Four Downs: Week 6

Here’s a look ahead at Friday’s football games for week six.


Tigers @ Wildcats

Teams: Jasper (2-3, 2-0) hosts Princeton (1-4, 1-1), 8 p.m., Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium.

Series: Jasper leads the series 56-7-2.

Last meeting: Jasper won 28-17 at Princeton.

1)  Princeton has a few different players the Wildcats have marked as defensive priorities. Junior running back Ben Heidenreich (214 yds., 1 TD) has been the workhorse back, but Jasper is anticipating senior speedster Darrion Madison, who has been limited by injuries, will be making his return Friday. The Tigers also have a pair of big receivers in senior Braden Matthews (462 yds., 2 TDs) and junior Dom Hardiman (362 yds., 1 TD) to contend with in the passing game.

2)  Jasper coach Tony Lewis said reinvesting in the particulars of the option offense has been the big point of emphasis for this week’s practices. The Tigers use multiple defensive fronts, so the Wildcats are locking in their script for which players who will go unblocked or serve as keys for the option reads based on what the defense shows them.

3)  Thirty-five points seems to be the magic number for the Jasper Wildcats this season, as both wins this season came after putting up five TDs on Boonville and Vincennes Lincoln. Princeton’s defense has been leaky and averages a bit more than 50 points allowed in their four losses this season.

4)  “We need people to communicate, on the defensive side of the ball especially,” Lewis said. “If we’re looking to improve something, it’s the overall emotional energy of our team.”

Marksmen @ Raiders

Teams: Class 3A No. 8 Southridge (5-0, 3-0) hosts Tell City (4-1, 2-1), 7:30 p.m., Raider Field.

Series: Southridge leads series 23-2.

Last meeting: Southridge defeated Tell City 31-18 at Legion Field.

1)  The most points Tell City has scored against Southridge in recent years is the 21-point effort the Marksmen produced when the teams met in 2013 (Southridge won 24-21). But the Marksmen have seen an uptick in their offensive production this year, averaging about 270 yards and just under 28 points per game on offense. Their most recent wins over Pike Central and Springs Valley have seen them score 48 and 41 points, respectively.

2)  Raiders coach Scott Buening called the Marksmen a talented, up-in-coming program that presents Southridge with a challenge in their flexbone offense, which the Raiders don’t see a lot of during the season. The run-focused offense has produced more than 1,100 yards and 13 rushing TDs so far, and the Marksmen boast six ball carriers that average more than four yards a carry.

3)  Buening sees the Marksmen as a big test for the Raiders’ offensive concepts, particularly for their blocking principles. Tell City uses various stunts to get its linebackers involved in creating confusing looks for opposing lines, so Southridge must be on its toes when it comes to making protection adjustments based on where the Raiders think the heat is coming.

4)  “These guys played a lot of guys tight last year,” Buening said. “We’ve had some really tight games and some battles. They’re playing a lot of underclassmen, and they continue to get better. They’re doing things the right way, and we really think it’s going to be a competitive game Friday night.


Rangers @ Vikings

Teams: Forest Park (3-2, 0-2) hits the road to face North Posey (1-4, 1-3)

Series: North Posey leads 10-2.

Last meeting: North Posey defeated Forest Park 24-21.

1)  Forest Park pulled off an incredible feat in using zero pass plays in the Rangers' 42-0 win over Pike Central last week. Drew Day, Cole Mohr and Jake Begle all had rushing scores, and the Rangers also took a pair of interceptions back to the house for touchdowns.

2)  Rangers coach Ross Fuhs isn’t throwing anything new into the blender quite yet, but he is looking to change up some of the team’s formations against North Posey. It all goes back to the goal of becoming less predictable on offense, so running their bread-and-butter plays from different looks helps disguise the Rangers intentions.

3)  North Posey uses a lot of different formations on offense, but the Vikings are all about getting running back Zach Lowe established. The Rangers also want to key in on sophomore quarterback Harold Bender, who will be making his second start of the season on Friday.

4)  “We have to be able to sustain some drives,” Fuhs said. “The last few weeks we’ve been able to get some big plays right away. This week we may have to have a 10-, 12-play drive and take it down the field. We’ll be patient, keep grinding it out and score.”


Titans @ Patriots

Teams: Class 3A No. 3 Heritage Hills (5-0, 3-0) takes on Class 3A No, 5 Gibson Southern (4-1, 3-0, 8 p.m., The Jungle.

Series: Heritage Hills leads 31-10.

Last meeting: Heritage Hills beat Gibson Southern 31-7 in Fort Branch.

1)  Friday’s game isn’t just an event southern Indiana fans have been salivating to see since the start of the season. It is also a game that has huge implications for the Pocket Athletic Conference title picture in recent history. Since 2013, the winner of this slugfest has gone on to win the conference title, with Gibson Southern owning a 4-2 edge in that timespan.

2)  There will not be a shortage of fireworks Friday, as both teams pack explosive punches and are capable of big plays at any point during the game. The Patriots have averaged more than 348 yards and almost 43 points in five games. The Titans average more than 452 yards and 49 points in that same span.

3)  Patriots coach Todd Wilkerson said that not only will his defense be responsible for accounting for the Titan playmakers all over the field, but they will have to contend with the pace of play Gibson Southern likes to impose on their opponents. He estimates they run a play every 10 seconds, so there won’t be huge windows to get set on defense or make adjustments on the fly if the Pats get a look they don’t like.

4)  “We don’t want to get into a shootout,” Wilkerson said. “We’ve worked on our passing game, but we still want to run the football. It’s one of those situations where if we feel like we need to soften them up or take advantage of the defensive look they’re giving us, we’ll throw the football. We feel like we’re prepared to throw it if we need to. But if we’re having success running the football, that’s what we’re going to do.”

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