Class 6A Sectional 2

Elkhart (7-2) at Warsaw (7-2)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m., Fisher Field, Warsaw.

Series (last 35 years): No meetings.

John Harrell’s prediction: Warsaw, 24-21.

Last meeting: N/A.

About Elkhart: Coach Romison Saint-Louis’ Indiana Football Coaches Association No. 13 Lions drew a bye in the first round of the sectional (as did all 6A and 5A teams) … Elkhart’s touchdown in a 35-7 Week 9 loss to New Prairie was a 12-yard pass from sophomore Quinn Rost to senior Rodney Gates … The Lions have outscored opponents 277-79 with three shutouts … Elkhart is led in rushing by senior Aalias Leonard (106 carries for 809 yards and 10 TDs), senior Gavin Houser (83 carries for 541 yards and 11 TDs) and junior Jaiven Sharp (83 carries for 256 yards and two TDs). The offensive line has allowed just five sacks in 133 passing attempts (0.55 per game) … The Lions are paced in total tackles by junior Darreon Newson (65), senior Preston Stimac (45) and senior Braden Cook (43) … The Lions started the season 4-0 and was 7-1 before the loss at New Prairie (the other setback was 21-20 against Penn in Week 5) … Since 2020, Elkhart is 2-2 in the postseason with a sectional championship in 2020.

About Warsaw: Coach Bart Curtis’ Associated Press No. 13 Tigers drew a bye in the first round of the sectional (as did all 6A and 5A teams) … The Tigers have outscored opponents 302-127 with three shutouts … Offensive leaders are sophomore Drew Sullivan (6-of-15 for 120 yards and two touchdowns) and junior Grady Nolin (7-of-22 for 109 yards and two TDs) in passing, senior German Flores-Ortega (146 carries for 885 yards and 10 TDs), senior Bryson Brown (51 carries for 416 yards and three TDs), Sullivan (64 carries for 352 yards and two TDs), junior Reed Zollinger (41 carries for 315 yards and four TDs) and Nolin (55 carries for 242 yards and five TDs) in rushing and senior Jack Murrell (four catches for 116 yards and one TD) in receiving … Warsaw averages 296.3 rushing yards per game … Sophomore kicker Mason Smythe is 29-of-31 on extra points and 1-of-4 on field goals … Pacing in total tackles are senior Nick Katris (48.5), junior Jette Woodward (47.5), senior Dimitri Chandler (39.5), junior Eric Pohl (36), senior Theo Katris (28), senior Trey Koontz (25.5) and junior Isaac Beam (25) … Beam (5) and Nick Katris (3) are sack leaders … Theo Katris (3) and junior Lucas Ransbottom (2) lead the way in interceptions. As a team, the Tigers have 15 sacks and 10 interceptions (two for touchdowns) … Warsaw has 22 takeaways (12 fumbles) and 18 giveaways (14 fumbles) … The Tigers began the season 4-0. The two losses came in Week 5 at NorthWood and Week 6 against Mishawaka … Since 1985, Warsaw is 16-37 in the postseason with a sectional championship in 2019.

Per Warsaw coach Bart Curtis:

On Elkhart — We’ve got a real good outfit rolling into town Friday night … They present some problems all the way around … They are extremely patient and extremely well-coached. They have a massive (offensive) line with some good, hard running backs.

Availability — We went from 10 suspended players to eight. We get two back (for Friday).

On Northridge game, bye week — I was pleased and proud of the kids we took up to Middlebury a week ago Friday … We played some kids on both sides of the ball. Some of them played their best football of the year. That’s what we need to have happen … (After two regular practices after school and an early-morning session Wednesday), we gave the kids 72 hours away (for fall break).  We had a practice Saturday morning followed by a mom’s large breakfast.

Guerin Catholic (6-4) at Tippecanoe Valley (9-1)

(3A Sectional Semifinal)

When: Friday, 7 p.m., Smith-Bibler Memorial Field.

Series: First-ever meeting.

John Harrell prediction: Guerin, 38-24.

About Guerin: The 3A No. 9-ranked Golden Eagles knocked off previously unbeaten host Oak Hill 24-21 in last week’s sectional opener. … Sophomore Malcolm Houze, who became Guerin’s regular quarterback in Week 4, has completed 68-of-136 passes over his last six games for 951 yards with 10 touchdowns against four interceptions. Senior running back Justin Zdobylak has carried 167 times for 894 yards and eight touchdowns. Senior receiver Will Fremion has 47 catches for 960 yards and nine TDs. … On defense, senior DB Luke Moody (51), junior linebacker Gavin Stella (50) and junior safety Aaron Keller (49) are nearly even as the team’s top three in solo tackles. Stella’s also notched 10 of the Eagles’ 58 tackles for loss. … Senior kicker Evan Guenthner is a perfect 38-of-38 on extra points to accompany 5-of-8 on field goals with a long of 36. … Among 3A teams, Guerin has played the state’s toughest schedule, and it would even rank fourth-toughest among 4A teams, per the Sagarin computerized ratings. … Eagle coach Tom Dilley owns the distinction of being the first individual to win Indiana state football titles as a player (1983 at Penn), assistant (1997 and ’98 at Indianapolis Chatard) and head coach (2001 and ’02 at Chatard). … Guerin, which opened in 2004 and joined the IHSAA for football in 2006, is located in Noblesville, just northeast of Indianapolis.

