High School Football Game of the Week Preview – Mater Dei vs Castle
The Castle Knights look to keep themselves in the hunt for their third consecutive conference title as they host undefeated Mater Dei in Paradise.
It's been an interesting year for the Knights who entered the 2013 season missing several key players from their previous two title runs due to graduation. Placing the ball in the hands of quarterback, Will Randell, a 6'5", 200 pound sophomore, Castle has already seen its fair share of highs and lows midway through the season. A blowout loss to Terre Haute North at Lucas Oil Stadium to open the season no doubt had fans bracing themselves for a potentially long season. But as the old saying goes, "one game does not a season make." The Knights bounced back with two consecutive wins against non-conference opponent, New Albany in week two, and a big win over Reitz to open the conference schedule in week three, shutting out the Panthers 17-0 at home.
Things were looking up in Newburgh, and any sense of panic or low expectations that may have been felt by the Castle faithful started to fade. Then came the Bosse Bulldogs.
In a game that became the story after week four, Castle traveled to Enlow Field and left with a 33-40 loss. An clear upset seeing that the Bulldogs closed out the 2012 season with zero wins, and haven't had a winning season since their 6-5 run in 2000.
More importantly, it was a conference loss for the Knights, putting their hopes for a third consecutive title in jeopardy. A loss at Central in week five would effectively end those hopes for good. Going into that game, the Bears were averaging just over 51 points per game, but were also giving up an average of 43 points to their opponents due to a young, inexperienced defense. The young Castle team would have to find a way to stop their high powered offense if they hoped to leave Evansville's north side with a win and stay in the title hunt.
And find a way they did.
The Knights not only held Central to its lowest scoring output of the season, but also put up a season's best 39 points thanks to the legs junior running back, Christian Peach. The 5'5", 145 pounder absolutely shredded the Bears defense with a ridiculous 307 yards, and five touchdowns to give Castle the win and keep their hopes of a third consecutive conference title alive.
They'll need another lights out performance Friday night when the Wildcats come for a visit.
Ranked number one in Class 2A, Mater Dei enters the game undefeated after a dominant performance against North last Friday night which saw the Wildcats employ a rare "running back by committee" style of offense, rotating juniors Logan McCann and Julian Weidner in with senior starter Nolan Goebel, whom it was rumored after the game may have suffered a minor injury in the first half that led to his reduction in carries during the second half.
It didn't take long to realize in that half that regardless of who was in the backfield, the usually pass intensive Wildcats have the capability to run a grinding rushing attack if necessary behind what may be the biggest offensive line in school history, making them dangerous for any team they face.
The conundrum facing the Knights is which attack to focus on stopping. Bum-rushing the offensive line with blitzing linebackers and defensive backs leaves the secondary vulnerable to the Wildcats speedy receiving corp of Julian Weidner, Seth Kruse, Jacob Flemming, and Luke Nietzke. Playing the pass will open up things up for the running game. A "six of one, half dozen of the other" scenario, if you will.
Stopping the Knights offense won't be an easy task for the Wildcats either. Christian Peach has proven that despite is diminutive size, he's quick on his feet and has the ability to pick up big yards if given even a tiny lane by his offensive line.
It should be a great night of football between two great area teams, and you can catch every minute on Newstalk 1280AM, or online at Newstalk1280.com.