Can you fathom the high school football regular season is already a third of the way over?
Soon enough we’ll be arguing about seeding vs. the blind draw. For now, we’ll settle for who will win in Week 4, which features a handful of intriguing matchups in southwest Indiana.
The highlight is the Catholic Bowl between Memorial and Mater Dei. You’d be best not to overlook Gibson Southern, the undisputed top team in the area, crossing the Ohio River to battle a very talented South Warren team.
Our guest picker this week is North High School baseball coach Jeremy Jones. He’s a graduate of Bosse High School and the University of Southern Indiana and lives on the North Side of Evansville. Jones has been married to his wife Kacy for 15 years and they have three kids, Kennedy (13), Cooper (11), and Caroline (6).
On to this week’s picks…
North (1-2) at Reitz (2-1)
Kyle Sokeland: This pick may depend on if North quarterback Ethan Brawdy plays. But I also think Reitz has played better as of late, the finish to the Jasper game withstanding. It should be close. Reitz 24, North 20.
Gordon Engelhardt: If three-year starting quarterback Ethan Brawdy is unable to play, it might prove difficult for North to beat Reitz at the Bowl. With his broken left hand encased in a heavy cast, Brawdy warmed up but did not play in the Huskies’ 28-12 victory over Harrison last week. Strong-armed sophomore Sam McKinney was 9-for-15 passing for 156 yards and two TDs in his absence. But without Brawdy, North lacks a big-play threat, which may be to the Panthers’ advantage. Prediction: Reitz 24, North 21.
Hendrix Magley: Even though the final score of Reitz’s loss to Jasper looked bad, the game was much closer than the final scoreboard showed. I came away impressed with some of their offensive production and sophomore Hayden Summers is a name to watch moving forward. The Huskies will make it a good game but give me the Panthers in a one-possession contest. Reitz 28, North 24.
Chad Lindskog: I’m perplexed by each of these teams, neither of which seems to have established an identity yet. Reitz opened with a couple of blowouts wins against lesser-quality opponents before losing by three scores last week. North is coming off a win but hasn’t proven much yet. Reitz 28, North 21.
Jeremy Jones: The Panthers ran into a buzzsaw last week on the road at Jasper and will look to get on track at home against the Huskies. North will have to slow down a Reitz offense that is averaging 31 points a game. However, Coach P will have his guys ready to go in a high-flying scoring fest. I can’t go against the Huskies and be allowed back in the building, give me TJ Hankins for 2 TDs and a North 38-35 win on the road.
Jasper (3-0) at Bosse (2-1)
KS: The score last week was slightly misleading. Bosse played well in the first half and has some tough dudes. But like Castle, this matchup represents a higher tier in the SIAC. Jasper is going to be in the title hunt until October. Jasper 40, Bosse 14.
GE: Bosse’s feel-good story was punctured last week by Castle, as it lost its first game, 49-0. If you’re old enough to remember the original “Saturday Night Live” cast, you might describe the Bulldogs as the “Not Ready For Prime Time Players.” Bosse is on the rise, but not quite ready to hang with the big boys. Prediction: Jasper 42, Bosse 14.
HM: Every week, you know what Jasper is going to do. It’s still so hard to stop. A methodical run game, a defense that thwarts away scoring opportunities and the ability to not beat themselves. Bosse’s start has been a feel-good story but I’m expecting the Wildcats to put a damper on that this Friday. Jasper 35, Bosse 17.
CL: Jasper is No. 3 in this week’s C&P power rankings, but it’s seemingly still flying under the radar. The Wildcats opened last season with five straight wins and should still be unbeaten in Week 5 this year to face another potential undefeated team in Mater Dei. Surely, they won’t overlook Bosse, though. Jasper 35, Bosse 13.
JJ: My alma mater started 2-0 for the first time since I was a Bulldog back in 1994, but the Knights picked them apart last week to drop them to 2-1. Jasper looks like the real deal but will have to shut down Jaiden Thomas and the run game. Hate to do it because I love what Coach Mullen is doing with the program, but I’ll take Jasper to stay perfect with a 31-7 win.
Jeffersonville (1-1) at Mount Vernon (3-0)
KS: Hello, former Hoosier Hills Conference athlete/fan/reporter speaking. I can attest Jeffersonville usually has some impressive athletes. But that score against Bedford, who did not look good the first two weeks, was shocking. I’m on board with Luke Messmer. Mount Vernon 31, Jeffersonville 20.
GE: Mount Vernon is off to a 3-0 start for the second successive season. Last year, Luke Messmer’s first as head coach, the Wildcats went on to post a 5-3 record. Mount Vernon hopes to show it has what it takes to beat Class 5A Jeff. Prediction: Mount Vernon 28, Jeffersonville 21.
HM: The Wildcats have been one of the strongest programs in the PAC this season. Luke Mesmer has done an impressive job since coming to Mount Vernon before the start of the 2020 season. Jeffersonville might be a much larger school but I don’t expect that to matter much. Wildcats in a rout. Mount Vernon 35, Jeffersonville 10.
CL: I have a feeling Mount Vernon will still be undefeated after Friday. The Wildcats are scoring 26 points per game more than they’re allowing while the Red Devils have been outscored by 12 points, on average. Mount Vernon 40, Jeffersonville 21.
