TERRE HAUTE —
Several Wabash Valley high school football teams had statement games in their season openers Friday night.
Terre Haute North ended its statement with an exclamation point, scoring the first 44 points in a 44-14 win over Castle — a team ranked four or five spots ahead of the Patriots in the Class 5A preseason polls.
“I think it gives the whole team more confidence and lets everyone else know we can be state contenders if we keep performing this way,” Patriot running back Ricky Brookins said after that game, during which he had 108 yards rushing and two touchdowns by the end of the first quarter.
Also showing notice were Rockville’s Rox, 42-6 winners over Seeger, and South Vermillion’s Wildcats in a 35-2 decision over Covington.
Not quite as decisive, but just as impressive a statement, was Sullivan’s 30-27 win over Vincennes Lincoln on Kynon Johnson’s late field goal. And Northview’s 22-18 comeback win at Indianapolis Broad Ripple was a good opening for the Mark Raetz era.
In the business-as-usual category were Linton’s 50-12 win over Eastern Greene, North Central’s 66-6 victory over Union and North Vermillion’s 56-0 blanking of Turkey Run. Although the Falcons had some impressive offensive numbers in the latter game, their defense was even better, holding to Warriors to minus 106 yards rushing and minus 80 total yards.
Both West Vigo and Terre Haute South fell in the close-but-no-cigar category, and for similar reasons. The Vikings were behind 22-0 to Evansville Harrison and the Braves trailed Evansville North 24-0 early, but West Vigo got within 28-22 and was inside the 5-yard line as time expired, while South had a pass off fingertips in the end zone that could have completely reversed momentum in the Braves’ 37-20 setback.
Friday’s results also demonstrated what could be a two-level Wabash River Conference. Rockville may be ready to join North Vermillion in the top half along with Fountain Central, a 50-31 winner over Southmont, and Attica, which handed Riverton Parke its 24th straight loss by a 71-0 score.
In other conference outcomes:
• Conference Indiana — The other six members of the new league for North and South went 4-2, the scarier wins a 21-16 victory by Southport over always-strong Roncalli and Bloomington South’s 35-0 pasting of Bedford North Lawrence (although the fact that star quarterback Jesse Millikan went with his father when members of last year’s BNL staff moved on to Evansville North was no doubt a factor). Franklin Central outlasted Decatur Central 58-50 and Perry Meridian downed Greenwood 42-19 for Conference Indiana’s other wins, while Bloomington North lost 49-21 to Columbus East and Columbus North suffered a very surprising 34-32 loss to Plainfield.
• Western Indiana Conference — The other three WIC teams went 1-2 against Putnam County opposition. Edgewood beat North Putnam 34-12 and Brown County defeated Cloverdale 14-6, but South Putnam routed Owen Valley 26-0. South Putnam coach Troy Burgess, of course, used to coach the Patriots, and his current team figures to be an emerging power after dropping back to Class A.
n Southwest Conference — With Linton out of the conference mix, North Central should be battling for the top spot with North Knox — a 79-8 winner over Pike Central — and North Daviess, which beat Tecumseh 30-13. Wood Memorial lost its opener 55-6 to Princeton.
Here are some additional notes from Friday night’s Vigo County games:
• After mostly bending, but occasionally breaking, West Vigo's defense stiffened considerably in the second half, and particularly, in the fourth quarter. The Vikings held Evansville Harrison to only five second half first downs. While the Warriors rushed for 116 yards overall, only six were gained in the final quarter when the Warriors were trying to burn the clock.
“They came up with big stops. Several kids stepped up. I saw Sam Bowden make some big plays. I saw some freshmen and sophomores making plays. Anytime you can get a team like that off the field, it helps. They can break one at any point to break open the game,” West Vigo coach Jeff Cobb said.
• West Vigo saw a hole in the left side of Evansville Harrison's kick return defense on Friday and exploited it to average 31.5 yards in four returns. Most of the damage was done in the first half. Austin Cutliff had returns of 40 and 33 yards and Hunter Voils had a 42-yard return before halftime.
• West Vigo quarterback Jimmy Maples amassed 68 of his 130 rushing yards and 69 of his 131 passing yards in the fourth quarter. Maples had to be helped off the field twice during the game, once after a hit and once due to cramps, but kept on ticking.
• West Vigo earned nine of its 18 first downs in the final quarter.
