A week after what Ben Davis coach Mike Kirschner called “a very disappointing” performance against Center Grove, the Giants may get an even tougher challenge on Friday.
Class 6A sixth-ranked Ben Davis (3-1) travels across town to face third-ranked Warren Central (3-1) in one of the biggest games of the week – one you can watch live on IndyStar.com. After producing big offensive numbers in three wins to start the season, the Giants struggled to finish drives in a 20-7 home loss to Center Grove.
“It was frustrating because we just didn’t play like we’re capable of playing,” Kirschner said. “We were piecemealing our offensive line together and they struggled at times, but we had 350 yards so that’s a pretty good night. But every time we’d start to get a drive going, we’d have a penalty or something to set us back.”
Warren Central, ranked No. 19 this week in the USA Today Super 25 national rankings, rebounded from a last-minute loss to Cincinnati Colerain (No. 15 by USA Today) with dominant wins over North Central (45-3) and Lawrence Central (37-0) the past two weeks.
The Warriors have won the last three regular-season meetings between the teams and has an overall 54-32-3 record against Ben Davis in the series. This is the 80th consecutive year the teams have met in the regular season, dating back to the 1937 season.
Prediction: I’m expecting Ben Davis to play much better than it did a week ago. But Warren Central’s defense has been so good through four games. I’m taking the Warriors. Warren Central 27, Ben Davis 20.
My prediction record last week was 37-4, which puts me at 141-30 (82.5 percent) for the season. Check IndyStar.com on Friday morning for a look at all of the area picks for this week. Here are five more of the top games this week (games at 7 p.m. Friday unless noted):
• Cincinnati St. Xavier (1-2) at Cathedral (4-0), at Butler Bowl, 7:30 p.m.: Class 6A No. 1 Cathedral can notch a big win over an Ohio power in a unique setting at Butler. Don’t be fooled by St. Xavier’s record. The Bombers lost to St. John Bosco (Calif.) in the opener and to Colerain in overtime. St. John Bosco is ranked No. 10 by USA Today and Colerain is No. 15. This will be Cathedral’s toughest test to date. Quarterback Quincy Keller passed for 250 yards and three touchdowns last week in a 44-10 win over Bishop Chatard. Cathedral 21, St. Xavier 20.
• Hamilton Southeastern (3-1) at Westfield (4-0): Westfield’s defense continued to play well last week against Noblesville in a 28-7 win, but this will be the Shamrocks’ most difficult test to date. Class 6A eighth-ranked HSE’s Jackson Sweeney (30 carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns) went over 100 yards for the third time this season last week in a 36-33 overtime win over Fishers. Class 5A third-ranked Westfield leaned heavily on the ground game against Noblesville as Nate Froelich ran for 137 yards and two touchdowns and Johnny Swidan ran for 115 yards and a score. Westfield 24, HSE 21.
• Scecina (4-0) at Roncalli (4-0): Scecina is up to No. 3 in Class 2A in this week’s state rankings after a 14-13 win over Beech Grove on Friday. This is the first time in 48 meetings between Scecina and Roncalli that both teams have been unbeaten at the time of the game. The Class 4A second-ranked Rebels hung on last week for a 7-0 win over Plainfield. Roncalli 28, Scecina 16.
• Brownsburg (4-0) at Fishers (2-2): Class 6A seventh-ranked Brownsburg notched its biggest win so far with a 30-22 win over Avon last week. The Bulldogs haven’t beat Fishers since 2012. Fishers junior linebacker Michael Nettleton had 11 tackles in last week’s 36-33 overtime loss to Hamilton Southeastern. Brownsburg 27, Fishers 24.
• New Palestine (4-0) at Pendleton Heights (1-3), 7:30 p.m.: This may not be one of the more competitive games of the night but worth noting that Pendleton Heights will rename its field on Friday after John Broughton, who retired last year after coaching the program for 40 seasons. Class 5A No. 2 New Palestine could be on its way to a fourth consecutive undefeated regular season under coach Kyle Ralph. New Palestine 42, Pendleton Heights 13.
Call IndyStar reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.