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Sectional 40 team ranks high with the pollstersPosted Thursday, August 19, 2010, at 10:45 PM
If you can read anything into preseason high school football polls, Sectional 40 will once again be loaded.
In the first Class A poll of the year by the Associated Press, Perry Central checks in at No. 5.
Three-time defending champion in Sectional 40 -- the Linton-Stockton Miners -- begins at No. 6.
North Daviess, who has lost to the Miners in the last two title games by a combined six points, starts the campaign at No. 7.
North Knox, who won the Southwest Seven Conference last year, received enough votes to tie with Rockville at No. 11.
Tecumseh also received votes.
North Knox, North Daviess and the Miners will again likely be battling for supremacy in the Southwest Seven Conference as well as in Sectional 40.
"I think conference wise I would have to say that North Knox would be the favorite," said Linton-Stockton coach Steve Weber, whose Miners were 9-4 and 5-2 in the conference (second). "North Daviess is still solid.
"North Central will be a lot better than what they have. We still have a shot, but North Knox will be the favorite."
Eastern Greene coach Luke Dean said they would like to make some waves in the conference this season, but knows what they are facing.
"We start out with Linton, North Knox and North Daviess," said Dean. "Those teams have been near the top of the conference for the past couple of years.
"Wood Memorial, Union (Dugger) and North Central come later in our schedule, but will still be formidable opponents. We face some tough teams, but we think that we can compete with them."
Weber said that the Warriors, who beat the Miners in the regular season but like North Daviess fell to Linton-Stockton in the tournament, also is the favorite in the sectional, but don't forget about coach Mike Spencer's Commodores.
"You can never count out Perry Central," he said. "Just by their past success and their reputation, they are still in it."
Perry Central hasn't won a sectional title in four years. They have sectional championship trophies from 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005 and 2006.
Although North Knox had a deep state tournament run in the mid-70s, before the playoff system we have today, they have never officially won a sectional title.
North Daviess owns titles in 1983 and 1993.
Tecumseh won sectionals in 1987, 1991, 1994, 1995 and 2003, Wood Memorial has a title in 1996 and Springs Valley won four in a five-year span -- 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1992 -- but none in 18 years. Union (Dugger), also a member of Class A Sectional 40, has never hoisted a sectional championship trophy in football.
Eastern Greene is a part of Class A Sectional 38, which includes Edinburgh, Indianapolis Lutheran, Indianapolis Scecina, Milan, North Decatur, South Decatur and West Washington. Milan and Scecina, who beat the Thunderbirds last year in the sectional opener, both received votes in the preseason AP poll.
"It is a pretty tough sectional," said Dean. "Scecina went 3-6 before they played us and did not face a Class A team all year. They play a big-school schedule.
"Milan was great last year. They will still be solid. North Decatur and South Decatur should both be tough again. We faced West Washington in 7-on-7 this summer. They have a big athlete who can throw."
After a cool start to the week, temperatures are supposed top out at about 96 today. Game time temps at 7 p.m. should still be about 90.
"I don't think I ever remember having this many hot days ever," said Weber, who is starting his 11th season as head coach of the Miners and if I remember correctly he worked four seasons under Rick Wellington. "It really has been horrible.
"It has been too hot to run the kids to get them in shape. I have never seen anything like it. You look into the kids eyes and you don't see anything. They have been drained."
Teams have already had to deal with injuries.
Paul Hudson, a senior, and junior Darren Altop both suffered broken feet this summer for Eastern Greene.
"Hudson started for us at nose tackle last year," said Dean. "He tore his ACL last year after a couple of games. He has had a tough time of it.
"Altop is a jv kid that will be out until October."
Brandon Swihart, a projected two-way starter on the line for the Miners, tore his ACL right before the start of preseason practice and will miss the entire season after surgery.
"Losing Brandon was a big blow for us," said Weber. "We had to move some people around on the line to help fill his positions."
B.J. is the sports editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487 ext. 12.
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