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FB: Class A Sectional 37 preview

October 18, 2012
By Andrew Smith of Hancock County Sports

Sectional 37 is one of the more intriguing in Class A due to the heavyweights in the sectional field. Hagerstown is undefeated. Scecina was in the state title game a year ago. And Knightstown has been putting up a lot of points on everyone. And don't discount sleepers Eastern Hancock, Cambridge City Lincoln and Northeastern in what could be a fun sectional field.

Let's look at the matchups.

Scecina (6-3) at Cambridge City Lincoln (6-3)
Sagarin: Scecina 2nd 1A/CCL 30th. Scecina listed as 33-point favorite.
Best wins: Scecina 27-26 over Speedway (Week 2). CCL 29-28 over Union City (Week 7)
Conference: Scecina: Indiana Crossroads (5-2, 3rd); CCL: Tri-Eastern (5-2, t2nd)
Common opponents:
Record vs. sectional teams: Scecina 0-0, CCL 2-1.
Record vs. 1A teams: Scecina 2-0, CCL 4-2.
Outlook: Scecina's 6-3 record is in part because of its schedule. The ICC is one of the toughest small-school leagues in the state, and among 1A teams, only Lafayette Central Catholic has a tougher schedule. Scecina's losses have come to Roncalli, Triton Central and Ritter -- a ranked 4A team, a ranked 2A team and a team that has put up some impressive wins in recent weeks. David Tarver, Rocky Leffler and Jordan Brown form a strong 3-headed running attack for the Crusaders' option game, while Robert Rennick is a veteran QB. The Crusaders average 30 ppg agianst that tough schedule. CCL scores 27 ppg (and allows 23), and has the TEC's top passer in Grant Renforth (1278 yards, 13 TDs) and rusher in Tyler Brown (1486 yards, 16 TDs). CCL has struggled against some of the top teams -- a 54-7 loss to Hagerstown last week and a 35-20 defeat to Winchester, which shared second place in the TEC with the Crusaders.
2nd round host: Scecina would travel to Knightstown, host Indiana Deaf. CCL would travel regardless of opponent.

Knightstown (6-3) at Indiana Deaf (1-8)
Sagarin: Knightstown 10th, Indiana Deaf 62nd in 1A. Knightstown listed as 62-point favorite.
Best wins: Knightstown 67-21 over North Decatur (Week 4). Indiana Deaf 64-12 over Alabama Deaf (Week 4)
Conference: both are indepdendents.
Common opponents:
Record vs. sectional teams: Knightstown 2-1, Indiana Deaf 0-0
Record vs. 1A teams: Knightstown 5-2, Indiana Deaf 0-1
Outlook: This game looks to be a slam dunk for Knightstown, a team that's scoring 46 points per game against a one-win team that's allowing 36 points per game. Patrick Mallory's Wing-T offense has tallied at least 28 points in each game for the Panthers, who will be a heavy favorite to move on to Week 2, which could -- if everything goes according to Sagarin -- be a matchup of two Top 10 teams.
2nd round host: Knightstown would host regardless of opponent. Indiana Deaf would travel to Scecina, host CCL.

Hagerstown (9-0) at Eastern Hancock (4-5)
Hagerstown 5th 1A/Eastern Hancock 22nd. Hagerstown listed as 17.5-point favorite.
Best wins: Hagerstown 42-32 over Knightstown (Week 2). EH 61-7 over South Decatur (Week 2)
Conference: Hagerstown: Tri-Eastern (7-0, 1st). EH: Mid-Indiana Football (1-3, 4th)
Common opponents (H 2-0, EH 0-2)
Shenandoah: Hagerstown won 35-27 Week 1; EH lost 31-7 Week 8
Knightstown: Hagerstown won 42-32 Week 2; EH lost 38-20 Week 5
Record vs. sectional teams: H 4-0, EH 0-1
Record vs. 1A teams: H 5-0, EH 3-3
Outlook: Hagerstown is very good, with dual-threat QB Cole Bartlett both throwing and rushing for 1,000 yards this season leading an offense that averages 41.4 ppg. What's even more impressive is the Tigers' defense, which hasn't allowed an opponent to hit double-digits since Week 3. The last five games have been decided by 40-point spreads. However, the Royals are young and dangerous, having toughened themselves against a solid schedule. QB Logan Splater (1021 yards passing, 16 TDs) and RB Spencer Gilbert (1263 rush yards, 13 TDs) are a nice one-two punch. Cooper Henderson is a solid dual threat as a runner/receiver, and WR Derrik Noel has been dangerous both in the return game and as a receiver. The Royals are the sectional's sleeper team, and can be very dangerous.
2nd round host: Hagerstown would host Northeastern or travel to Tri. EH would travel regardless of foe.

Tri (0-9) at Northeastern (5-4)
Northeastern 29th 1A/Tri 53rd. NE 21-point favorte.
Best wins: Tri: none since 10/23/09. Northeastern: 30-20 over Union City (Week 9)
Conference: Tri-Eastern (T 0-7, 8th; NE 4-3, t4th)
Previous meetings: Northeasten won 42-14 in Week 5
Common opponents: See conference record
Record vs. sectional teams: T 0-4, NE 1-2
Record vs. 1A teams:  Tri 0-5, NE 3-3.
Outlook: This looks like another big win for Northeastern, which has been playing its best football of the year as evidenced by last week's win over 6-3 Union City. Northeastern is the only TEC team to come within two touchdowns of Hagerstown (a 21-8 loss in Week 4) and has won four of its last five, the only loss coming to 6-3 Cambridge City Lincoln by an 18-12 score.
2nd round host: Tri would host regardless of opponent. Northeastern would travel to Hagerstown or host Eastern Hancock.

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