sectional opener was only the program’s second-ever sectional victory. This year’s meeting against Linton is the Rangers first home sectional opener they’ve played in since 2015. Forest Park has hosted just three opening round sectional games since becoming a full varsity program.
2.) Drew Day (Jr., RB/LB) led the Rangers with 116 total rushing attempts and 575 rushing yards. He also finished with five total touchdowns while Gavin Pierce (Sr., RB/DE) and Jake Begle (Soph., RB/LB) also had rushing scores this season. Ranger receivers caught three total touchdowns with Cooper Uebelhor (Fr., QB) throwing two of them and Garret Berg (Jr., WR/DB) throwing the other one. Berg, Jared Schipp (Jr., WR/DB) and Gavin Knust (Jr., TE/DE) had the touchdown receptions.
3.) Defensively, Forest Park had 10 players finish in double digits for solo tackles with Berg (40) and Begle (30) leading the way. Knust (five) and Day (three) led the way in sacks while Schipp, Cory Uebelhor (Jr., RB/DB), Cole Mohr (Jr., WR/DB) and Nathan Namilton (Sr., WR/DB) all recorded interceptions for the Rangers.
4.) Linton (4-5) finished with their first sub-.500 regular season record since 1996 when they finished 3-5. The Miners and Rangers shared just one common opponent this season — Southridge. The Raiders defeated Linton 35-7 and were victorious 48-7 over Forest Park. Luke Lannan (Jr., RB) finished with 830 rushing yards on the season and averaged over 100+ yards per game. He was also two yards away from over 1,000 all-purpose yards (998).

Wildcats @ Patriots

Teams: Mount Vernon (5-4) at Class 3A No. 3 Heritage Hills (9-0), 8 p.m. Friday, The Jungle.
Series: Heritage Hills leads 12-5.
Last meeting: The Patriots began their undefeated regular season by defeating Mount Vernon at home, 45-7.
1.) After finishing with their first undefeated regular season since 2007 and first Pocket Athletic conference title since 2014, Heritage Hills has high hopes for the postseason but they haven’t won a sectional game since their 2014 run to the semistate. The Patriots have lost to Evansville Memorial, Southridge and Charlestown in their last three sectional openers.
2.) Cole Sigler (Jr., QB/DB) finished with 1,070 all-purpose yards as he had 728 rush yards, 209 punt return yards, 81 kick return yards and 52 interception return yards. Sigler has scored 14 total touchdowns this season (11 rush, two punt return, one interception return).
3.) Heritage Hills has not let opponents get much going with their passing game against them as Sigler and Kaden Feldpausch (Jr., WR/DB) have nine and eight pass deflections, respectively. Sigler and Cade Jones (Sr., RB/DB) also both have multiple interceptions while Jacob Wetzel (Jr., RB/LB), Gavin Vaal (Jr., RB/DB) and Alex Hasty (Jr., RB/TE) have caused multiple fumbles.
4.) Mount Vernon finished with their first winning record in the regular season since 2010 as they went 5-4 but ended the year on a down note as they fell 55-19 at home to Jasper. Sam Thomas (Sr., WR/DB) has 2,147 all-purpose yards for the Wildcats as he finished with nearly 1,300 receiving yards this season. He also totaled 33 touchdowns during the 2018 campaign (22 receiving, 11 rushing, one punt return).

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