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Plenty of nuts and bolts for the gridiron tourney

Posted Thursday, October 13, 2011, at 5:40 PM

Well it's that time of the year again. You know, when all of the high school football teams in the state of Indiana throw their won-loss records out the window as they prepare for the state tournament.

This year marks the 39th time a state champion will be crowned. And as usual there are plenty of tidbits and morsels of information to spread around.

This year's field includes 315 schools competing in five different classes. It will encompass 310 games played over a six-week period culminating in two days of play at the home of the Indianapolis Colts, Lucas Oil Stadium, on Nov. 25 and 26.

This year's field includes two new entries -- Boone Grove High School (Class 2A, Sectional 25) and Silver Creek (Class 3A, Sectional 32).

Currently there is only one school, Indianapolis Bishop Chatard, with double-digit state titles. They've won 10 titles and have won 10 consecutive sectional crowns as well, also a state-best.

But they're still short on the record of most consecutive sectionals of 19 won by the Hobart Brickies between 1979 and 1997.

The second-longest active sectional title streak belongs to Cathedral with five followed by Andrean and Ft. Wayne Snider with four and Rensselaer Central with three.

Chatard currently ranks second on the all-time sectional wins list with 21, two behind leader Carmel (23) and one ahead of third place Ft. Wayne Bishop Dwenger (20).

The rest of the top 10 all-time sectional championships include 19 won by Ft. Wayne Luers, Ft. Wayne Snider, Hobart and Jimtown; 18 by Ben Davis and Penn and 17 by Sheridan.

Two schools, Ft. Wayne Bishop Luers and Sheridan are next on the list with nine state football titles each.

They are followed by Indianapolis Cathedral and Roncalli with eight, Ben Davis and Warren Central with seven, Carmel with six, Penn with five and Franklin Central, Hobart, Jimtown and Lafayette Central Catholic with four titles each.

Warren Central currently holds the state record for the most consecutive tournament victories. That came during a run between 2003 and 2007 when they won 26 in a row.

Roncalli (2002-05) and Sheridan (2005-08) occupy the second spot on the consecutive tournament games won list with 23 while Penn (1995-98) and Chatard (2001-04) drop into the third spot with 22 straight.

Currently Ft. Wayne Bishop Luers and Lafayette Central Catholic have won 12 in a row while Fishers, Chatard and Cathedral have won six.

For those of you unfamiliar with how the home team is determined -- and I usually get at least one or two fans who ask me every year -- it's basically whoever has the fewest home games.

After the initial draw is announced by the IHSAA, the second-named team is the home team for the first round of the sectional.

In the next round the team without a home game will host with an exception. The bye team (in tournaments with an odd number of participants) will always be the visitor.

But if both teams were home or both teams were visitors, then it reverts back to the second team named on the bracket -- i.e. the bottom team on the bracket in the first game will be the host.

Perhaps the simplest of determinations come in the sectional final when the team with the fewest home games get to host the championship game.

If all of that isn't confusing enough, when you move to the regional game it depends on which class you are in and whether or not you hosted a sectional final.

In Class 2A and 4A the sectional non-host will be the home team, if it applies or the lower numbered sectional.

In Class A, 3A and 5A either the non-host in the sectional final or the higher numbered sectional.

In our case around here the Miners, Thunderbirds and Bulldogs all play in Sectional 40 which will always be the higher numbered sectional. The winner of Sectional 40 will have that tiebreaker against the winner of Sectional 39 in a regional title game.

Things flip-flop in the semistate where the regional non-host or the higher sectional will be home team in Class 2A and 4A while the non-host in the regional or the lower sectional will be the host in Class A, 3A and 5A.

There's also one more little addendum at the semistate level. If a regional winner has not hosted either the sectional or regional final, then that school will automatically get to host the semistate.

So you've decided to attend the nearest state tournament game. Well ticket prices increase as the tournament advances.

And just remember all ticket prices are set by the IHSAA and the host school has no say in the pricing. Local passes cannot be accepted for state tournament games.

Tickets for all sectional and regional games are $6 per person.

A ducat to the semistate game will cost fans $7 per person and a ticket to the state football finals will cost you $15 per day and are currently available via the internet at www.ihsaa.org.

All seats for both days of the state finals are general admission and will be available not only at the gate and via the web, but they will also be sold at participating schools the week prior.

Lucas Oil Stadium will open its gates to fans beginning one hour prior to kickoff of the first game each day.

On Friday gates will open at 2:30 p.m. and on Saturday they will open at 11 a.m.

I certainly hope this little informational column will help you fans out in some small way.

Rick is a sports writer for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 947-4487 ext. 20. He can also be reached via email at rcurl@gcdailyworld.com.

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