By RICHIE HALL
Reporter Sports Editor
The Hoosier Crossroads Conference football chase looks complicated, but it isn’t.
In fact, it’s quite simple for Fishers, Avon and Brownsburg: Win on Friday, and you get at least a share of the HCC championship.
The three teams in the hunt all have 4-1 conference records going into Friday’s final week of regular-season competition. The Tigers will host Zionsville, while Noblesville travels to the Orioles’ field and Hamilton Southeastern will head to the Bulldogs’ field.
The Eagles are the only Class 5A team in the mostly 6A HCC, and are ranked No. 10 in that division. Fishers has been alternately receiving and not receiving votes in the 6A poll. The Tigers’ upset of Avon in Week 6 not only put them in a position to challenge for the conference title, but also proved they can play with anyone.
“I’m proud of the way our guys have continued to get better and not get down after a couple of blow-out losses (Pike and Brownsburg),” said Fishers coach Rick Wimmer. “We have rebounded from those tough losses as an improved team and now find ourselves playing for an HCC Championship.
“Our message this week has been that in 2014, we were in a similar situation, traveling to Zionsville and with a win would win the HCC championship, but Zionsville outplayed and outcoached us to keep that from happening.”
Both the Tigers and the Eagles have 4-4 overall season records. Zionsville’s last two games have been against the Hendricks County HCC powerhouses, and the Eagles dropped a 35-10 decision to Brownsburg and lost 41-0 to Avon.
The Eagles’ quarterback is senior Andrew Broecker, who has thrown for 12 touchdowns and 1427 yards this season. Senior Nick Brier is the leading rusher with 511 total yards. Junior Tommy Fossett III has four rushing touchdowns and 32 catches, while junior Jordan Hull has caught six touchdown receptions.
“Their offense presents a lot of problems for our defense,” said Wimmer. “We must first stop the running game and their quarterback has been a big part of that. We must also stop the big play. That is a key component of us playing good defense. When we have done that we have been pretty solid on defense.
“Offensively, we must control the ball with a solid run game, efficient pass game, and limiting turnovers. The play of our young offensive line will be critical in this game. In the kicking game, we must be alert for their gimmicks, fakes, onside kicks and other ways they can retain possession of the ball. They have very good returners and kickers which puts a lot of pressure on your kicking units.”
The Tigers beat Westfield 27-17 last week, with Matt Wolff tossing three touchdowns. Wolff’s performance moved him up to 554 passing yards and five touchdowns for the season.
While Fishers is trying to win to get its piece of the HCC trophy, two other Hamilton County teams will be trying to play the spoiler for their opponents.
Noblesville will travel to Avon for a game against an Orioles team that is 6-2 overall and ranked No. 6 in the 6A coaches poll. Avon has won its last two games, first over Westfield 24-6 before beating Zionsville.
“Our team must prepare at a championship level and then make the commitment to match their intensity,” said Millers coach Jason Simmons. “They are a talented football team that stresses opponents in a lot of different ways.”
Cameron Misner is the Orioles’ quarterback, and he has thrown for exactly 2000 yards and 26 touchdowns. Junior Sampson James has run for 1053 yards and 13 touchdowns, while senior Wisconsin recruit Isaac Guerendo has made 40 catches, 12 of them for scores.
Noblesville fell to Brownsburg last week, so it’s not an easy end to the season for the Millers. But seeing tough competition at this point will help in the post-season.
“Our schedule has prepared us for the post-season,” said Simmons. “We have seen size, speed, and a variety of schemes to prepare us for whatever the tournament will bring out way.”
Millers quarterback Grant Gremel is the leading passer in Hamilton County, with 1076 total yards and 109 completions.
Southeastern gets a game at Brownsburg this week. The Bulldogs are 6-2, ranked No. 8 in the coaches poll, and are winners of their last four games.
“Brownsburg has a very good team this year,” said HSE coach Scott May. He noted the balance the Bulldogs have in their run versus pass game, and that they have good wide receivers as well.
“We must bring our A game on defense and our offense has to find away to help out by getting first downs versus maybe the best defense I have seen on film this year,” said May.
Brownsburg senior quarterback Kyle Strakis has thrown for 1398 yards and 21 touchdowns. The Bulldogs’ leading rusher is sophomore Donny Marcus, with 873 yards and five scores to his credit. Junior Bryce Kirtz has made 41 catches and reached the end zone nine times.
“I look at every week as an opportunity, we play good teams every week and our kids just must step up to the challenge and enjoy it,” said May. “We shouldn’t be worried about playing anyone in the playoffs, our schedule and league gets your ready.”
