Like the Kansas City Royals, I must be hitting my playoff stride. I was 37-5 last week (88.1 percent) on predictions to improve to 262-74 (78.0 percent) on the season. Here’s a look at all of the Week 9 area high school football predictions (kickoffs at 7 p.m. Friday unless noted).
Lawrence Central (3-5) at Carmel (8-0): Carmel’s defense will be tested by a Lawrence Central offense that is averaging 34.3 points and has scored at least 21 points in every game. But the Bears have struggled defensively against the upper echelon of the MIC, allowing 41 points to Warren Central, 49 to Center Grove and 50 to Ben Davis. Carmel 38, Lawrence Central 28.
Cathedral (3-4) at Center Grove (5-3), 7:30 p.m.: Cathedral notched another solid win last week, defeating Hamilton Southeastern 31-17. This will be a tougher challenge, especially on Senior Night for Center Grove, which is riding a four-game winning streak. Center Grove 27, Cathedral 19.
Avon (6-2) at Noblesville (5-3): Interesting game here, though both teams have much bigger things to worry about next week in the first round of the tournament. Avon will attempt to beat Brownsburg in a rematch of a game it lost earlier this season and Noblesville hosts No. 1 Carmel. Avon 24, Noblesville 14.
Bishop Chatard (6-2) at Tech (4-2): Chatard won last year’s meeting 18-7. It’s difficult to know what to make of Tech considering the schedule it has played. Bishop Chatard 26, Tech 20.
Decatur Central (6-2) at Franklin (3-5): Decatur Central quarterback Tommy Stevens made some big-time highlight plays last week in a 22-12 win over Roncalli. Franklin picked up a nice win last week over Greenwood, 35-14. Decatur Central 40, Franklin 28.
Warren Central (7-1) at Cincinnati St. Xavier (5-2): Warren Central looks to bounce back from last week’s loss to Carmel. Can’t say the Warriors ducked anybody, playing this traditional power in the final game of the regular season. Warren Central 21, St. Xavier 20.
Beech Grove (5-3) at Mooresville (3-5): Beech Grove’s lowest two scoring outputs of the season came against Cardinal Ritter (21-18) and Triton Central (27-6) the last two weeks. Mooresville 28, Beech Grove 25.
Ben Davis (6-2) at North Central (0-8): Ben Davis has rival Pike next week. Ben Davis 45, North Central 7.
Bloomington South (7-1) at Perry Meridian (2-6): Bloomington South enjoying a revival under Mo Moriarity. Bloomington South 35, Perry Meridian 17.
Brebeuf Jesuit (5-3) at Fort Wayne Concordia (4-4): Great win last week for Brebeuf, knocking off Chicago’s Brother Rice 34-28 in overtime. Brebeuf Jesuit 31, Fort Wayne Concordia 28.
Brownsburg (3-5) at Hamilton Southeastern (3-5): HSE will get another shot at Fishers next week. Hamilton Southeastern 26, Brownsburg 20.
Crawfordsville (2-6) at Tri-West (7-1): Tri-West opens up next week at West Vigo. Tri-West 35, Crawfordsville 6.
Danville (4-4) at North Montgomery (5-3): Danville has won three in a row. North Montgomery 22, Danville 16.
Delta (5-3) at New Palestine (8-0), 7:30 p.m.: Good warmup for New Pal. New Palestine 45, Delta 14.
Eastern Hancock (6-2) at Lapel (3-5): Eastern Hancock has won five in a row, including a 24-20 win over Shenandoah last week. Eastern Hancock 28, Lapel 20.
Edinburgh (3-5) at Monroe Central (5-3): Edinburgh has a tough draw at Lutheran next week. Monroe Central 37, Edinburgh 13.
Fishers (6-2) at Zionsville (2-6): Fishers has allowed just 14 points the last two weeks against Tech and Westfield. Fishers 31, Zionsville 10.
Franklin County (4-4) at Broad Ripple (1-7): Broad Ripple has been held to eight points or fewer in six games. Franklin County 34, Broad Ripple 14.
