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Football sectional pairings announced for local teams

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

INDIANAPOLIS - Sunday evening, the IHSAA conducted the drawing for its annual high school football state tournament, and now the five local teams know the paths they must take to reach the state finals Nov. 29 or 30 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The state championship games are Friday, Nov. 29 for Classes 1A, 3A, and 5A, and Saturday, Nov. 30 for Classes 2A, 4A, and 6A.

Sectionals are Oct. 25, Nov. 1, and Nov. 8; regionals are Nov. 15; and semi-states are Nov. 22. Some games, particularly for the regional and semi-state, may be moved to Saturday because of travel distance.

Our five local teams are in three different sectionals in three different classes.

Class 4A Sectional 21

New Castle is in this eight-team field, play begins Friday, Oct. 25, and this sectional travels the southern path in the state tournament. Right now, only Mt. Vernon (Fortville) has a winning record among teams in this sectional going into the final week of the regular season.

On opening night, Mt. Vernon-Fortville (6-2) is at Connersville (0-8), New Castle (2-6) plays at Richmond (3-5), Shelbyville (0-8) travels to Pendleton Heights (4-4), and Muncie Central (0-8) is at Greenfield-Central (1-7).

If New Castle defeats Richmond, it would host a second-round game on Nov. 1.

Class 2A Sectional 38

Shenandoah is in this eight-team field, begins play on Oct. 25, and this sectional follows the southern path in the state tournament. Going into the final week of the regular season, six of the teams in this sectional field have winning records.

On opening night, Indianapolis Howe (3-4) is at Shenandoah (5-3), Indianapolis Scecina (5-3) plays at Centerville (4-4), Heritage Christian (7-1) travels to Northeastern (6-2), and Eastern Hancock (7-1) is at Winchester (6-2).

If Shenandoah beats Howe, it would be on the road for the second week of the tournament.

Class 1A Sectional 47

Three local teams (Hagerstown, Knightstown, and Tri) are in this eight-team sectional, play begins Oct. 25, and this sectional travels the southern patch in the tournament. Four teams in this field have winning records going into the final week of the regular season.

On opening night, Milan (6-2) is at Knightstown (5-3), Oldenburg Academy (4-3) plays at Hagerstown (3-5), South Decatur (3-5) travels to Tri (3-5), and Cambridge City Lincoln (2-6) is at North Decatur (7-1).

If Knightstown beats Milan and Tri defeats South Decatur, both would be on the road during the second round. If Hagerstown beats Oldenburg Academy, it would play at home in the second round only if Knightstown beats Milan.

Among local teams, only New Castle never has won a sectional championship since the IHSAA opened the football state tournament to every team in the state back in 1985.