High School Football Game of the Week Preview – Mater Dei Vs Lawrenceburg
After a dominating, 42-0 win over South Spencer to bring home their fourth straight Sectional crown, the Mater Dei Wildcats make a long journey east to face the 11-1 Lawrenceburg Tigers for the Regional Championship.
The Wildcats got back on track after sputtering a bit at the end of the regular season with losses against Castle and Reitz, and narrowly escaping the first two rounds of the Sectionals with close wins over two talented teams in Southridge and North Posey.
Their offense returned to form against the Rebels of South Spencer. Senior quarterback, Jace Hartz threw 18 completions on 21 attempts for 270 yards, 217 of those coming in the first half, and three touchdowns. Hartz also spread the ball around, hitting eight different receivers over the course of the game.
Wildcat head coach, Mike Goebel told the Courier and Press that much of the credit for their offensive success goes to the defense who held the Rebels running game to -12 yards in the first half and just five yards of total offense. They'll need to be on their on game again Saturday afternoon as they travel four hours east to meet the Lawrenceburg Tigers, a school located just 20 miles east of Cincinnati.
Admittedly, I'm not familiar with the Tigers. It's a problem we run into around this point in the season as the Evansville teams start traveling to remote areas of the state. Many of these smaller schools in rural areas either don't have websites, and if they do, they don't post stats for their athletic teams. There are some state-wide and national websites (John Harrell's Indiana High School Football, MaxPreps and Varvee, for example) that have some information like schedules and rosters, but rely on people in those areas to submit game stats. If no one is submitting stats, and since we don't have access to game film like a coach would, then it's obviously difficult to assess what a local team will be facing.
Fortunately, I was able to find some information on the Tigers, and by the looks of it, they are very similar to Mater Dei in terms of their style of play. Senior running back, Chad Banschbach, is the fifth leading rusher in the state racking up 2,328 yards and 35 touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback, Sam Fette, has thrown for 1,879 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions, which leads me to believe that much like the Wildcats, the Tigers present a balanced attack. Receiving-wise, Fette seems to favor seniors Morgan Baker (39 receptions, 897 yards, and 10 touchdowns) and Robbie Jackson (26 receptions, 645 yards, and 6 touchdowns).
On that note, stats can be deceiving as it's hard to gauge level of competition a team like Lawrenceburg has faced. Yes, they are 11-1 on the season, and their schedule shows they faced two - Class 3A schools and three - Class 4A schools, but are those schools on the same level as a Central or Reitz? Let me put it this way, the combined records of the Class 4A schools the Tigers faced this season is 13-19, with one of those teams (South Dearborn, whom they faced twice in the regular season for whatever reason) ending the season without a win. On the flip side, the three - Class 4A schools Mater Dei faced this year (Central, Reitz, and Harrison) had a combined record of 16-16.
By the look of the roster, the Tigers also seem to match Mater Dei evenly in terms of size with the average height of their players being between 5'10" and 6'2", and the average weight between 180 and 210 pounds, with the glaring exception being offensive and defensive lineman, senior Cameron Brown. A mountain of a young man whose tale of the tape lists him at 6'7" and 245 pounds.
One thing I've inferred from the roster, and based on previous experience, is that teams with the size of players like the Tigers are generally quick on their feet which can be an advantage when facing Mater Dei who have had problems dealing with speedy opponents.
With that being said, the previously mentioned MaxPreps.com has projected a 38-27 win in favor of the Wildcats. While I won't predict a final score, I will give Mater Dei the edge on this one based on their strength of schedule. Tune into Newstalk 1280, or online at Newstalk1280.com with pregame at 1:30 and kickoff at 2pm Saturday afternoon, to see if I'm right.