Trojan Update with Ben Greller

Each week sports writer Ben Greller will have updates on last week’s sporting events, as well as previewing this week’s matchups. Look for Greller’s update every week to get you ready for each week’s big games.

Football

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photo by Jordan Boyd

The Trojans did as I expected last week. Their pass rush and strong corner play guided them to a dominant win over a powerful Avon team. CG will be playing against a similar offense this week — No. 1 Warren Central. They have a powerful running back in Romeir Elliott, a strong-armed quarterback, and one of the best all-around athletes in Indiana high school sports history, David Bell. Personally, I think that the Warrior’s offense is the best in the state. They have such a great ability to make 20+ yard plays and when you combine that with their solid defense, they are an extremely tough team to beat. With all this being said, I think the Trojans will win. So many people have already put Warren in the state championship game in many things I have read online. This just isn’t giving the Trojans the respect they deserve. Center Grove held the Warriors to their lowest total this season in their first meeting. I know CG’s pass rush will be in full force and the offense will look to make long drives that keep the Warrior’s offense off the field. Lastly, I think special teams will be a major factor in this game and the advantage there should go to the Trojans. It is hard to bet against Eric Moore and his Trojans. The Center Grove community MUST be in full support this Friday.

 

Girls Swimming and Diving

The girls swimming and diving team has their first two meets of the year this week on Tuesday and Saturday. They will be swimming against Bloomington South on Tuesday and county rival Franklin on Saturday. Both matches will be hard matches for the Trojans, especially Franklin. Franklin advanced a swimmer or relay team in each event to the state championship last year after beating Center Grove in sectionals. Both teams will be a hard test, but expect the Trojans to scrap out points and give both teams a run for their money.

 

Girls Basketball

The girls basketball team had a rough week last week. They fell to No. 8 Brownsburg 54-48, using a late surge to make it a close ball game, and then fell to No. 1 Warren Central 58-34. Next up they have the Johnson County Tournament. I believe this week will be a pivotal point in the season; winning the county tournament should give Center Grove

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Emily Rake looks to pass the ball during the team’s first game of the season against Plainfield. Photo by Calista Stafford

some momentum for the rest of their season, which is exactly what will happen. The Trojans will win the county tournament simply because they have the most talent. Their toughest opponent will be the Whiteland Warriors, but I don’t see them having much problem with any team in the county. The Lady Trojans have won the county championship the last two years, and you should expect nothing less this year.

Boys Basketball

The Boys basketball team will see their first bit of action on Thursday in a scrimmage against Brownsburg. It should be great to see the Trojans on the court once again and see them get ready for their game against Franklin on Nov. 20. The team will be without two returning varsity players, as well as several underclassmen, for the scrimmage and the opening two games of the season due to the football team’s success.

 

Trojan Update with Ben Greller

Each week sports writer Ben Greller will have updates on last week’s sporting events, as well as previewing this week’s matchups. Look for Greller’s update every Monday to get you ready for each week’s big games.

Football

Last Friday, the Trojans dominated Franklin Central. They were expected to do so and ended the night raising the sectional title for the 8th straight year. It has become the norm for the Trojans to win sectionals, but they will be playing a much harder opponent this Friday when they face off against Avon, the team that knocked them out of last year’s regional championship. Many reporters see the road ending right here for this year’s Trojans.

IMG_1613The Orioles are talented. They have a great running back in Sampson James, a state-leading wide receiver in Jalen Peterson and a dominant defensive line. I believe the Trojans will be able to offset these strengths that Avon brings. James, a top 10 RB, has been hurt recently and has seen limited action, and CG’s offensive line has been improving each game over the regular season and playoffs. Avon QB Henry Hesson will not have the time he has had to throw to Peterson, who typically runs deep routes and burns defensive backs. This is exactly the type of game that Coach Eric Moore wins.

Many think this is a game that will end CG’s season, but I think that is incorrect. I predict a large crowd at Ray Skillman stadium going crazy as the Trojans beat the Orioles by limiting big plays and controlling the line of scrimmage.

Girls Basketball

The Lady Trojans have a hard week ahead of them. They start out with No. 14 Brownsburg Monday night, then face defending state champion Warren Central on Thursday. The Bulldogs will have a hard time slowing down the senior backcourt duo of Ella Thompson and Emma Utterback, as will any team. In my opinion, Thompson and Utterback combine to make one of the strongest duos in the state, if not the best. When you add in the outside shooters that the Trojans have, they will be victorious on Tuesday night.

