All four C&P staffers pick Reitz over Mater Dei in battle for West Side Nut Club trophyOctober 13, 2017 1:46pm

Oct. 13--This has been one of the craziest regular seasons in years.

If all goes as anticipated, Reitz, Central and Memorial will finish in a three-way tie for the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference football championship at 5-1. The fun began when Reitz beat Central 28-21 on Sept. 8. Then, Memorial defeated the Panthers 41-21 on Sept. 22 and Central beat the Tigers 35-7 on Sept. 29.

In this week's feature game, all four members of the Courier & Press sports staff pick Reitz to defeat Mater Dei convincingly. The last time three teams finished in a three-way tie for the SIAC title was when Reitz, Memorial and Mater Dei ended 5-2.

For the first time, all four of us were a perfect 6-0 in our predictions last week. Will we pull it off again?

GAME OF THE WEEK

MATER DEI (5-3, 4-2 SIAC) at REITZ (7-1, 5-1), 7 p.m. Friday

If truth be told, the Wildcats have overachieved in forging a four-way tie for first in the SIAC -- until they lost 40-17 to Central last week and dropped into second. They still could give Southridge a run for its money in the Class 2A sectional.

But first things first. Reitz has too much overall talent to lose its grip on the West Side Nut Club Trophy. The Panthers defeated Mater Dei 35-14 last year after Andy Hape lost his first three games as head coach against the Wildcats' Mike Goebel, often in excruciating fashion. The Panthers hold a slim 16-14 edge over MD in the past 30 meetings.

Asked if all-state wide receiver/defensive back Isaiah Dunham could return for Reitz's first-round Class 4A playoff game against Central, Hape said: "We'll see."

Dunham underwent surgery on his broken fibula Sept. 10. Normally it takes six weeks for the broken bone to heal, which would mean the semifinal or final round of the sectional, if the Panthers are still alive.

Reitz is ranked No. 2 in the AP 4A poll while the Wildcats are No. 7 in 2A. The Panthers' Da'Ziaun Sargent is ninth in the state in rushing (1,307), according to MaxPreps. He is averaging 7.1 per carry and has scored 22 TDs.

Mater Dei is rated No. 7 in 2A.

Prediction: Reitz 31, Mater Dei 17

MEMORIAL (7-1, 5-1) at CASTLE (5-3, 3-3), 7 p.m.

Castle has had a recurring pattern this season. The Knights have beaten the teams they were supposed to beat and lost to the upper echelon teams: Reitz, Central and Mater Dei. They have the firepower to challenge the Tigers, but do they have the defense?

Ranked No. 4 in 3A, Memorial has plenty of motivation, hoping to forge a probable tie with Reitz and Central for the league championship. Castle's Triston Wilkinson ranks 19th in receiving yards (728) in just five games, a 145.6 average. He has seven touchdown receptions.

Prediction: Memorial 42, Castle 31

CENTRAL (7-1, 5-1) at NORTH (2-6, 1-5), 7 p.m. Friday

Same story as last week against MD: Central simply has too many athletes for North to handle, never mind its propensity for being penalized. But they have to stop getting so many penalties if they have any allusions of making it to Lucas Oil. Central committed 19 penalties for 185 yards in its 40-17 win over Mater Dei game and I might've missed one.

Still, the Bears are ranked No. 1 in the state, according to the Sagarin ratings. They are No. 3 in the AP poll.

Central hasn't lost to North since a 23-8 decision in 2012. With 1,844 yards rushing, the Bears' Tor'Jon Evans ranks eighth in the nation. He is averaging 11.6 per carry, 235.5 yards per game, including 33 touchdowns.

Prediction: Central 37, North 14

BOSSE (1-7, 0-6) at HARRISON (1-7, 1-5), 7 p.m. Friday

This is a chance for the Warriors to grab a little "mo" entering the playoffs. It's been a trying season for the Dawgs.

Prediction: Harrison 28, Bosse 17

GIBSON SOUTHERN (8-0, 6-0 PAC) at SOUTHRIDGE (7-1, 6-0), 6:30 p.m. CDT

For the second consecutive season, the Titans-Southridge game will decide the Pocket Athletic Conference championship. Last year, Gibson Southern outlasted the Raiders, 38-35. Look for a similar scenario, although Southridge has home-field advantage.

The Titans' Isaac Sellers ranks 28th in the state in passing yardage (1,518). He is 99-for-144, an amazing 68.8 percentage and 21 touchdowns with just two interceptions.

Gibson is ranked No. 1 in Class 3A while the Raiders are No. 4 in 2A.

Prediction: Gibson Southern 38, Southridge 33

BOONVILLE (5-3, 3-2) at MOUNT CARMEL (3-4, 2-3), 7 p.m.

How the mighty have fallen. After winning the Big Eight with a 6-0 record and finishing 10-1 under previous coach Darren Peach, the tradition-rich Aces could finish below .500.

As for Boonville, the Pioneers are riding a four-game winning streak and riding their horse, Luke Conner. He has had four successive 200-plus-yard games to boost his season total to 1,145 on 175 attempts, including 13 TDs.

Prediction: Boonville 28, Mount Carmel 21

Last week: 6-0

Season: 42-11

KYLE SOKELAND

Reitz 37, Mater Dei 20

Memorial 30, Castle 24

Central 40, North 14

Harrison 24, Bosse 13

Gibson Southern 42, Southridge 27

Boonville 31, Mount Carmel 21

Last week: 6-0

Season: 41-12

CHAD LINDSKOG

Reitz 35, Mater Dei 31

Memorial 31, Castle 14

Harrison 28, Bosse 22

Central 48, North 7

Gibson Southern 38, Southridge 27

Boonville 24, Mount Carmel 21

Last week: 6-0

Season: 39-14

PAT HICKEY

Reitz 35, Mater Dei 21

Memorial 42, Castle 28

Harrison 21, Bosse 14

Central 48, North 7

Gibson Southern 42, Southridge 28

Boonville 28, Mount Carmel 21

Last week: 6-0

Season: 39-14

___

(c)2017 Evansville Courier & Press (Evansville, Ind.)

Visit the Evansville Courier & Press (Evansville, Ind.) at www.courierpress.com

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