The field is getting smaller as we head into regional championship week. Only 48 teams remain and every matchup is getting better. We take a look at five contests that will have big implications the rest of the tournament.
New Palestine [12-0] at Roncalli [11-1]
The Dragons look to capture their first regional title since 2019. That same season, the Dragons went on to win their state title under head coach Kyle Ralph.
The Royals have established a winning formula, play aggressively stingy defense and run the football. Roncalli’s defense has not allowed over 19 point to any in-state team. Only Cincinnati Elder was able to score 24, in the only loss for the Royals.
Cathedral [9-1] at Brownsburg [10-1]
Cathedral is back in class 6A and looking to do something no other team has done. Play for a state title in four different classes. It will not come easy. The Irish’s lone loss on the season came at the hands of Brownsburg. Since then, the Irish have strung together 8 wins in a row. A regional title will be their first in three tries in class 6A.
Arguably, the Brownsburg Bulldogs have featured one of the most talented teams over the last 4 seasons. Can the Bulldogs exorcise their postseason demons and win a regional title for the first time since 1985? This remains the question. Coach Hart will need to get this program over the proverbial hump if the Dogs want to be considered one the elite programs in the state.
Central Catholic [9-3] at Andrean [8-3]
Lafayette Central Catholic’s 2019 state title seems to be a distant memory for some football fans. For some a return to glory like the former Knights that won state titles from 2009 to 2021, will take a regional win over the defending 2A champion Andrean. Brian Nay does have a title under his belt and will have his team ready to compete.
Entering the season with a target on their back, the 59rs have stood the test, and held up through a gauntlet of a schedule in preparation for a postseason run. The mantra “A 2a school not a 2a schedule” has served them right and has Andrean poised to stake claim as back to back champions. It will take the state’s best player in Drayk Bowen to show up big in the regional for a chance to repeat as 2A champs.
North Decatur [12-0] at Sheridan [11-1]
In an era of high flying offenses, North Decatur and Sheridan pose two of the most dominant defenses in class A. Steve Stirn has done a phenomenal job turning around North Decatur. Credit his defense for one of the better Charger teams since his arrival. Allowing 6 points a game and 6 shutouts, could get Stirn his first regional title in year eight.
Sheridan is back in the thick of the playoffs credit to their defense. Five shutouts on the year. Since their week one loss, the Blackhawks have outscored opponents 475-128. Wright Stadium will be rocking when these two teams link up on Friday night.
Westfield [8-3] at Hamilton Southeastern [11-0]
Seeking a third consecutive trip to Lucas Oil will take a little luck for this Shamrock team. A season of battles may have Jake Gilbert’s squad prepared for the mission. It has taken several gutty performances for the team to reach 8 wins. On the season season six games have ended in a one possession game, including a week five loss to Hamilton Southeastern by 5 points.
The Royals are experiencing one of the more memorable seasons in program history. Thanks to being one of the more balanced teams in Class 6A. Averaging 33.4 points a game, and allowing under 15, is the recipe for success. Hamilton Southeastern’s offence can hit you in the air and on the ground. In facing some of the state’s more prolific offenses, the Royals defense has been tested and has the bend but don’t break mentality.