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All county teams still playing in November

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Maybe this should be a question on a math exam, you know, like one of those “Train A left Amity at 1 p.m. and Train B left Needham at 2:15 p.m.” puzzlers.

How exactly is it in Indiana’s single-elimination state high school football tournament that Johnson County has more — not fewer — teams playing tonight?

The answer is simple. Franklin and Whiteland sat out with byes, while everbody else won.

We’ve said all season that no county plays better football from top to bottom than Johnson County.

Not braggin’, just fact.

Local teams backed that up yet again.

After all five area schools won last Friday, Johnson County (including Roncalli, which features some Johnson County players) is now 41-17 against schools outside the county, a 71 percent winning clip. (Johnson County’s 70.7 percent clip is just a tick above Hamilton County at 47-20 and 70.1 percent).

Let’s savor that for a moment. Our football teams have won more than seven out of every 10 games against outside competition.

After a perfect postseason Week 1, something has to give this week, as the Grizzly Cubs visit the Warriors in a Class 5A showdown.

Here’s a look ahead with a glance back:

Repeat after me: “I will never underestimate Indian Creek again.”

Sure, the Braves have enjoyed their share of postseason success, but the matchup at Class 3A No. 3 undefeated Batesville looked daunting. After all, five of the Bulldogs’ wins were against larger schools, and they averaged 41 points, and Indian Creek (8-2) was still toying with a rebuilt running attack because of injuries.

Exceeding postseason expectations, though, is something the Braves do with consistency. The dramatic 17-14 victory over Batesville should not be a surprise; that the defense led the way is a sign of a complete team.

Indian Creek hosts No. 8 Hamilton Heights (8-2) tonight. The Huskies average 43 points a game, so the Braves’ defense again will be put to the test.

How many ways can Center Grove win? The Trojans put on a smorgasbord of creative and talented football against visiting New Albany in a 70-14 thrashing.

(My beagle, who runs to the closet each time the touchdown cannon fires at the nearby stadium, is not a fan of the team’s efficiency.)

Scoring with the run, pass and special teams, while playing its usual stifling defense, Class 6A No. 3 Center Grove provided a snapshot of why this 2013 edition has the potential to bring home a state title. The Trojans are deep and play with a purpose that will serve them well as the contests get more challenging.

Center Grove travels to Jeffersonville (6-4) tonight. The Red Devils lost to New Albany in their only Class 6A regular-season game.

For the second time in three seasons, Edinburgh (5-5) won its playoff opener.

That is especially impressive this year for a team that has taken its share of knocks. The Lancers nearly flipped a 41-6 loss to North Decatur in Week 2 with a 42-20 triumph.

This Edinburgh team can run up big numbers, averaging 48 points in its five wins.

Host Lutheran (6-4) will present the Lancers’ biggest challenge to date.

Greenwood dropped it regular-season series with Columbus East last year, but the Woodmen (5-5) will get a chance to knock off the Class 4A No. 1 Olympians tonight. It might be a tall order, but Greenwood is tournament tough, with at least one playoff win in each of the past six years.

South Dearborn was the opening-round victim, 48-32, as the Woodmen registered their highest point output of the season. It will take that kind of effort against an East team that allows only 12 points a game.

How good was Class 4A No. 7 Roncalli? The offense finished off Mooresville and still could have made an early movie.

It took 11 plays and just 12:06 on the clock for the Rebels to put up five scores and 35 points on the Pioneers. Roncalli scored on drives of 50 yards or more on 4, 2, 1, 2 and 2 plays.

By 7:40 p.m., coach Bruce Scifres pulled his starters.

The defense stayed long enough for Dustin Hughett’s 51-yard pick-six and a spirited fourth-and-goal stop on the Pioneers’ next possession before a taking a seat.

Lebanon (8-2) may prove to be paper tigers tonight. Despite a glossy record, the Tigers have not played, let alone beaten, a Class 4A team with a winning record.

Bob Johnson is a correspondent for the Daily Journal. His columns appear Tuesdays and Fridays. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net

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