Four Downs: Sectional Semifinals

Here's a preview of our area football teams and their upcoming sectional semifinal matchups.

Wildcats @ Pioneers

Teams: Jasper (6-4) at Class 4A No. 9 Boonville (10-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bennett Field.
Series: Jasper leads 54-11.
Last meeting: Boonville defeated Jasper 28-14 on Aug. 31 at Jasper for their first victory over the Wildcats since 2003.
1.) Jasper’s 28-14 loss to Boonville earlier this season was the start of a three-game losing streak that saw the Cats score under 25 points three straight games. Since then, Jasper has won five straight games while averaging 43 points per game. Jasper hasn’t faced Boonville in the postseason since a 50-13 victory in 2012.
2.) In last week’s opening sectional victory over Evansville Harrison, Lance Dawkins (Soph., RB/LB) accounted for four of the Wildcats five touchdowns with all of them coming from 15 yards or less. Jasper outgained the Warriors 275 to 69 on the ground.
3.) Four Wildcat defenders finished with tackles for loss in last week’s victory over Harrison — Kyle Hedinger (Sr., LB), Zach Flynn (Sr., LB), Jadon Mehringer (Sr., DL) and Trevor Krapf (Sr., DL). Isaac Bartley (Sr., DB) and Mehringer both recovered fumbles in the win while Bartley and Mitch Kaiser (Jr., DB) both recorded interceptions.
4.) Boonville nearly saw their undefeated season come to a surprise early ending as they trailed Evansville Bosse 35-14 at one point before rallying for a 42-35 victory on the road. Boonville has scored at least 28 points in every game and has only given up over 25 points four times (Vincennes Lincoln, Lapel, Mount Vernon, Bosse). Luke Conner (Sr., RB/DB) has dominated opposing defenses with 1,739 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns. He’s also recorded a pair of interceptions on defense.

Raiders @ Warriors

Teams: Class 2A No. 10 Southridge (7-3) at North Knox (5-5), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Warrior Field.
Series: Southridge leads 7-2.
Last meeting: The Raiders rolled over the Warriors 44-13 in 2008 in a sectional victory.
1.) Of the nine meetings between Southridge and North Knox, the past four have been postseason matchups. The Raiders have won three of those four meetings with the lone loss coming in 1993 when Southridge fell on the road, 7-0. Southridge hasn’t played North Knox at home since 1983.
2.) Among Class 2A programs, Southridge’s 37.30 points per game ranks ninth. Southridge has scored under 30 points just three times this season and all three games were losses — Jasper (seven points), Heritage Hills (17), Gibson Southern (14).
3.) In last week’s 49-7 rout of South Spencer, the Southridge defense came out in full force as five Raider defenders had at least one sack in the victory — Matt Springer (Soph., DB), Brad Springer (Jr., LB), Cole Calvert (Jr., LB), Leyton Lauderdale (Soph, DE) and Chase Taylor (Soph, LB). Lauderdale recovered a fumble, Matt Springer forced a fumble and Ben Hudson (Sr., DE) blocked a punt for a safety.
4.) North Knox’s five losses have come to Sullivan, Eastern Greene, North Central (Farmersburg), Vincennes Lincoln and Linton. Four of their five losses came by double digits while their defeat against the Thunderbirds was just seven points. The Warriors are led by Gavyn Doane (Sr., RB/DB) who has 1,649 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns while averaging 183 yards per game.

Patriots @ Titans

Teams: Class 3A No. 3 Heritage Hills (10-0) at Class 3A No. 8 Gibson Southern (8-2), 8 p.m. Friday at Jack Jewell Memorial Field.
Series: Heritage Hills leads 31-10.
Last meeting: The Patriots cruised to a 31-7 victory in Fort Branch on September 21.
1.) Prior to the victory this season, Heritage Hills had lost three straight matchups against Gibson Southern by 20 or more points. The Titans and Patriots have met four times in the postseason with Heritage Hills winning all four battles. The most recent one was a 14-13 thriller in Fort Branch in 2014.
2.) In their sectional opening 47-0 shutout victory over Mount Vernon, the Patriots rushed for 369 yards — their  fourth game this season with over 350 rushing yards (South Spencer, North Posey, both meetings against Mount Vernon). Jacob Wetzel (Jr., RB/LB) led the way with 141 rushing yards. It was Wetzel’s second career game with over 100+ rushing yards (116 this season against Gibson Southern).
3.) Cole Sigler’s 47-yard punt return touchdown in last Friday’s victory was Heritage Hills’ fifth special teams touchdown of the season — all coming via punt returns. Sigler (Jr., QB/DB) has returned three punts for touchdowns while Kyndell Carter (Sr., RB/DB) and Gavin Vaal (Jr., RB/DB) both have one each.
4.) Gibson Southern’s lone losses came to Heritage Hills and Henderson County (Ky.) where they were held to under 10 points. In their eight victories, they’ve scored over 30 points each time and are averaging 54.9 points. Brady Allen (Fr., QB) has thrown for 2,023 passing yards and 25 TDs and has had visits to Division I programs such as Ohio State.

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