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The game will be a close one, but if Center Grove continues to dominate defensively and rebound, they will win in a close one. As for Thursday, the Lady Trojans will have an uphill battle as they will have to go up against the No. 1 team in the state. The Warriors have a monstrous center in Michigan State-commit Cydni Dodd who stands at 6’5” tall. She will provide a problem down low for the Trojans, but if they are able to rebound at a high level and knock down shots, they have a chance for huge upset.

Boys Basketball

The boys’ basketball team opened up practice on Monday. The Trojans have high expectations this year after being knocked out in regionals the past two years. They will be lead by top-15 recruit Trayce Jackson-Davis. The Trojans will be solid all around this year and it will be hard for teams to stop all of the weapons that are thrown at them. The team opens up their season on Nov. 20 against Franklin.

Boys and Girls Swimming and Diving

Both swim teams also started practice on Monday. Both teams will be looking to avenge a sectional loss in the past year. The boys’ team has a great shot at winning the sectional this year as they return top scorers in Tony Gibson, Brady Ferguson, Ben Clarkston and add in freshman Justin Xia.

The girls are also solid as they bring back Devin Trammel, Emma Pawlik, Gracie Marsh, Jess Holland and Molly Styles.

I think it will be a great year for both teams and both will have a shot at advancing multiple swimmers to the state meet. This season will also add on to longtime swim coach Jim Todd’s illustrious career.

Wrestling

Last Monday, the wrestling team officially started their season with their first practice. The Trojans will be solid this year even though they are losing all-time great Gleason Mappes and other contributors such as Jonah Hayes and Cory Heinrichs. First year coach Maurice Swain will look to continue the success seen last season. Alex Petro and Peyton Pruett will both be looking to make a run at the state tournament as they will be two of the Trojan’s top wrestlers.

Trojans look for victory over Cathedral Irish on senior night

Ben Greller | Staff Writer

Tonight the football team will face off against Cathedral on Senior night. Last year the Trojans suffered a disappointing 21-14 loss to the Irish in a game that saw CG lose three fumbles. However, quarterback Jackson Moore threw for a career best 150 yards and two touchdowns. In the past three years the Trojans are 2-1 against the Irish and will look to improve on that record tonight at Ray Skillman Stadium. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff with senior night festivities beginning at 6:10 p.m.

The Trojans defense will look to slow down Irish wide receiver Bo Sanders tonight. Sanders ranks 16th in the state for total reception yards and third in touchdown receptions. Another threat will be running back Chon’dre Dissel who stands at just 5’4” but averages nearly six yards a carry and a touchdown a game.

4CD06385-A1BA-466F-83F9-7DB2F1C195EB“They are super fast and super strong, but tonight is all about us. We have prepared and know that they have great skill players that we need to slow down,” senior defensive back Matt Pence said. “It’s all about the team and going out there and fighting for the seniors.”

On the other side of the ball, Trojan running back Carson Steele will look to keep his hot streak going as he has rushed for 10 total touchdowns in the last three games, as well as averaging 249 yards a game over that span.

Tonight is also the last night the senior football players will run out of the Trojan football helmet to thousands of fans yelling for them.

“It’s one last friday night home game. The playoffs could shake out weird and this could be it. You never know if you’ll play another home game again, so we are going to give it all we got and put a show on for everyone,” senior quarterback Jackson Moore said.

The Center Grove seniors have had success against the Irish and the team is on a winning streak.

“I am looking forward to beating the Irish one more time and finishing our season 6-3 with four straight wins, leading us into the playoffs with confidence and in full stride,” senior offensive lineman Cameron Petty said.

The Trojans come into tonight’s game having won their last three MIC conference games by an average of 21 points and sit at 5-3 overall. They are ranked as the #7 team in Indiana per maxpreps.com.

Cathedral has only played four of their eight games against Indiana opponents and have not played a MIC conference team yet. They will travel to Center Grove tonight having lost their last game to St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) by 25 points and sitting at 4-4 overall. The Irish are ranked at #9 in the state according to Maxpreps.com.

Senior/freshman Powderpuff team takes victory in annual game

Claire Schultz | Staff Writer

IMG_0098On Wednesday, the senior and freshman team faced off against the juniors and sophomores in the second annual Powderpuff game. The freshman and senior team, coached by senior AJ Wiese, defeated the juniors and sophomores, coached by senior Cam Petty, 20-18.

“I’m on the D-line, and I like it because even though I’m not the quickest or the most athletic it’s a spot I can excel in because of my brute strength,” returning senior and defensive lineman Kennedy Roberts said. “It was the same position I played last year so I had some knowledge on how to do my job overall, even if I was a little rusty.”