About Valley: The Vikings led just 6-0 at halftime of their sectional-opening win last week at Peru, but erupted for 37 third-quarter points on their way to a 50-0 shutout. It was Valley’s first postseason shutout victory in 10 years (44-0 over West Noble in 2012) and just its second in the last 30. … Junior Wade Jones, after missing the previous two games due to injury, returned to make four catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns. On the season, he’s racked up 765 yards and 10 TDs across just 43 combined ground and air touches from scrimmage. … Nate Parker’s rushed for 1,206 yards and 24 TDs on 173 carries. Fellow junior Cody Eastgate continues to post ultra-efficient throwing numbers at 50-of-66 or 877 yards with 10 touchdowns against two picks. That’s a 144.3 QB rating. … On defense, senior Noah Prater has 10 of TV’s 55 tackles for loss, while junior Dalton Alber (six) and sophomore Asher McGriff (five) have combined for half of the team’s 22 sacks. … The Vikings are trying to advance to a sectional title game for the first time in 29 years. They would be on the road for the final against No. 3-ranked Indianapolis Chatard (6-4) or home against Hamilton Heights (8-2).

Valley coach Steve Moriarty:

On last week — “It kind of took awhile to get our groove. Defensively, we played well the whole game, but that second half, that was one the best overall halves I’ve seen from a Valley team in a long time. It was like we flipped a switch, and it was great to see.”

On Guerin — “They’re the real deal. They’ve played a lot of big schools and had some success. They lost to Chatard by one point. They’re a very talented group with a very good offensive line. Defensively, they have a lot of skill in the secondary, and they come up well on the run without getting beat deep.”

On a new opponent — “I think our team’s been very focused so far this week, even in the torrential rain we practiced in tonight (Tuesday). They’re going at it hard and they’ve been like sponges. They want to learn all about Guerin Catholic. … (Regarding the overhauled IHSAA sectional assignments that grouped the Vikings with distant schools Guerin and Chatard) we take it as a big challenge and opportunity. If you wanna be the best, you gotta go through the best, and we’re getting that chance.”

Eastside (8-2) at Manchester (2-8)

(2A Sectional Semifinal)

When: Friday, 7 p.m., Burk Field

Series: First-ever meeting.

John Harrell prediction: Eastside, 52-3.

About Eastside: The 2A No. 7-ranked Blazers cruised 49-6 in their sectional opener last week at Wabash for their seventh consecutive win. Wabash, a common opponent for Eastside and Manchester, nipped the Squires 28-27 early in the regular season. … The Blazers’ two losses, both narrow, came during Week 2 (25-21 at Adams Central, which is now 10-0 and ranked No. 2 in 1A) and Week 3 (28-27 in OT at West Noble, which is now 8-2), while all eight wins have come by at least 21 points. … Dual-threat senior QB Carson Jacobs has netted 1,158 yards and 13 touchdowns on 162 keepers to go with 50-of-82 through the air for 704 yards and eight TDs against five picks. … Senior Briar Munsey and junior Dax Holman have combined for another 1,616 ground yards on 201 carries with 27 TDs. As a team, Eastside is averaging 303 rushing yards per game to go with 46 TDs. … On defense, junior Brady Laub has 13 of the Blazers’ 72 tackles for loss, while Jacobs has four of the team’s 10 interceptions. He’s also averaging 41.8 yards punting. … Eastside, in its 59th year as a program, won its second-ever sectional title last season, then added its first-ever regional crown before being edged 17-14 by eventual 2A state champ Andrean in the semistate. … Eastside is in Butler, about 30 miles northeast of Fort Wayne.

