Warren Central at Center Grove
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Webcast: Center grovefootball.com (pregame 6:45 p.m.)
Recent history: The Class 6A No. 1 Trojans are just 7-14 against the Warriors under head coach Eric Moore, but they have won four of the past six, including both meetings last year — 42-38 in the regular season and 24-13 in a Class 6A regional.
Sagarin ratings (end of 2015 season): Warren Central 101.98 (fifth in Indiana), Center Grove 108.97 (first).
Players to watch: Center Grove — QB Jack Kellams, Sr.; RB Titus McCoy, Sr.; RB/WR Russ Yeast, Sr., DE Dan Root, Sr.; LB Bailey Bennett, Sr. Warren Central — QB Zach Summeier, Sr; WR Tristen Tonte, Sr.; WR David Bell, So.; WR Paul Minor, Sr.; WR Dean Date, Jr.; FS Dijon Anderson, Sr.
Keys to victory: Center Grove’s offense should be among the most potent in Indiana this season, but its defense still needs to be able to stop opponents from scoring. No one expects new starting defensive tackles Parker Ferguson and Seth Ferrando to fill the void left by Jovan Swann and Cameron Tidd, but they’ll still need to be effective. For Class 6A No. 5 Warren Central, senior quarterback Zach Summeier threw for 220 yards and three touchdowns in last season’s opener against the Trojans. One of his favorite targets promises to be talented sophomore David Bell, a likely Division I player down the road.
Notable: Center Grove’s newly renovated Ray Skillman Stadium bleachers mean about 1,900 additional seats this fall, bringing seating capacity to just under 6,000.
Franklin at Columbus North
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Broadcast: KORN Country 100.3 FM
Recent history: The Bull Dogs defeated Franklin in last season’s opener, 54-7, on the Grizzly Cubs’ home field.
Sagarin ratings (2015): Franklin 42.97 (165th), Columbus North 80.64 (27th).
Players to watch: Franklin — QB Jake Moore, Sr.; RB Tyler Fromer, Jr.; OL Alex VanDyke, Sr; DL Nate Sellers, Jr.; DB Lane Voris, Sr.; DB Ranger Soots, Jr. Columbus North — QB Triston Perry, Sr.; RB Mitchell Burton, Sr.; LB Tucker Payne, Sr.
Keys to victory: Franklin’s defense must find a way to slow a Bull Dogs team that produced 40 or more points on six occasions last season. Conversely, the Grizzly Cubs were held to single digits in four of their games. That doesn’t bode well against Columbus North, which enters the night ranked 10th in Class 6A.
Notable: By finishing 6-4 last season, Columbus North posted its first winning season since 2011.
Perry Meridian at Greenwood
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Recent history: The programs have been season-opening rivals since 2013, with Perry Meridian winning two of the three games, including last year’s 28-17 triumph. First-year Falcons head coach Matt Henninger is a 2003 Perry Meridian graduate who served as an assistant coach at his alma mater for 11 seasons before being promoted. Greenwood returns many of its playmakers on offense from a year ago. This could create problems for a Falcons defense that a year ago allowed an average of 28.9 points per game.
Sagarin ratings (2015): Perry Meridian 66.56 (71st), Greenwood 65.51 (77th).
Players to watch: Greenwood — QB Seth Gallman, Jr.; RB Brandon Rosado, Jr.; LT Ryder Burchett, Sr.; C Thomas Bowling, Sr.; WR AJ Reingardt, Sr. Perry Meridian — LB Alec Patch, Jr.; LB Rilee Miller, Sr.; FS Noah Warren, Jr.; RB Jalen Lee, Jr.
Keys to victory: Players who accounted for 25 of Greenwood’s 38 touchdowns last season are back. Perry Meridian’s defense must find a way to slow the likes of Gallman and Rosado.
Notable: Perry Meridian has produced a total of 98 points compared to Greenwood’s 92 in the three head-to-head matchups so far.
Roncalli at Southport
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Recent history: These Southside programs have opened against each other since 2008, with Southport winning five of the games by a total of 39 points. The Rebels have scored 21 points in four of the eight games, including last year’s 27-21 loss.
Sagarin ratings (2015): Roncalli 75.53 (44th), Southport 76.65 (41st).