During the game, Roberts was able to get two sacks and aid in the team’s victory.

“I had a lot of fun playing this year,” Roberts said. “Last year on the sophomore and junior team we got our win stolen from us so it was nice to finally get a win.”

Though there was a lot of action on the defensive line, there were important choices being made on the offensive side of the ball.

“I loved starting all the plays and getting handoffs to the running backs so they can take it all the way into the end zone,” senior quarterback Emma Utterback said. “I know a lot of the girls that were playing so it made the game so much more fun and we definitely wouldn’t have won if we didn’t stick together as a team.”

While many returned from last year, there were also newcomers on the field.

“I joined because I saw a bunch of people having fun last year, and I didn’t get to experience it, and I wanted to be a part of that” senior offensive lineman Makayla Marlin said.

IMG_9994Because of the large turnout, some of the players had to play positions that they would not normally be expected to play. Hannah Monroe was switched from running back to the offensive line because of the large number of players.

“I like being on the offensive line because it gives me a chance to take out all of my frustration on other people,” Monroe said. “My favorite part of the game was being on the field with all of my friends. I also really liked hitting people and being a key part of the game.”

While the sophomore/junior team struck first with junior Brooke York connecting with sophomore Brooke Lee to take a 6-0 lead into halftime, the freshman/senior team would fight back, including the final touchdown run by senior Riko Williams to seal the 20-18 win.

Trojans defeat reigning state champion team No. 4, Ben Davis

Jordan Boyd | Yearbook Editor

With the Trojans clinging to a 14-8 lead midway through the third quarter and Ben Davis methodically driving down the field, Drew Green stepped into the passing lane and intercepted Giants quarterback LeGrande Swanson, returning the ball to the Ben Davis 39-yard line.

“I was kind of surprised I caught [the interception] to be honest,” Green said. “I felt like everything kind of froze for a second and then I was off to the end zone. Almost made it too, kind of disappointed I couldn’t score.”

AAACC88E-C732-4825-87C4-C907F14B9F04Four plays later, sophomore running back Carson Steele bounced to the outside for a 12-yard touchdown run, his third score of the night. After Steele found the end zone again on the 2-point conversion, Center Grove led 22-8.

Steele scored all four touchdowns for the Trojans as they defeated reigning state champion, No. 4 Ben Davis 29-22 to improve to 2-2 overall and 2-1 in the MIC.

“It feels amazing to come out and help my team to move the ball and to beat a great team,” Steele said.

Steele’s first touchdown of the evening came after back and forth possessions throughout the first quarter. The rainy game seemed bleak until Steele’s short combination of runs added up to a touchdown with 1:18 left in the first quarter. The team’s early lead was soon toppled by a Ben Davis touchdown combined with a two point conversion at the beginning of the second quarter, putting the Giants ahead 8-7.

Within the next three minutes, Steele scored his second touchdown of the evening with a PAT by Luke Eckert to put the Trojans ahead of the Giants for good.

“Jumping out to an early lead tunes everyone up and gets everyone hyped,” senior offensive lineman Lucas Doyle said.

Although the Trojans began the second half with the lead, they didn’t back down and continued to move the ball effectively on the field with a win in sight.

961037A4-90A8-4A63-BB42-6C0CAFE2C76C“We wanted to turn our season around because of how bad [Ben Davis] beat us last year,” quarterback Jackson Moore said. “We were embarrassed after that and we wanted to get our pride back.”

Center Grove will take on MIC opponent and No. 10 North Central next Friday.

*Photos are from last week’s game against Carmel.

Football looks for redemption against MIC rival Ben Davis

Ben Greller | Staff Writer

Tonight, the football team will go on the road to take on No. 3 Ben Davis at 7 p.m. The Trojans will look to redeem themselves after suffering their worst home loss since 2006 last year against the Giants.IMG_7410 copy

Last year’s game featured Ben Davis’s future Mr. Football Reese Taylor, who is now playing at IU. Taylor dominated the game, completing 28-31 passes for four touchdowns, which translated to a 40-7 victory. The Giants would go undefeated and win the state championship.

“Last year we didn’t really know what we were doing. They dominated the line of scrimmage the entire game,” senior offensive lineman AJ Wiese said. “This year we know that we are coming back with more experience and we really hope to win the battle up front.”

Winning the battle at the line of scrimmage will be essential as Center Grove will look to slow down Ben Davis’ potent offense and senior running back Delbert Mimms. Mimms has already put up nine touchdowns for the Giants this season and is deemed one of the best running backs in the state. The powerful running back recently committed to Vanderbilt University.