• Although West Vigo was awarded a victory in last's year's opener against Harrison due to forfeit, the last time West Vigo won its opener on the field was in 2009 when it defeated Indianapolis Howe 27-0.
• Terre Haute South is now 4-6 in its series against Evansville North. A check of websites — too late to be included in Friday’s pregame capsule — found South winning 32-7 in 1971 (South’s first-ever season), 30-0 in 1973 (when the Braves finished 10-0), 39-20 in 1978 and 28-7 in 1982, the last time the teams had met prior to Friday night.
Evansville North’s other wins in the series were 26-0 in 1972, 7-0 in both 1974 and 1975, 28-7 in 1976 and 35-21 in 1977.
• South quarterback Timmy Herrin came off the field Friday for kickoffs, kickoff returns, punt returns and one other play. He also is a linebacker/strong safety on defense, and does the Braves’ punting.
Backup quarterback and cornerback Taxi Brown suffered an early ankle injury and missed the rest of the game.
• Take out plays of 25 yards or more and Evansville North netted just 106 yards in 49 plays against a South defense led up front by Dickie Rollins and Junior Berry. Unfortunately the Braves were gouged six times for runs of 25, 31 and 48 yards and passes of 55, 62 and 68 yards. Chase Whitler of the Huskies caught all three of the long passes.
• The starting Terre Haute North defense didn’t allow a point Friday night and the Patriots created six turnovers overall.
Castle’s first-half highlight was an 18-yard rush on a fake punt. The Knights totaled 56 yards if you take that away.
Linebackers Trey Grimm (4 solo, 3 assists and a fumble recovery) and Wyatt Stoelting (3 solo, 1 assist, 2 pass breakups, tackle for loss and one fumble recovery) led the defense.
“I’m extremely happy with how they performed, just completely shut them down,” North defensive coordinator Alex Bettag said. “We had the punt fake they got on us, but then got another takeaway on that drive.”
• Terre Haute North kicker Zach Potter helped stifle the Castle offense through special teams, nailing five kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks out of eight tries.
Potter also connected on 5 of 6 extra point attempts and drilled a 30-yard field goal.
• Terre Haute North quarterback Chris Barrett II made only one glaring mistake all night, trying to squeeze a throw into tight coverage in the first quarter that resulted in an interception.
Especially impressive was his decisiveness on when to leave the pocket. He scrambled 17 yards for a first down and finished with 38 rushing yards.
• Terre Haute and Northview were two of 19 Indiana teams to avenge 2012 losses in Friday’s 2013 season openers.
The Patriots’ 41-point turnaround was only the 12th largest turnaround in differential. North Knox, a 79-8 winner over Pike Central, had the largest at 86 points.
Todd Golden, Craig Pearson and columnist/editor writer Mark Bennett contributed to this report.
TERRE HAUTE —
Several Wabash Valley high school football teams had statement games in their season openers Friday night.
- High School
Linton, Clay City coaches pulling for each other Saturday in IHSAA basketball regionals
The only Wabash Valley boys basketball teams remaining in the IHSAA state tournament are the two that tied for first place in the SouthWestern Indiana Athletic Conference.
Linton (Class 2A) and Clay City (Class A) each finished 7-1 in the SWIAC. Clay City handed Linton its only conference loss Feb. 18, a 58-50 decision, while Clay City’s only SWIAC setback was by a 62-51 score at Eastern Greene on Jan. 17.
Paris rally falls short in Super Sectional
When Petersburg (PORTA) finally showed it was possible to hit a free throw on the west end of the Illinois-Springfield gym Tuesday night — after 12 misses in a row — it spelled the end of a high school comeback by Paris that looked for awhile like it would be one for the ages.
“I thought we had ‘em,” Tiger coach Shawn Nugent said after the Class 2A Super Sectional game won by the Bluejays 58-49.
Paris seeking finals berth tonight
The Paris Tigers may be the underdogs again tonight when they play at the Class 2A Springfield Super Sectional, or they may be the favorites. What’s already clear as the Illinois boys basketball tournaments for the smaller schools enter their final week is that rankings and reputation don’t matter, particularly to the Tigers.
Class 2A girls: Rick Risinger coaches Heritage to fifth state title
Rick Risinger spoke this past week about defense being the key to securing a win against a talented Fort Wayne Canterbury girls basketball squad in the Class 2A state championship game.