JJ: Can Mt. Vernon stay perfect till an Oct. 1 matchup with Gibson Southern? The Wildcats have outscored their opponents 118-39 through three games. I have a feeling a big crowd and lots of points will welcome Jeffersonville to town this week. Give me Mt. Vernon in a game they control from the start, 34-14.
Gibson Southern (3-0) at South Warren, Ky. (1-1)
KS: Nick Hart has talked up this South Warren team quite a bit. A D1 quarterback with a lot of talent around him. Sounds like the Titans are looking in a mirror. Crossing state lines is always difficult, but I think Gibson Southern gives a good showing. Gibson Southern 30, South Warren 28.
GE: I am going out on a limb here and predicting that Class 3A top-ranked Gibson Southern might have a little trouble making the 2-plus-hour trip to Bowling Green, Ky., and win a matchup of college-bound quarterbacks. Brady Allen, of course, is headed for Purdue while 5-A South Warren’s Caden Veltkamp will stay home at Western Kentucky University. Gibson Southern is bound to have a letdown sooner or later, right? South Warren (1-1) has had an extra week to prepare for the Titans. Prediction: South Warren 28, Gibson Southern 24.
HM: Gibson Southern head coach Nick Hart said South Warren (Ky.) is going to be one of the toughest teams the Titans have ever played in his tenure. Both teams sport Division I talent and plenty of weapons. A two-hour bus trip won’t be fun but if they want to have a deep postseason run, they have to be prepared for that. Give me Gibson Southern in a thriller. Gibson Southern 38, South Warren 35.
CL: Gibson Southern scored 43 in the opener. Then 63 points. And last week it posted 68. The most a Nick Hart-led Titans squad has dropped is 77 back in 2015 — will that change this season? Still, this one should be closer. Gibson Southern 42, South Warren 35.
JJ: I wish I could have Brady Allen on my fantasy football team or any one of his playmakers — this team scores points like the 1998 Minnesota Vikings. They are averaging 58… seriously, 58 points a game! Not a chance I’m going against Coach Hart’s squad. Titans keep the South Warren scoreboard operator busy winning 51-10.
Tell City (2-1) at North Posey (3-0)
KS: I’m willing to bet Harold Bender doesn’t go 20 for 21 every week. But that game against Southridge was the result most were waiting to see from North Posey. This won’t be a breeze but siding with the Vikings at home. North Posey 28, Tell City 21.
GE: North Posey senior quarterback Harold Bender was nearly perfect, completing 20 of 21 passes for 261 yards and three scores in a 40-28 victory over tradition-rich Southridge. The Vikings are seeking their first 4-0 start since 2005 when they went on to finish 12-3 and advance to the Class 2A state championship game under Posey County legend Joe Gengelbach. Prediction: North Posey 35, Tell City 21.
HM: If you needed any more proof that North Posey is for real, just take a look at last week’s win against Southridge. It was the first time the Vikings beat the Raiders since 2012. With a senior-laden group and an abundance of offensive production, they don’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. North Posey 27, Tell City 17.
CL: I went to a North Posey practice in mid-July as we made our rounds for season previews and the Vikings said their experience would be key to success. They were right. This is the best start for them since 2012 and they’ve done it rather convincingly. North Posey 28, Tell City 15.
JJ: North Posey QB Harold Bender was in the zone last week versus Southridge with just one incompletion in 21 attempts and 250 yards and 3 TDs. I’m staying with the hot hand this week and see Coach Schenk and the Vikings moving to 4-0 with a 28-17 win over a scrappy Tell City team.
Mater Dei (3-0) at Memorial (2-1)
KS: For Mater Dei, this will come down to consistency on offense. Those were the exact words from Mike Goebel. They’ve been good but not great yet. The same goes for Memorial with the exception of last week. Without a doubt in my mind, this will be another one-score game. Memorial 21, Mater Dei 20.
GE: This one is a tossup — the winner could go on to capture the SIAC title. Sure, that’s well down the road. For now, it may be the most intriguing Week 4 matchup on the area docket. Mater Dei is again ranked No. 2 in the latest Class 2A AP poll. Playing a home game at Romain Stadium instead of Enlow Field shouldn’t deter the Tigers. Prediction: Memorial 23, Mater Dei 21.
HM: There’s no doubt that this is the game of the week. The Catholic Bowl is always fun but this year has a little added intensity with both teams being near the top of the SIAC. I expect the defense to be the key in this one. In that case, give me the Wildcats in a game that comes down to the wire. Mater Dei 17, Memorial 14.
CL: Hmm, is this going to be another grind-it-out showdown? Memorial has won the last four meetings, and the past two have been by scores of 13-10 and 10-3. Heading into the season, this was a Game of the Year contender. Let’s see if it fits the billing. Mater Dei 22, Memorial 21.
JJ: Game of the Week material when these two teams square off at Romain Stadium. Both teams will be dangerous in the postseason and this game could swing the SIAC race. Memorial has a potent offense with Xavier Tyler and a strong defense that shut down the Bears last week with four takeaways. MD has been perfect on the year but I see that coming to an end as Memorial stays hot with a hard-nosed 24-21 win over the Wildcats.
Season standings (Last week)
Hendrix Magley: 15-3 (6-0)
Chad Lindskog: 14-4 (5-1)
Kyle Sokeland: 13-5 (5-1)
Gordon Engelhardt: 12-6 (5-1)
Guest pickers: 11-7 (Markus Barnett 5-1)