IMG_6578 copy“We will have to key on Mimms, he is a good running back that has both power and speed,” senior defensive back Nik Browning said. “They also have a dual-threat quarterback and extremely fast receivers.”

On the other side of the ball, senior offensive lineman Lucas Doyle compares Ben Davis’ defense to the teams they have seen this year.

“The Ben Davis defense is really like anything we have seen this year. They have great athletes like Warren and Carmel, but also have a lot of strength like New Pal,” Doyle said. “We will really have to grind out yards tonight like we usually do. Big plays will be limited for our offense because of the athletic difference in teams, but in the end it ultimately comes down to the fact that the tougher team will win.”

Both teams are coming off conference wins as the Trojans took down rival Carmel 17-7, and Ben Davis dominated Pike last Friday 40-19.

“Their offense may be one of the best we have seen this year just because they posses so many weapons,” head coach Eric Moore said. “We will have to force turnovers and bring guys down in the open field. They spread you out and get 1-on-1 match ups down the field and have guys that can go up and get it.”

 

 

Trojans look for first victory of season in tonight’s Copper Kettle game

Sebastian Martin | Staff Writer

The football team opened their season 0-2 for the first time in recent history, suffering defeats to conference rival Warren Central and 5A power New Palestine 27-15 and 31-9 respectively. Tonight, the Trojans will attempt to improve their record despite obstacles posed by injuries and a rigorous regular-season schedule.

“We have to overcome adversity,” quarterbacks and receivers coach Joseph Siderewicz said. “The message from the coaches has been to keep getting better and try to improve by the playoffs. Don’t get depressed and don’t give up and quit. You can’t have an undefeated season every season.”

The Trojans suffered injuries on the offensive side of the ball in the opening two games to starting running backs Gavin Matheson and Carson Steele, along with wing back Sam Hohlt. While Hohlt is out for the season with a fractured collarbone, Matheson and Steele should be back in the lineup tonight.

“I don’t think I’ll start, but [I’m] probably going to rotate in as needed,” Matheson said. “I feel good, but the coaches are still rightfully concerned. Either way, we’re going to be effective tonight.”

A strong backfield could be a deciding factor in tonight’s game, as Carmel’s defense has been solid in the team’s 2-0 start, including a 34-7 victory at Noblesville last week.

“[Carmel] has a big defense and a lot of experience,” Siderewicz said. “They can be safe on offense and sit back a little bit without taking too many risks because their defense is so strong.”

Cach Moore agrees with Siderwicz in saying that battling Carmel’s defense will be a challenge this evening, adding that the team excellently targets the runs.

“They have tremendous line size, and never penetrate too deep,” Moore said. “They have excellent tackling against the run.”

To counteract the Greyhound defense and attempt to alleviate game-changing mistakes, the Trojans have taken a simplified approach to their game plan.

“We’ve gotta block and tackle, simple as that,” Moore said. “We’ve simplified our offense. Guys don’t have to worry about the mental aspect of the game so much and can focus on just physically playing. We’re going back to the basics.”

Siderewicz also stressed the importance of fundamentals for tonight’s matchup.

“You’ve gotta get the basics down before you can move onto other stuff” Siderewicz said. “If you clean up fumbles and penalties and ball handling, and don’t kill drives, you don’t give the other team the ball.”

Despite having to make adjustments to their game plan the Trojans remain optimistic as they chase their first victory.

“[Their] attitude and determination has been amazing,” Moore said. “We’ve just gotta focus on intensity and being physical. We’ve done more one-on-one and hitting drills in practice this week than ever before.”

This is not the first time the Trojans have faced adversity in a game against Carmel. Ten years ago, the Trojans’ determination was evident when they found themselves trailing 33-14 with six minutes left in the state championship game. However, the team would score the final 28 points, capped by a Luke Swift 5-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion to secure a 36-33 victory and Moore’s first state title.

Attitude and determination are traits that Moore has preached throughout his 18-year career, a career some have speculated is nearing its end.

When asked if Friday night will be his last Copper Kettle game, Moore only laughed and said, “It’ll be the last one this year, I’ll tell you that! It has been a privilege to coach for 20 straight Copper Kettle games, and I look forward to all Copper Kettle games in the future.”

Regardless of whether this is his last clash against the Greyhounds or not, tonight under the lights Moore and the rest of the Trojans will be fighting to defeat their fiercest rivals in the regular season for the fourth straight year.

Note: Center Grove will honor the 10-year anniversary of the 2008 state championship at tonight’s game.