Four Downs: Wildcats, Raiders playing 5-0 teams

Photo by Marlena Sloss/The Herald
Senior Camden Gasser and Southridge will look to make it 6-0 on Friday at Tell City.

Here is a look to the upcoming games for our teams on Friday.

Wildcats at Bears

Teams: Jasper (5-0, 5-0) at Evansville Central (5-0, 5-0), 7:30 p.m., Central Stadium

Series: Jasper leads, 12-5

Last Meeting: Evansville Central defeated Jasper, 27-16, Nov. 1, 2019, in the sectional semifinals

1. Jasper will be seeing Evansville Central for the first time since the Bears ended the Wildcats’ 2019 season. However, Jasper coach Tony Lewis said it’s not about seeking payback. It’s about doing things the team can control to ensure they put themselves in a position that they have a chance to be successful.

2. Lewis said the Wildcats are focusing on ball security this week. They came away with a 28-14 win Sept. 18 against Evansville Mater Dei, but still fumbled the ball five times and lost it twice in the process. Lewis said the option offense may put the ball on the ground more, but isn't making excuses.

3. The Bears run the Wing-T offense, and Lewis said two things need to be successful to counter that. First, the Wildcats must be disciplined with their eyes, or else they won't have a chance. Secondly, defenders must focus on doing their own assignment instead of somebody else's to avoid a bad situation.

4. "I don't think there's an emphasis in terms of this week over any other week," Lewis said. "Every time you play in the SIAC, every week is a challenge. This is just another one of those challenges. As a team, you can't put more emphasis on certain games than others. You have to be able to be better every week, weekly, no matter who the opponent is."

Raiders at Marksmen

Teams: Southridge (5-0, 2-0) at Tell City (5-0, 2-0), 7:30 p.m.

Series: Southridge leads, 24-2

Last Meeting: Southridge downed Tell City, 41-13, Sept. 27, 2019

1. A pair of undefeated teams clash in the Pocket Athletic Conference Small School Division on Friday night. Southridge coach Scott Buening said whomever wins is going to have a leg up, but the Raiders will see a lot of good teams after this week. Southridge views this game as meaningful, but not as a decider.

2. The Marksmen have pitched four shutouts in their first five games, allowing 17 points total. Buening praised the good, seasoned roster that Tell City fields. He noted the size and strength the Marksmen possess with their ability to come off the ball and play hard. He noted they do what they do well, and have good players doing it.

3. Buening's had a lot of praise for the job the offensive line has done in 2020, as the rushing attack continues to be effective week after week. He thinks his linemen winning in the trenches will be the key on Friday. He called the Marksmen one of the best groups up front that they're seeing this year.

4. “You just go down the list of things that they do well and they do it with good people,” Buening said. “They haven’t done what they’ve done and dominated the teams they’ve played without having those type of kids and good players, good scheme, continuity. Even though it’s the first year for their coaching staff, it’s obvious they’ve got everybody on the same page with what they’re doing.”

Rangers at Rebels

Teams: Forest Park (3-2, 0-1) at South Spencer (1-4, 1-1), 7:30 p.m.

Series: South Spencer leads, 14-2

Last Meeting: Forest Park defeated South Spencer, 14-7, Oct. 4, 2019

1. Forest Park gained more yards, had a greater time of possession and was penalized less in the Sept. 18 loss against Mount Vernon. However, the Rangers allowed a couple of big plays on defense. Coach Ross Fuhs said his players weren't in the right spots, and that enabled the Wildcats to take a 29-0 lead and hang on, 29-20.

2. This week's practice has focused on getting back to the basics. Fuhs noted the importance of every play, and the opposition can make a team pay if there's a breakdown. The Rangers will also be carrying a chip on their shoulder this wee, since they've never won at South Spencer. They've made it a goal to get their first win there.

3. Forest Park will be going against senior South Spencer quarterback Kobe Bartlett, a name Fuhs feels like he's been talking about for eight years. Fuhs knows Bartlett can make plays on the run and when teams are getting to him. He said the Rangers need to create pressure, get to him and tackle him on Friday.

4. "(South Spencer senior back Cameron Weigand) kind of reminds you of a Jake Begle, honestly," Fuhs said. "He's a big, strong kid, hard to bring down on first contact. So, he's just a downhill-type runner who has had some nice ballgames for them and has had some nice games on second contact. So, we'll have to rally guys to the football to help bring him down.

Titans at Patriots

Teams: Gibson Southern (2-3, 2-0) at Heritage Hills (2-3, 0-2), 8:00 p.m., The Jungle

Series: Heritage Hills leads Gibson Southern, 33-11

Last Meeting: Heritage Hills defeated Gibson Southern, 21-20, Nov. 1, 2019 in the sectional semifinals

1. The Patriots off a victory Sept. 21 at North Posey in a 35-34 double overtime game. Pats coach Todd Wilkerson said any time a team wins a close game like that, it breeds confidence. Wilkerson believes coming away with a win on the road in double overtime brings a team closer together.

2. Heritage Hills will be tasked with trying to slow down junior quarterback Brady Allen of Gibson Southern on Friday. He’s trying to push his players to understand the ball will get on them faster, the decisions will be made faster and throws they don’t think can be made will be made.

3. Allen was 23-of-42 passing for 309 yards and two touchdowns in 48-28 loss Sept. 18 at Southridge. Some of those completions came off the deep throws, but the Raiders still sacked him multiple times and pressured him often. Wilkerson praised the latter team for how they flew around. He said tremendous effort on defense is required.

4. “Every year when we play Gibson Southern, we know it’s a battle,” Wilkerson said. “We know we got to play great. We know we have to work really hard during the week in both preparation — the work our coaches put in, the work our players put in, and then we got to go out there on Friday night and give it our best shot, and we’re going to do that this year, just like we do every year.”

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