About Manchester: The Squires opened postseason by rolling to a 36-6 victory last week at winless Whitko. Manchester led 36-0 by the final minute of the third quarter. Sophomore Mason Rooney (155 yards, one touchdown) and junior Preston Duffy (47, three) combined for 202 yards and four TDs on the ground. … For the season, senior QB Brock Casper is 119-of-249 throwing for 1,626 yards with 16 TDs and 12 interceptions. Rooney’s rushed for 727 yards on 140 carries with seven TDs. Senior Memphis Wood has 40 catches for 805 yards and nine touchdowns, and freshman Reiss Gaerte 27 for 362 with four. … Total tackle leaders for the Squires are senior Jordan Ayres (94), Gaerte (79) and senior Mavern Smith (66). … Manchester’s win last week was its first in postseason in six years and second in the last 11. An upset of Eastside would give the Squires two victories within the same postseason for the first time in 15 years … With a win, Manchester would be home for the sectional final regardless of opponent, facing the survivor of Fort Wayne Luers (5-5) at Churubusco (8-2).

Manchester coach Alyx Brandewie:

On last week — “After watching the film, I was really proud of our effort and execution. I thought our attention to detail was really good. (Whitko) did a couple things a little different, and our guys adapted and adjusted very well. I thought our guys were really effective.”

On Eastside — “It’s kind of a pistol, double-wing offense with several guys that can carry the ball. They do a lot of read stuff. They’re an incredibly talented group, and what jumps out is that they’re not just extremely talented, but well-coached (Eastside alum Todd Mason is 53-17 in his sixth year) and very physical. You’re going to feel it for four quarters, whether you like it or not. … (Jacobs), he’s a really good football player on both sides. He couples really good decision-making with athletic ability, and that combination makes him really, really dangerous.”

On a new opponent — In my time here as coach and assistant, it seems like we’ve drawn Bremen or Wabash every year, and then Whitko this year was another familiar opponent. The last time we played somebody outside that group or somebody we didn’t play in the regular season was Delphi in 2016, so it’s been a while. It adds a little intrigue as you try to prepare.”

Class 1A Sectional 41

Triton (7-3) at North Judson (9-1)

When: Friday, 7 p.m., Liberty Field, North Judson.

Series (last 35 years): North Judson, 6-3.

John Harrell’s prediction: North Judson, 42-21.

Last meeting: Sept. 30, 2022, North Judson, 62-22.

About Triton: Coach Rodney Younis’ Associated Press No. 13/Indiana Football Coaches Association No. 11 Trojans beat Pioneer 42-6 in the sectional opener … Junior Anthony Schuh rushed 19 times for 147 yards and one touchdown and junior Cole Shively passed for 68 yards and one TD (20 yards to senior Evan Briles) on offense while Briles (3.5 tackles and one sack), sophomore Wayne Reichert (7.5 tackles) and Cole Shively (5 tackles) shined on defense for Triton, which topped Pioneer 35-12 in Bourbon in Week 6 … The Trojans have outscored opponents 431-227 with two shutouts … Triton’s three losses came against LaVille in Week 2, North Judson in Week 7 and Knox in Week 8. Those teams are a combined 26-4 … Since 1985, the Trojans are 24-37 in the postseason with a sectional championships in 2007, 2008 and 2018.

About North Judson: Coach Brett Lambert’s AP No. 4/IFCA No. 4 Bluejays beat South Newton 74-6 in the sectional opener … North Judson has outscored opponents 477-93 with three shutouts … Offensive leaders are senior Aldric Harper (35-of-62 for 816 yards and 16 touchdowns) in passing, sophomore Brock Benson (132 carries for 983 yards and 10 TDs), senior Cheyenne Allen (110 carries for 868 yards and 22 TDs) and Harper (51 carries for 443 yards and seven TDs) in rushing and sophomore Jesiah McDaniel (12 catches for 331 yards and six TDs), Allen (11 catches for 264 yards and six TDs) and senior Gabe Ellis (eight catches for 142 yards and two TDs) in receiving … Senior kicker Quinton Frasure is 24-of-36 on extra points and 0-of-1 on field goals.

Tops in total tackles are Frasure (115), McDaniel (67), senior Logan Radtke (66) and sophomore Kole Wilcox (58) … The Bluejays’ only setback was a 27-21 overtime decision at LaVille in Week 8 … North Judson’s average margin of victory is 43.3 points … Since 1985, the Bluejays are 66-43 in the postseason with 14 sectional championships (the last in 2021), six regional titles and two semistate crowns.

Per Triton coach Rodney Younis:

On North Judson — It’s always hard to go to their place to play. We’re excited to make it to the second round. We’re going to put a lot of effort in this week and see what happens.

Inside linebackers — Those two (seniors Reilley Wood and Brayden Cunningham) work well together. Wood is more the vocal leader as far as getting everybody excited. Cunningham is more the quarterback of the defense, making sure everyone is in the right positions.

On Pioneer game — Once we settled down we played a very good game. Our defense stepped up. We created some turnovers. We were able to bend a little bit but definitely not break. It was just a great team effort. Our kids read their keys well and flew around to the ball … Offensively, our offensive line did a great job for us protecting our quarterback and giving him time to throw the football and opening lanes for our running game.