High School Football Game of the Week Preview – Mater Dei Vs Cardinal Ritter
The Mater Dei Wildcats are one win away from a return trip to Lucas Oil Stadium and a shot at the Class 2A state championship. Standing in their way, the undefeated Raiders of Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter.
After a tough schedule which featured narrow wins over Southridge (22-15) and North Posey (31-28), the Wildcats easily won their Sectional with a 42-0 win over South Spencer followed by a dominating 33-14 performance over 11-1 Lawrenceburgh last week to take home their third Regional title in the last four seasons.
As in any sport, things don't get easier as a team advances further into the playoffs and that will certainly be the case against Cardinal Ritter on Friday night at the Reitz Bowl. Fortunately for Mater Dei, it is a home game and I full expect the Mater Dei faithful to pack the house to cheer their Wildcats on to a win.
The Raiders bring some impressive numbers to the game:
- 13-0 - Their record entering Friday night's match up
- 1 - Their ranking in Class 2A
- 668 - The total number of points they've scored this season (just over 51 per game average)
- 35 - The least amount of points they've scored in one game (a 35-14 win over Triton Central in week six)
The numbers get more impressive from there. Junior quarterback, Jake Purichia, a three-year starter, has 146 completions on 194 attempts for 2,484 yards, 40 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. He's also run the ball 79 times for 499 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Junior running back, Logan Beaman has 1,237 on 187 attempts, and has found the endzone 17 times. Their go-to guy in the passing game is Alex Parrett who has over 800 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Without a doubt, the Mater Dei defense will have their hands full. However, the coaching staff and players have done a phenomenal job over the past few weeks at finding a weakness in their opponents offense and exploiting it. Defensive ends Ben Polk and Dakota Richardt are always a threat to come off the edges and pressure the quarterback, while linebackers Logan McCann and Evan Collins have found their way into the backfield on numerous occasions thanks to the schemes drawn up by Defensive Coordinator, Darren Knight and his staff.
Not to take anything away from Cardinal Ritter, but outside of beating perennial Class 3A powerhouse, Indianapolis Chatard 56-33 in week five, their regular season schedule consisted of three, Class 1A schools, three - Class 2A, and two - Class 3A schools (including Chatard). Meanwhile Mater Dei routinely plays schools in upper classes every season, never seeing another Class 2A school until the state tournament begins.
Don't get me wrong, it will be a dogfight for sure, and I expect it be a close game, a field goal or less in my opinion. If Ritter can contain Mater Dei's blitz packages and keep Polk and Richardt at bay, much like Castle did in week eight, they could quite possibly finding themselves back home playing for a state title next week.
On the flip side, Mater Dei found success against Lawrenceburg through the legs of quarterback Jace Hartz with a fake hand-off, quarterback sweep play that led to touchdowns on two separate occasions. If Coach Mike Goebel and his offensive coaches can find room to run the ball and keep the Ritter offense off the field, the Wildcats will spend the Friday night of Thanksgiving weekend playing inside Lucas Oil Stadium.
Catch every snap live on Newstalk 1280AM and online at Newstalk1280.com with pregame at 6:30pm and kick off at 7:00.