Greenwood (4-4) at Whiteland (5-3): Whiteland should win Sectional 14 again. Whiteland 34, Greenwood 17.
Guerin Catholic (5-3) at Culver Academy (3-5), 7:30 p.m.: Guerin Catholic opens the 3A tournament next week against Lawrenceburg. Guerin Catholic 38, Culver Academy 17.
Heritage Christian (6-2) at Northwest (0-8): Heritage Christian is going for its fourth consecutive win. Heritage Christian 49, Northwest 6.
Manual (0-7) at Lutheran (5-3): Lutheran won its lone sectional in 2009. Lutheran 48, Manual 6.
Roncalli (4-4) at East Central (5-3), 7:30 p.m.: Roncalli is allowing just 14.3 points a game. Roncalli 21, East Central 10.
Scecina (3-5) at Monrovia (6-2): Monrovia hasn’t scored fewer than 34 points in any game this season. Monrovia 34, Scecina 28.
Tindley (4-4) at Shortridge (6-2): Shortridge opens the Class A tournament next week with Indiana Deaf. Shortridge 41, Tindley 20.
Washington (3-5) at Westfield (4-4): Can Westfield make another run in 5A? Westfield 56, Washington 6.
Lawrence North (1-7) at Pike (3-5): Lawrence North coming off the impossible Carmel-Ben Davis-Warren Central-Center Grove stretch. Pike 34, Lawrence North 21.
Mt. Vernon (6-2) at Yorktown (7-1), 7:30 p.m.: Good test for both teams before tournament. Mt. Vernon 21, Yorktown 20.
New Castle (1-7) at Greenfield-Central (3-5), 7:30 p.m.: Greenfield-Central is at Pendleton Heights next week. Greenfield-Central 28, New Castle 14.
Park Tudor (1-7) vs. Cardinal Ritter (4-4), at Marian: Ritter is coming off wins over Beech Grove and Scecina. Cardinal Ritter 46, Park Tudor 16.
Pendleton Heights (3-5) at Shelbyville (3-5): Shelbyville won last year’s meeting 38-21. Shelbyville 34, Pendleton Heights 22.
Peru (3-5) at Hamilton Heights (6-2): Hamilton Heights has won four in a row and has a huge game against Indian Creek next week. Hamilton Heights 42, Peru 14.
Plainfield (2-6) at Martinsville (5-3): Martinsville will be a factor in Sectional 15. Martinsville 45, Plainfield 21.
Sheridan (5-3) at Tri-Central (7-1): These teams could meet again soon in Sectional 44. Sheridan 27, Tri-Central 26.
South Decatur (4-4) at Indian Creek (8-0): Indian Creek hasn’t really been tested since a 15-14 win over Greenwood in the second week. Indian Creek 42, South Decatur 14.
South Putnam (4-4) at Cascade (1-7): Cascade’s offense has struggled all year. South Putnam 14, Cascade 7.
Southport (7-1) at Columbus North (3-5): Southport ended a three-game losing streak to Columbus North last year. Southport 24, Columbus North 17.
Speedway (3-5) at Triton Central (7-1): Triton Central can wrap up an Indiana Crossroads Conference title with a win. Triton Central 38, Speedway 21.
Terre Haute North (3-5) at Franklin Central (2-6), 7:30 p.m.: The record may not show it, but Franklin Central has played better the last three weeks. Franklin Central 21, Terre Haute North 13.
Western Boone (6-2) at Lebanon (5-3): Lebanon now has five shutouts after beating Crawfordsville 35-0 last week. Western Boone 14, Lebanon 7.
Indiana Deaf (7-1) at Maryland Deaf (5-2): Indiana Deaf can avenge a 20-0 loss from last year. Indiana Deaf 28, Maryland Deaf 21.
Howe (3-5) at Marshall (3-5), 3 p.m.: Howe could be a tough out in Sectional 46. Howe 36, Marshall 20.