First reaction to the Indiana sectional football pairings drawn late Sunday by the Indiana High School Athletic Association? It could have been a lot worse.
The obvious highlight game of the first night of competition Oct. 21 is in Class A’s Sectional 38, where Rockville travels to North Central. There are only three top-10 teams from the Wabash Valley in the state polls, and the Rox and Thunderbirds are two of them.
The third of them, Linton, is looking like such an obvious favorite in Class A Sectional 40 that it probably didn’t matter who the Miners drew, but at least their first-round game against Perry Central is in Linton and not in Leopold, wherever that is (Steve Fields claims to have seen it, but I prefer to think of it as something like Brigadoon, or Shangri-La).
Again, it could have been worse.
Because I was unable to see the Terre Haute North-Terre Haute South game this fall (my class reunion; I’ll let you guess the number), I’ve told both Chris Barrett and Mark Raetz that the two of them have to meet in Class 5A Sectional 6 play. That won’t be an easy task, but if it happens it will be for the championship.
Both test some of the Hoosier Crossroads Conference powers, the Patriots starting at home against Avon (coached by former Patriot assistant coach Mark Bless) and the Braves traveling to Brownsburg. Determining the strength of that conference is tricky, because it has 10 schools — no nonconference games for any of its teams, in other words. But it’s not the MIC.
Not only are the Braves on the road to begin sectional play, but they are in arguably a tougher half of the bracket, with Ben Davis looming in the second round. A second-round North foe would be either Pike — not as strong as it was a year ago — or Decatur Central.
Northview got a relative break in its Class 4A Sectional 14 draw. Not only are the Knights at home for the first round — against a solid but not spectacular Greenwood team — but a win would put them in the second round against either Lebanon or Owen Valley.
Indianapolis Cathedral and Roncalli, therefore, are in the other bracket. Repeat after me: it could have been a lot worse.
If there’s a sectional-draw winner, it might be West Vigo. The Vikings should have been hoping for a home game against one of the Indianapolis public schools in Class 3A Sectional 21 (not one of the Indianapolis Catholic schools, of course), and they’ll be on Jay Barrett Field against Indianapolis Northwest. Indianapolis Chatard — no, the Vikings don’t seem to ever be able to shake the Trojans out of their sectional — is in the opposite bracket, starting with a trip to Greencastle.
Wabash Valley news isn’t quite as good in Class 2A, where in Sectional 30 injury-plagued South Vermillion will have to visit a South Putnam team that isn’t likely to be particularly merciful. Sullivan has a bye in Sectional 32, but the reward for that will be a road game Oct. 28 against either North Posey or Evansville Mater Dei.
Class A draws were a little kinder to the struggling teams. You’ve already noticed that Union didn’t draw a rematch with Linton, or Riverton Parke another trip to Farmersburg. The Bulldogs actually have a potentially winnable game against Wood Memorial — which gets to come to Dugger twice in two weeks, including Friday’s regular-season finale — while the Panthers play at Cloverdale. Turkey Run gets a home game with Covington.
One more time? No, you know the drill by now.
Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. at (812) 231-4277 or at 1-800-783-8742; by e-mail at email@example.com; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321. Follow him on Twitter @TribStarAndy.