INDIANAPOLIS — New Castle did not get a good draw, Tri did, and Shenandoah got a bye when the IHSAA drew the sectional pairings Sunday evening for its annual football state tournament.
Sectionals are Oct. 22, 29, and Nov. 5, regionals are Nov. 12, semi-states are Nov. 19, and the state finals are Nov. 26 and 27 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
All team records listed below are current going into the final week of the regular season.
Class 4A Sectional 21
The shocking thing about this eight-team sectional is that all four teams with just one win apiece are lopped into the same upper bracket. One of the four is assured of having three victories and will reach the championship game.
In the opening round of the upper bracket on Friday, Oct. 22, Richmond (1-7) is at Shelbyville (1-4) and Muncie Central (1-7) plays at Connersville (1-7).
In the lower bracket that night, Pendleton Heights (4-4) is at Mt. Vernon-Fortville (7-1) and Greenfield-Central (5-3) plays at New Castle (2-6).
By coincidence, the Cougars and Trojans play this coming Friday at Neal Field in the regular season finale, and return to the very same venue a week later for their sectional opener.
Sports editor’s skinny: Mt. Vernon is the overwhelming favorite to win this sectional for the third year in a row. The Marauders already own victories this season over the other four Hoosier Heritage Conference schools in this sectional by a whopping combined margin of 180-21.
Class 2A Sectional 38
No school in this seven-team sectional has a losing record going into the final week of the regular season.
In the upper bracket on Friday, Oct. 22, Heritage Christian (8-0) is at Indianapolis Scecina (5-3).
In the lower bracket that night, Centerville (7-0) is at Eastern Hancock (5-3) and Northeastern (4-4) plays at Winchester (4-4).
Shenandoah (4-3) drew the bye and plays in the semifinals Friday, Oct. 29 at either Heritage Christian or Indianapolis Scecina.
Sports editor’s skinny: Heritage Christian probably is the favorite to win this sectional for the third year in a row. The Eagles already own victories over three teams in this sectional, but by only 20-14 at home to Scecina, the team it plays in the opening round.
Centerville could win this sectional, too. The Bulldogs have crushed six of their seven opponents and probably are favored to at least reach the title game, although defeating the Royals in Charlottesville could pose a challenge.
Class A Sectional 47
Tri is the only school in this eight-team sectional assured of a winning record when the IHSAA tournament starts. The Titans, Hagerstown, and Knightstown are in the lower bracket.
In the upper bracket on Friday, Oct. 22, Oldenburg Academy (0-5) is at Milan (2-6) and North Decatur (3-4) plays at South Decatur (1-5).
In the lower bracket that night, Hagerstown (1-6) is at Tri (6-2) and Knightstown (1-6) plays at Cambridge City Lincoln (0-4).
Sports editor’s skinny: Tri should win its first sectional championship since 2007. The Titans probably would play at Knightstown in the semifinals on Oct. 29 and likely would host the championship game against North Decatur on Nov. 5.
But Tri shouldn’t reserve a place in the trophy case just yet. The Chargers are two-time defending sectional champions, lost to a trio of Class 2A teams plus a one-pointer to Class A No. 2 Monroe Central earlier in the season, and likely will enter the tournament on a four-game winning streak.
In another interesting point, Tri hosted North Decatur Aug. 13 in a scrimmage, so the two teams already have seen each other this season.