‘ROCKS TAKE ON BREBEUF
Westfield will travel to Brebeuf Jesuit to take on the No. 10 Braves, who are winners of their last two games. Brebeuf beat Guerin Catholic 21-7 and Southeastern 30-0.
Senior Derrick Ozobu is the Braves’ quarterback, and he’s become quite familiar to Hamilton County football teams over the past couple weeks. Ozobu has passed for 1310 yards and 11 touchdowns. Jacob Pressler is the leading receiver, with 52 catches and eight scores.
“Brebeuf is a very good football team,” said Shamrocks coach Jake Gilbert. “We have to fight for this one. We have to win the turnover battle. We have to rise to the occasion.”
“We have a quality opponent but the real focus is on us. We just have to get better. We have been working hard and our kids have had a great attitude.”
CARMEL PLAYS AT LAWRENCE CENTRAL
Carmel will finish the regular season at Lawrence Central, the No. 4-ranked team in 6A. The Greyhounds are ranked ninth this week.
The Bears are 6-2 and third in the Metropolitan Conference, behind unbeaten Ben Davis and one-loss Warren Central. Lawrence Central lost to the Giants last week 42-7.
“Bill Peebles and his staff do such a great job coaching their players,” said Carmel coach John Hebert. “Lawrence Central plays with confidence and aggressiveness. It is very apparent that their team is bought in to what Bill’s expectations are. This game will be another tough test for us as on both sides of the ball. They have great athleticism and are very physical. We will have our hands full, that much I know for sure.”
Senior Donyell Meredith II has thrown 20 touchdowns for LC, with 1548 yards to his credit. His top receivers are juniors Kirk Pinkston Jr., with 33 catches, and Donivan Wright, with 12 touchdowns among his 30 receptions.
“My hope is that we can get some of our injured players back after week 9 to get ready for the playoffs,” said Hebert. “Ben Davis, Warren Central, and Lawrence Central are probably the most physical teams in Indiana. We’ve played a lot of younger players this season, more than I can ever remember here at Carmel. The bright side is that those younger guys have competed hard and grown up a little faster than they would have otherwise. I’ve always believed that our goal needs to be for us to be playing our best football by the time you get to the sectionals. We have to make strides toward that this week.”
Carmel’s Atticus Clouse caught a pair of touchdowns for the Greyhounds in their loss to Warren Central last week. Clouse leads the county with 36 receptions.
CONFERENCE PLACING FOR HUSKIES
Hamilton Heights will travel to Lafayette Central Catholic to play the seventh-place game in the Hoosier Conference playoffs.
The Knights are a traditional powerhouse team in Class 1A, but their record is an uncharacteristic 2-6 going into the regular-season finale. Still, Huskies coach Mitch Street knows that LCC will be a challenge.
“I think for us, we view LCC as a team that is going to be disciplined, well coached, and are going to make you earn a win,” he said. “In order for us to go out and get a win, we are going to have to work and play a game where we execute at a high level to earn a win.”
The Huskies are coming off a 42-14 loss to Western last week. Quarterback Tyler Andis, however, threw two touchdown passes, giving him five TD throws for the season.
GUERIN PLAYS AT RONCALLI
Guerin Catholic will travel to Roncalli, the No. 4 team in 5A, in the Circle City Conference finale for both teams.
The Rebels are 7-1, dropping their first game of the season last week at Decatur Central by a close 49-45 margin. Roncalli has already clinched at least a share of the CCC championship with a 2-0 conference record. The Golden Eagles are 0-2 in the league, but 6-2 overall, with a win over Bowman Academy last week.
Senior Conner Gore is the Rebels’ quarterback, and has been very efficient: He’s completed 90 of 115 passing attempts, a percentage of 78.3, and has 11 touchdowns. Senior Michael Dill has 31 of those receptions, with senior Jacob Luedeman catching five touchdowns. Senior Patrick McManama has nine rushing scores.
HOMECOMING FOR ‘HAWKS
Sheridan, ranked No. 6 in 1A, will have its Homecoming game this Friday, welcoming South Decatur to Bud Wright Stadium.
The Cougars are 4-4 for the season, and play in the Mid-Indiana Football conference, where they finished 3-2. South Decatur beat Edinburgh, Switzerland County and Oldenburg Academy in Mid-Indiana play, while losing to North Decatur and Milan.
Senior Kordell Meadows is the Cougars’ quarterback; he has thrown for 444 yards and seven touchdowns. Another senior, Devon Martin, has gained 904 rushing yards with three scores.
Sheridan’s Joe Callahan scored three touchdowns last week in the Blackhawks’ win over Eastern, a victory that gave Sheridan the Hoosier Heartland Conference championship. Callahan leads the county in scoring with 108 points (18 touchdowns) and in rushing with 1099 yards.
By RICHIE HALL