Players to watch: Roncalli — RB Kenny Gillum, Sr.; RB Nate Fischer, Sr.; WR Luke Smock, Sr.; LB Christian Brueggeman; K Patrick Sandler, Sr. Southport — RB Andrew Mappes, Sr.; WR Blake Evans, Sr.; LB Jalen Williams, Sr.
Keys to victory: To show the closeness of this rivalry, Roncalli has outscored the Cardinals 167-164 despite winning two fewer games since the series began in 2008. Senior kicker Patrick Sandler makes a nice option for the Class 4A No. 3 Rebels should this game be close in the waning moments.
Notable: Roncalli has finished with a record above .500 for five consecutive seasons.
Lawrenceburg at Indian Creek
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Recent history: First meeting since 2006, when the Braves scored a 42-7 victory at Lawrenceburg in a sectional game. Indian Creek also won there three years earlier, 28-20. The Tigers are making their first trip to Trafalgar since a 62-0 sectional loss in 2002.
Sagarin ratings: Lawrenceburg 59.85 (92nd), Indian Creek 43.49 (162nd).
Players to watch: Indian Creek — QB Taylor Voris, Jr.; RB Brandon Dunn, Jr.; WR Bryce Hogue, Sr.; WR Parker Osborn, Sr.; LB Joe Clevenger, Sr. Lawrenceburg — QB Reid Strobl, Sr.; RB Austin Bowling; LB Mason Parris, Jr.
Keys to victory: Lawrenceburg has very quietly put together a 32-13 record over the past four seasons. Led by senior quarterback Reid Strobl (1,657 yards passing, 224 rushing) and three of his top receivers from a year ago, the Tigers pose many threats to the Indian Creek defense.
Notable: An Indian Creek victory gives head coach Mike Gillin his 300th career win overall. Gillin has won 133 games in 15 years with the Braves.
Edinburgh at Brown County
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Recent history: The Lancers lost 40-12 last season in the revival of a rivalry that had been dormant since a Week 7 loss to Brown County in 1998. Edinburgh’s most recent win against the Eagles was a 29-18 decision in 1996.
Sagarin ratings (2015): Edinburgh minus-15.29 (323rd), Brown County minus-0.31 (305th).
Players to watch: Edinburgh — RB Zach Smiley, Sr.; WR Jacob Atha, Jr.; DL Zane Smith, Sr.; LB Noah Martin, Sr. Brown County — QB Alex Carney, Jr.; RB Colten Harper, Jr.; DT Baylee Mosier, Sr.; DL Nolan Kelly, Sr.
Keys to victory: A fast start is important for the Lancers in terms of establishing some sort of momentum. They were outscored 201-12 in their first four games last season.
Notable: Two of Brown County’s first four games are against Johnson County programs. The Eagles play at Indian Creek in Week 4.
Whiteland vs. New Palestine
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. (at Lucas Oil Stadium)
Webcast: wchsradio.cpcsc.k12.in.us (pregame 7:45 p.m.).
Recent history: These programs last met in 2013, with the Dragons winning 35-10 on its own field in Week 5. Prior to that, the Warriors opened eight consecutive regular seasons (2005-12) against New Palestine, with Whiteland victorious on five occasions. The last time they battled in the postseason was 2008, Whiteland winning a sectional opener at New Pal, 40-7.
Sagarin ratings: Whiteland 79.09 (34th), New Palestine 97.41 (eighth).
Players to watch: Whiteland — QB Jace Carpenter, Sr.; RB Anthony Schantz, Sr.; OL Ryder Emberton, Sr.; OL Tarnjeet Singh, Sr.; WR Djimmon Ogega, Sr. New Palestine — QB Gunnar Large, Sr.; RB Adam Kincaid, Sr.; RB Luke Ely, So.; WR Brady Walden, Sr.; DL Demetre Mitchell, Sr.
Keys to victory: Whiteland’s top returning tackler is senior linebacker Logan Mullinix. The team the Class 5A No. 10 Warriors are about to face a team that has scored 60 or more points a total of 17 times since Kyle Ralph took over as the Dragons’ coach in 2013. Ralph has led the Dragons to a jaw-dropping 41-2 record, one state championship and three consecutive semistate berths. Although many of the key contributors graduated from last season’s squad, Class 5A No. 2 New Palestine again features a wide-open offensive attack capable of putting points on the board.
Notable: New Palestine is playing its second straight game inside Lucas Oil Stadium, having closed 2015 there with an unforgettable 64-61 loss to Fort Wayne Snider in the Class 5A title game.