Coach Risinger’s Heritage Christian squad rose to the occasion Saturday in Hulman Center, holding the Cavaliers to 33-percent shooting to claim the school’s fifth state title since joining the IHSAA in 2003.
The Eagles won their first title since 2009 by a score of 64-61.
Class A girls: Oregon-Davis holds off Vincennes Rivet
Oregon-Davis jumped out to a 15-2 lead when senior Alicia McIntosh drilled a 3-pointer in Saturday’s Class A state championship for girls high school basketball.
The Bobcats stretched that lead to as large as 17 before halftime, and still led by double figures with three minutes remaining.
Class 3A girls: Western over Evansville Mater Dei 38-35
Like Fort Wayne Canterbury in the Class 2A championship, two-time defending Class 2A champion Evansville Mater Dei found the going much more tough when moving up one class due to the IHSAA’s “Team Success Factor” legislation.
Mater Dei (26-2), which had an average margin of victory of 27 points throughout the season, struggled against Western’s 2-3 zone all night long in falling to the Panthers 38-35.
Class 4A girls: Bedford North Lawrence wins second straight title
Damon Bailey guided Bedford North Lawrence to a second straight state championship in his first year as head coach.
Bailey, an assistant on the Stars’ unbeaten Class 4A champions in 2013, watched his team hold off a scrappy Penn squad for a 51-41 victory Saturday night.
Central Catholic rallies to defeat Rockville
It was an old story in a new location Saturday for the boys basketball team from Lafayette Central Catholic High School.
Clay City wins third straight sectional
Clay City, the two-time defending champion of the IHSAA Class A Sectional No. 57, took the floor at White River Valley High School with a chip on its shoulder Saturday night.
Linton pulls away late to win at North Knox
Defending smartly and playing the offensive tempo like a finely tuned violin, Linton’s Miners dominated the fourth quarter of a previously air-tight high school basketball game to defeat South Knox 57-45 and repeat as Class 2A Sectional 47 champions.
Damon Bailey among coaches directing daughters at Hulman Center on Saturday
Father-daughter bonding was among the themes Saturday at Hulman Center as Terre Haute played host to the IHSAA girls basketball state finals for a third straight year.
Class 4A title favorite Bedford North Lawrence looked to repeat as champions late Saturday night. Former BNL state champion and Indiana Hoosier great Damon Bailey led his Stars into the game with a pair of daughters on the court. Junior Alexa Bailey, wearing No. 22 of course, is a Butler recruit and sophomore Loren is a reserve for the Stars.
Owen Valley, Edgewood in sectional final again
Things haven’t changed that much in the Class 3A boys basketball sectional. Northview was in the field for the first time and hosted the semifinals Friday night. But for the second year in a row, Edgewood and Owen Valley will play for the Sectional 28 championship tonight.
Temples’ 3-pointers help Paris advance
The prudent thing would have been to pull the basketball out, wait for an opponent to foul and run as much clock as possible in the final minute of the Illinois Class 2A Westville Sectional on Friday night. Audie Temples was thinking dagger.
Ailing Wilkey helps Rockville advance to title game
For part of Friday, doubt existed about whether flu-stricken Rockville standout Keiontre’ Wilkey would be able to play in the first semifinal game of the Class A North Vermillion Sectional for boys basketball. The junior guard gutted it out, however, and tallied 17 points to help lead the Rox over the host high school 61-53. That sent them into tonight’s sectional championship game against No. 7-ranked Lafayette Central Catholic.
Preps: Late free throws help Linton beat North Knox
Linton hit 4 of 5 free throws in the final minute and hung on to defeat streaking North Knox 47-46 in the semifinals of the Class 2A North Knox Sectional for boys high school basketball.
Former Terre Haute resident Rick Risinger looking for fifth state title in Hulman Center
An accomplished group of girls basketball coaches will make their way into Hulman Center on Saturday for the IHSAA state finals.
Damon Bailey, 1990 Mr. Basketball for state champion Bedford North Lawrence and former Indiana University great, is the most familiar name to Hoosier basketball fanatics. In his first year as a girls varsity coach, Bailey leads BNL into action in the 4A state championship game.
With 590 career wins, Fort Wayne Canterbury coach Wayne Kreiger is already a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Behind senior Miss Basketball candidate Maura Muensterman, Steve Goans leads Evansville Mater Dei into the Class 3A title game on the heels of consecutive 2A titles.
