By Parker Ferguson
It’s playoff football time in Indiana, and your Center Grove Trojans are no strangers to deep playoff runs in October and November. This year’s sectional preparation, although, has been different for all 6A teams, as the playoff bye week was placed before sectionals rather than before state like in previous years. Will this extra week of recovery and preparation come back to prove beneficial or detrimental for teams? Only time will tell, but your Center Grove Trojans are honing in on winning their 6th straight sectional, 5th straight regional, and repeating as state champions. Their journey will kick off tonight at 7p.m. against the Jeffersonville Red Devils at Ray Skillman Stadium.
Center Grove has historically had their way with the Red Devils, beating them all three times the teams have met, including last year’s 56-6 sectional championship victory . Jeffersonville comes in with a new head coach this season, sporting a 5-5 reecord. They may have a new coach, but the leader of their team is fourth year starting quarterback Cameron Northern, who brings in plenty of experience. Northern and the Jeffersonville offense run an RPO style of play, meaning when the ball is snapped the quarterback gets the ball and based on what he sees from the defense can either hand the ball off or drop back and make a quick pass. The Red Devils had success with this offense last season, as Northern accounted for 1,908 yards and 22 touchdowns. Junior running back Kam Fuller, 5’9” 160 lbs, is a shifty new accent to the offense, as he has found success in the open field this season.
Though the RPO style of offense can be hard to defend, the Trojans have had great success defending against these styles of offense, as Ben Davis and Pike both are heavy RPO teams and the Trojans soundly won both games. The Red Devils are averaging 23 points a game and have scored 35 points twice this season, both signs of a strong offense.
The Red Devils defense plays a 4-3, with 4 down linemen and 3 linebackers. Jeffersonville’s strong side linebacker, Oscar Elliot, flies around the ball and makes plays, even scoring a touchdown on a fumble recovery in their regular season finale victory over Jennings County. With that being said, the Red Devils defense has been weak and inconsistent this season, and CG’s offense will certainly look to exploit that. Right now, they are giving up 30 points a game and Russ Yeast and company will be looking to put some points on the board.
The playoffs start tonight for all 6A teams in Indiana and only the best move on to the next round. The defending state champs do not plan on giving up that title.