Wherever Brad Hess seems to go, he never seems to get a home game in the first round of sectionals. Hess is the first-year head football coach at Wes-Del, and throughout his assistant-coaching career, his teams always seemed to begin the playoffs on the road.
This year will be different. His team has drawn rival Monroe Central in the first round of its Class A Sectional, and the game will be played on Oct. 25 at Wes-Del. The IHSAA announced its pairings for this year’s football state tournament on Sunday night.
Monroe Central won the teams’ regular-season meeting 35-21 in Parker City, taking the rivalry’s Harvest Helmet Classic trophy. Now, they will meet again in Gaston.
“It’s nice just to get one there at home,” Hess said. “But we obviously have our work cut out for us, because they kind of obviously already had our number.”
The game between Monroe Central (4-4) and Wes-Del (4-4) is one of two opening-round games that pit two East Central Indiana teams against each other. New Castle and Southside will meet in the first round at New Castle. Both teams are 0-8 with one regular season game to play, so the matchup guarantees one of them will pick up a win this year.
Central (5-3) is also in Class 4A Sectional 21, and it will host Greenfield-Central (1-7) in the first round of sectional play. Also in Class 4A, Jay County (6-2) will host Marion (1-7) in its sectional opener.
In Class 3A, Delta (5-3, No. 9) drew one of the most difficult first-round matchups. It will play West Lafayette (8-0, No. 3) in its opening round matchup, on the road at West Lafayette.
The Eagles are in the midst of a struggle with injuries. After linebacker Klay Fullenkamp returned from an injury Friday at Mt. Vernon, Delta lost quarterback Cade Jones and fullback Joe Spegal to an injury during that game. Delta coach Grant Zgunda said Jones is out for the rest of the season, while Spegal is expected to miss a few weeks.
“We don’t know much about West Lafayette, we know they’re good, undefeated,” Zgunda said. “They’ve got a real good running back. Other than that, I don’t know a whole lot about them.”
Yorktown and Blackford are also in the same sectional with Delta and West Lafayette. Yorktown (7-1, No. 8) will play at Eastbrook (6-2). The Panthers are on a six-game winning streak. Blackford (1-7) will host Northwestern (5-3).
In Class 2A, Winchester (5-3) will host Heritage Christian (4-4), and Shenandoah (7-1, No. 8) will travel to Indianapolis to play at Broad Ripple (4-4). Both of those games are in Class 2A Sectional 38.
Along with Wes-Del and Monroe Central, Union City is also in Class A Sectional 45. The Indians arguably picked up the most difficult draw. Union City (5-3) will play at Eastern Hancock (8-0, Class A No. 6).