No answer: Spears scores 30 as Martinsvlle ends TH South’s season
Terre Haute South ran into a championship performance Wednesday night in Game 2 of the Class 4A Avon Sectional for boys high school basketball. Martinsville’s Troy Spears scored 30 points while leading the Artesians to a 65-44 victory that ended South’s season.
North falls to No. 5 Brownsburg in Class 4A Avon Sectional
Terre Haute North did not bow out of the boys high school basketball tournament Tuesday night like a team on a seven-game losing streak.
The Patriots executed their gameplan, battled back from a double-digit deficit and forced Class 4A No. 5-ranked Brownsburg to hit free throws to win the opener of the Class 4A Avon Sectional.
Brownsburg (19-2) hit six straight free throws in the final 1 minute, 15 seconds to hold off the Patriots 51-47.
Two sets of Eels win at WRV Sectional
There’ll be no Cinderella story in Dugger to end this boys high school basketball season, and a spirited upset bid also fell short Tuesday night at the Class A White River Valley Sectional.
Defensive pressure and depth made the difference in both games, as Eminence ended the Union season — perhaps its last, at least as a public school — by a 59-46 score and Clay City pulled away in the second half for a 53-44 win over Shakamak.
Paris knocks off 23-2 Clinton Central in overtime sectional thriller
Paris’ boys basketball team has learned a lot in a late-season run of success, but the one thing that set the Tigers apart on Tuesday in Class 2A Westville Sectional semifinal game was composure.
The Tigers never got rattled, never flinched and got the ultimate reward.
BOYS SECTIONAL ROUNDUP: Linton holds off Sullivan at North Knox
Linton and Eastern posted victories in the opening round of the North Knox Class 2A Sectional on Tuesday.
Linton led most of the way to defeat Sullivan 51-43 in the first game. Eastern Greene bested North Central 62-42 in the nightcap.
Linton is 16-6 and will take on North Knox and Eastern Greene faces South Knox in the semifinals on Friday. North Knox takes an 11-game winning streak into the action.
Tough roads ahead: Terre Haute North faces big challenges in its sectional
With the hope that the obligatory snow is already on the ground, high school boys basketball sectionals begin today in Indiana, and for one Wabash Valley team in Illinois.
South swimmers fall short of lofty goals at state finals
Sometimes the journey is more rewarding than the destination.
That would best describe Terre Haute South’s performances Saturday in the 77th annual IHSAA boys swimming and diving state championships at the IU Natatorium.
Center Grove deals Terre Haute North 7th loss in row
Terre Haute North and Center Grove – two teams that haven’t won much lately – struggled to put the finishing touch against the other on Friday at North.
Prep roundup: Casey falls at Robinson Regional; Paris posts upset win at home
Teutopolis finished strong Friday night to defeat Casey 47-36 and win the Robinson Class 2A Regional for boys basketball teams.
Casey, Paris to play in regional title games
Championships of Illinois regional boys high school basketball tournaments will be decided tonight.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Bringing you the Amey Teams for girls basketball
Our Wabash Valley teams won’t be represented when the Indiana girls state basketball finals return again to Hulman Center on March 8 (even though the Class 4A title will probably be decided this weekend when Lawrence North plays Bedford North Lawrence in a semistate game).
I wish some of our girls teams had been able to play longer for a purely selfish reason: that might have given me an opportunity to see one or two of their games.
South boys fall to Southport, finish regular season 8-14
Terre Haute South got an up-close look Thursday night at what a Conference Indiana championship boys basketball team looks like. And Southport is big and quick.
Southport, led by 6-foot-10 sophomore Joey Brunk and junior guard Malik Bennett overpowered South’s Braves 61-49 at Southport Fieldhouse. Brunk had 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Bennett scored 21 points.
VIDEO: Wilhelm leads South swimmers into state finals
Christian Wilhelm plans to compete in the distance freestyle when he gets to the University of Illinois-Chicago’s downtown campus.
Wilhelm emerged as a state qualifier in the 500-yard freestyle and 200 freestyle as a junior for Terre Haute South. But his senior season took a different turn and he’s hoping to make a big splash in a new event.
Casey advances to regional title game
Casey will be in the championship game of the Class 2A Robinson Regional for boys high school basketball teams Friday night. The Warriors gained their spot in the title tilt with a 55-42 victory over Marshall on Wednesday.
- More High School Headlines
- Linton, Clay City coaches pulling for each other Saturday in IHSAA basketball regionals