Memorial won the Class 4A state championship with a 21-3 victory over East Noble.
Evansville Courier & Press
EVANSVILLE — In two weeks, there will some semblance of normal for high school football
Granted, it will be workouts and conditioning beginning July 6. But that is the first step in starting the fall season after months of nothing in terms of high school sports. If all goes according to plan, the season would begin on schedule with week one occurring Aug. 21.
Many questions surrounding COVID-19 need to be answered between now and then. But the current plan is to play football. Let’s take a look at what tentatively is to come.
Here is a list of what could be the best football games involving Evansville schoo (plus Castle) in the 2020 season in chronological order. A look at the top area games will also come this week.
Sept. 4: Central at Memorial
These two have been the best local teams over the past four years. Memorial has won a pair of state championships, while Central advanced to the Class 4A title game in 2018. This matchup also produced the best regular season game in the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference last year.
Memorial’s Colton Pence (3) runs the ball during the Class 4A semistate game against the Mt. Vernon Marauders at Enlow Field in Evansville, Ind., Friday evening, Nov. 22, 2019. (Photo: MaCabe Brown / Courier & Press)
That was a 23-20 double overtime victory by the Bears in Sean Coultis’ first year as head coach. Memorial and Central shared the SIAC title before the Tigers took revenge in the 4A sectional championship.
Both sides lost productive players to graduation, but you’d be lying if you thought either was going anywhere. Memorial still has quarterback Colton Pence (24 passing touchdowns), running back Josh Russell (nine total scores) and other starters from the state champs. Led by linebacker Jacob Boberg (106 tackles) and receiver Tory Evans (334 yards), the Bears should remain as talented as ever.
Sept. 4: Jasper at Reitz
Thanks to conference realignment this battle of traditional Southern Indiana powers is now a conference game. And it should be intriguing on multiple levels.
These two have never met in the regular season. There were nearly annual meetings from 2007-15 but always in the sectional. Now you get Jasper coming to the Bowl. The Wildcats started slow last year but finished 6-4 under Tony Lewis and won the final Big Eight title.
Reitz hopes to reload with Mount Vernon coach and former Panther quarterback Cory Brunson taking over on the West Side. The Panthers suffered their first losing season since 1998 last year but expectations are always high in the program. Plus, you’ll always get Brunson coaching against his former boss in Lewis, who guided Reitz to the 2009 4A state championship; Brunson was his offensive coordinator.
Sept. 18: Central at Reitz
You want another case of a rival turning sour? It’s this matchup.
Central has won the last five meetings but the winner of this game usually has a claim at the SIAC title. As stated, the Bears should be among the conference favorites with this midseason clash proving to be a good measuring point two weeks after the Memorial game.
The Panthers are intriguing simply because we don’t know what they’ll look like. Brunson wants to move the ball quickly on offense, so the potential is there for fireworks. Is the roster ready for that change? Back will be quarterback Reid Brickey (11 touchdowns) and running back Collin Brown (343 yards, four touchdowns).
The Panthers look to put some pieces together at the end of the last year before Andy Hape stepped down in the offseason. A game against Central should prove where they stand. And they’ll probably draw each other in the first round of the sectional … again.
Oct. 2: Jasper at Castle
This will be the first meeting between the two traditional juggernauts since 1977. Imagine how some of the older generation of fans will view this meeting.
Jasper comes into the SIAC fresh off the aforementioned Big Eight championship. And Castle is looking to reclaim its spot atop the conference, after finishing behind Memorial and Central the past few years. It will be also be a full year under center for talented quarterback Cameron Tilley (eight touchdowns in five games as a freshman) for the Knights.
With other important SIAC games throughout the back half of the schedule, this one could play a bigger role in determining the champion.
Oct. 16: Rivalry week
Is it cheating to sort multiple games into one week? Yes. But just look at the schedule.
This is always the most anticipated week of the regular season. You get longstanding rivalries, both of respect and hatred. And last year, this slate of games nearly ended with a five-way tie atop the SIAC.
It should include some of the best games of the fall once again. Central against bitter rival North, a program on the rise. Memorial vs. Castle is always a tough four quarters and should feature two of the top SIAC teams. And of course, there is Reitz against Mater Dei at Reitz Bowl.
Fingers crossed the games remain on schedule to play. Honorable mention: Castle at North, Memorial at Mater Dei, Jasper at Central, Castle at Reitz.
Follow Courier & Press sports reporter Kyle Sokeland on Twitter @kylesokeland.
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