Terre Haute North at Castle
The action — The Class 5A No. 2-ranked Terre Haute North Patriots (7-2) will visit the Castle Knights (6-3) for a Class 5A Sectional 16 semifinal showdown.
Kickoff — 7:30 p.m. EDT.
Airwaves — Beginning with a 7:15 pregame show, WFNF-FM 99.5 and WFNF-AM 1130 will broadcast the action live.
Last meeting — On Aug. 23 of this season, North defeated Castle 44-14 in Lucas Oil Stadium.
Coaches — Chris Barrett is 51-77 in his 12th season at North and 79-109 in his 19th season overall, while Doug Hurt is 64-29 in his eighth year at Castle.
Outlook — So far, North has routed Castle 44-14 inside Lucas Oil Stadium, lost at home to Terre Haute South 28-24, won at Northview 47-14 and lost at home to Southport 11-10 in two overtimes, won at Bloomington North 44-23, won at home over Columbus North 49-17, won at Bloomington South 51-47, won at Perry Meridian 42-28 and won at home over Frankling Central 28-18.
Meanwhile, Castle followed that season-opening loss to North with home victories over New Albany (14-7) and Evansville Reitz (17-0), a road loss to Evansville Bosse (40-33), a road win over Evansville Central (39-14), a home win over Evansville Mater Dei 31-24, a road triumph over Evansville Harrison (63-40) and home wins over Evansville North (35-14) and Evansville Memorial (10-3).
Both teams had a bye last weekend.
Injuries, lineups — For North, senior tackle Austin Vermillion (neck spasms) is out and junior outside linebacker Austin Barron (separated shoulder), junior inside linebacker Trey Grim (pulled groin), junior defensive end Ethan Barrett (internal), junior outside linebacker Vahn Billberry (stress fracture in foot) and junior defensive tackle Michael Gant (sprained ankle) have recovered and are ready to play. Some key senior starters include tackle Lucas Comer, quarterback Chris Barrett II, safety Austin Massey and inside linebacker Ryan Moshak.
For Castle, all regulars appear healthy. Some key starters include senior middle linebacker Clay Seitz, junior running back Christian Peach and sophomore quarterback Will Randell.
Coaches’ comments — Barrett on his squad: “We gave them Monday [Oct. 21] off [from practice] and started Castle preparation the next day, but we cut way back on hitting [during the off week].”
Barrett on playing the Knights again: “It’s scary, because they are probably one of the most improved teams in the state. Doug Hurt does a great job with them and they’re kind of on a roll. We’ll have to roll our sleeves up and get in the fight early.”
Hurt on his squad: “We’ve had our highs and lows this season for sure. That first game [against North], we got taken to the woodshed like we haven’t been for a long time. That’s for sure. … But we’ve continued to improve. I’m real proud of our players and our coaches for the way they battled and prepared each and every week.”
Hurt on playing the Patriots again: “We’d like to think that we’ve closed the gap a little [since the regular-season opener]. We’re going to show up and do our part. We just hope to make it a game.”