Here is a look ahead to the games featuring our teams this week.
Wildcats at Bulldogs
Teams: Jasper (1-2, 1-2) at Evansville Bosse (1-2, 1-2), Enlow Field, 7:30 p.m.
Last Meeting: Jasper topped Evansville Bosse, 56-14, Sept. 10, 2021
1. Jasper football coach Tony Lewis asked his players to grade themselves on paper from the Sept. 2 game at Evansville Reitz in Jasper’s 41-14 loss to the Panthers. The fourth-year coach noted everybody did their assignment, while the team reviewed on Monday the pluses and minuses on film, with the coaching staff offering their opinion on pluses and minuses compared to the opinions of the players.
2. Senior defensive end Kaleb Senninger is likely to return to action this week at Evansville Bosse after missing the Evansville Reitz game. However, Lewis told The Herald Senninger was going to have a light work week. Meanwhile, senior quarterback Grant Young is unlikely to be back this week after partially playing in the Reitz game. The Wildcats are taking the approach to getting him 100% healthy instead of rushing him back.
3. Bosse has some skill players the Wildcats will need to account for. There’s senior running back Jaiden Thomas, who has been kept out of the end zone twice this year but made All-Southern Indiana Athletic Conference as a junior. There’s also junior quarterback Elijah Wagner, whom Lewis cited as “a heck of an athlete” and someone who can run and throw in what he described as a balanced offense. Jasper will seek to keep Wagner in the pocket.
4. “(Wagner) runs around and makes plays outside the pocket either throwing the ball outside of the pocket when he’s kind of scrambling around or running the ball outside the pocket, so that would be the first thing,” Lewis said. “Secondly, in terms of what we need to take away the deep shots downfield. They do a good job of throwing the ball downfield. So, I would say those two things in the passing game and his legs in the running game in addition to the tailback...are paramount in terms of our defensive preparation.”
Raiders at Chargers
Teams: Southridge (3-0, 1-0) at Pike Central (0-3, 0-1), 7:30 p.m.
Last Meeting: Southridge bested Southridge, 58-0, Sept. 10, 2021
Series: Southridge leads, 44-4
1. Southridge committed seven penalties Sept. 2 against North Posey, fumbling three times in the process, yet still managed to come away with a 49-0 win against the Vikings. Raiders coach Scott Buening knows how fortunate the team was to haven’t lost any of the fumbles. He wanted them to clean the penalties up from Aug. 26 at Boonville, but while they committed more penalties, he thought they did a better job overcoming them Sept. 2.
2. Despite the big win and shutting out a high-octane offense, Buening noted the Raiders have things to work on and get better at if they have any aspirations to make a run in the tournament. It’s not just the penalties, which he points to the technique and a lot of them coming in blocking. So, he’s wanting Southridge to work on its blocking and technique and fundamentals in the run game.
3. Southridge has shown through the first third of the regular season that it can have a balanced offense with different rushing options in the backfield, while junior quarterback Hudson Allen has made some plays with his arm, too. This week’s game is with Pocket Athletic Conference Small School Division foe Pike Central, who may be winless, but has allowed fewer points from each previous game this season.
4. “They’ve improved quite a bit from last year,” Buening said of the Chargers. “They were a 24-13 loser to South Spencer last week and they have quite a few turnovers in that game. (If) they protect the football, they give themselves a fighting chance in that game. They’re doing some good things. They’re a little young, a little inexperienced and for us, again, it just really doesn’t matter who our opponent is. We need to play the best we can play.”
Rangers at Braves
Teams: Forest Park (1-2, 0-1) at Tecumseh (3-0), 7:30 p.m.
Last Meeting: Forest Park bested Tecumseh 29-12, Sept. 10, 2021
Series: Forest Park leads, 4-3
1. The tough times in the second half continued for Forest Park in its 43-26 loss to Tell City in the Rangers’ home opener Sept. 2. They build a 19-0 lead at one point against their Pocket Athletic Conference Small School Division rivals, only to see that slip away by the third quarter. Forest Park coach Terry Riggs thinks the team can overcome these things and be more mentally tough once they get more experience.
2. Riggs talked in the Sept. 1 edition of Four Downs about the need to be more physical when playing the Marksmen, and noted the Rangers have been physical all this week during practice. They’ve done things such as the tackling circuit and turnover circuit to put themselves in different positions, as the Rangers turned the ball over three times against the Marksmen. However, Riggs sees them competing in the PAC for a while.
3. One of those teams Forest Park will have to compete with in the PAC in the future is Tecumseh, who’s in the conference in other sports, but is playing an independent schedule in football this season. The Braves are averaging 39 points per game this season, and have allowed and haven’t allowed more than 14 points in the three games they’ve had. This is the Braves’ first 3-0 start since 2008.
4. “Overall, Tecumseh’s a very solid team,” Riggs said Wednesday night. “They have a lot of seniors, lot of experience. They’re 3-0, but we’re chomping at the bit to put four quarters together. I think it’s going to be a good game, and just because something doesn’t go our way or their way — we got to be able to respond to that. That’s all there is to it.”
Rebels at Patriots
Teams: South Spencer (1-2) at Heritage Hills (2-1), The Jungle, 8 p.m.
Series: Heritage Hills leads, 39-12
1. Heritage Hills held a fourth quarter lead Sept. 2 at Boonville, only to see a 16-13 edge turn into a 20-16 loss with less than six minutes to go. Patriots coach Todd Wilkerson knows how important mental focus is for this group. He spoke of the team’s physical talents, with the ability to run a play perfectly, only to mess up an assignment on the next play. He said the challenge is to have a better mental focus and discipline approach ahead of Friday night.
2. On one hand, the Pats committed half as many penalties as Boonville did, only turned the ball over once, and recovered the one time they put the ball on the ground. Still, he talked about the staff giving “yes” or “no” grades to players on every play, with many players grading around 50 or 60%, which isn’t sufficient enough. Wilkerson also felt the team losing its focus led to giving up some big plays.
3. South Spencer is coming off of its first win, 24-13, against Pike Central. Senior quarterback Nathan Hurt went 16-of-29 passing with 281 yards and three touchdown passes, two of them to junior Garin Kenney. Wilkerson thinks Heritage Hills must get better at mixing up coverages and executing its defense more consistently. It’ll be a big game, as it’s a county rival, the first home game for the Pats since the Aug. 19 opener and a chance to bounce back.
4. “We need to get back on the right foot,” Wilkerson said. “Sometimes people around here, if we lose one game, they think the sky’s falling and we don’t believe that with this group. We believe we’ve got a very talented group. Our goals are still intact for this season, we’re still working at getting better (this) year, and we need to come out Friday night and show everyone that.”