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Class A semistate features four teams with one loss combined

Posted Thursday, November 20, 2008, at 9:10 PM

Class A semistate features four teams with one loss

I am sure fans all over the same are anticipating the semistate round of the high school football state tournament this weekend.

Although there are some great match-ups around the state, including Lowell (13-0) at Fort Wayne Dwenger (13-0) in a Class 4A game Saturday, Class A appears to be stacked.

The four teams, The Final Four if you will, remaining are a combined 51-1. Only three-time defending champion Sheridan has a blemish on its record. The 12-1 Blackhawks will host Southern Wells (13-0) in the northern semistate title game Friday night.

The southern semistate championship game, which will determine the other state finalist, finds Indianapolis Ritter (13-0) at Linton-Stockton (13-0). Both games are set to begin at 7:30 p.m. Semistate tickets are $7.

The rankings show how close the teams really are. Ritter is ranked No. 1 in the AP and coaches polls as well as by the state computer rankings.

The Miners are No. 4 in the AP poll, No. 5 in the final coaches poll and No. 3 in Class A, according to the computer.

Sheridan is rated second by the computer, second in the coaches poll and third in the AP (media) poll.

Southern Wells, coached by Mark Lefebvre, is rated No. 4 in Class A by the computer. They finished seventh according to AP and ninth by the coaches.

What do those numbers mean? That and a couple of quarters will buy you a cup of coffee at any restaurant.

In the last 15 years, Southern Wells and Sheridan, coached by Larry "Bud" Wright, have not played. I would venture a guess and say they have never played.

Miner fans don't have to be reminded about the only time that Ritter and Linton-Stockton met. It was four years ago on the same stage, also at Roy Williams Field, when the Raiders survived 21-20 in overtime in the semistate title game.

Although Southern Wells was just 2-8 a year ago, they were state champions in 2001. They have had the misfortune of playing in the same sectional as Adams Central, who won four straight sectional titles 2003-2006.

Ritter coach Ty Hunt, a long-time assistant there before taking over the reigns of the Raiders three years ago, said he expects a full house at Roy Williams Field.

"Their stands will be packed," said Hunt. "Their community does a good job of backing their football team.

"We get excited around here too. We have a big fan base that follows us. I expect we will be bringing a lot of fans. Hopefully it will be a good high school game and every one will enjoy it."

Ritter's opponents have a 72-72 record while the Miners' foes are 72-68. Ritter has victories of Indianapolis Brebeuf (7-3), Speedway (9-4) and Heritage Christian (12-1), who will be playing in the Class 2A semistate title game tonight as well.

"Brebeuf was ranked in 3A, Speedway was ranked in 2A and won a sectional and Heritage Christian was ranked No. 1 in Class A at the end of the year," said Hunt. "We have played some good football teams and will be playing another one at their place Friday night."

The Miners beat 8-3 West Vigo and 8-3 North Knox in the regular season and own victories over previously unbeaten Tecumseh in the sectional opener and then 12-0 Rockville last week in the regional title game. Don't forget that thriller over an 8-4 North Daviess team loaded for 2009.

"We will be tested but are looking forward to the challenge come Friday night," said Weber.

B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487 or at hargisbj@yahoo.com.

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