High School Football Game of the Week Preview – Central at Reitz
The classic north side versus the west side rivalry continues Friday night at the Reitz Bowl between two programs always considered to be strong contenders for both the city and conference titles.
Friday night's meeting will be the 103rd between the two schools, making it the oldest rivalry between two Evansville schools. The Panther's lead the overall series record, 68-30-4 after last year's 48-28 win over the Bears.
Heading into this year's game, both squads feature stellar rushing attacks with senior Isaiah Kemper leading the way for Central after finding the endzone not once, not twice, but three times last week against an up-and-coming Bosse Bulldogs team while gaining 213 yards on 28 carries (a 7.6 yard per carry average). He wasn't the only one showing off his skills in that victory, as junior quarterback Noah Fuchs shined bright on both sides of the ball throwing an efficient seven completions on ten attempts for 151 yards and two touchdowns, while also playing safety the entire game where he picked off a pass in the 41-20 rout.
The Bears are dealing with their fair share of injuries heading into the match up, meaning they'll need to rely on strong play from backups if they hope to remain undefeated against a stout Reitz defense, and an efficient offense led by junior quarterback Evan Deig who is getting more and more comfortable in his role as leader of the offense each week, throwing 17 completions on 33 attempts for 136 yards, three scores, and no interceptions.
Central will also have to contend with one of the city, conference, and some would argue, state's most dynamic play makers, Malik Higgins, who received our Player of the Game honors after racking up 38 yards and one touchdown on four catches while also collecting 239 yards and one touchdown on the ground on only 17 carries. Higgins has proven week and week out that he's a threat regardless of whether he lines up in the slot receiver position, or at tailback.
Defensively the Panthers have displayed tight coverage on opposing receivers, and great ability to remain disciplined in the run game keeping Castle's Christian Peach just over 100 yards on 30-plus carries after his 386 yard outing against New Albany the week before. However, the team's the Panther's have faced thus far in the season are run-first programs, where the Bears have traditionally been known to rely heavily on the passing game under head coach Andy Owen. It will be interesting to see how and if the Panther's adjust.
Catch every snap live as it happens on ESPN Evansville 105.3, and online at ESPNevansville.com with play-by-play from Jimmie Ford, and color commentary by yours truly. Pregame starts at 6:30pm, with kickoff at 7pm.