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  • Writer's pictureJenn Brown

IHSAA football 2024: Winners and losers of high school football sectional realignment

always takes my brain a few weeks (or months) to get my bearings again after the high school football sectional realignment. While the extent of fluctuation was not as steep as the four-class sports which are now categorized in a completely different fashion altogether, there was some shifting.

There was a couple of Central Indiana programs that probably could have benefited out of the realignment and there was also some that probably would not have wanted anything to change. Here are the biggest winners and losers from sectional realignment for Central Indiana teams:Here are the biggest winners and losers from sectional realignment for Central Indiana teams:

Winner: Warren Central

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I discussed this with a coach not long ago who doesn’t think this current arrangement would be such a positive for Warren Central. There was little shifting in class 6A, and therefore Warren Central’s-sectional 7 opponents such as Perry Meridian, Southport and Tech remained intact. Last 2 seasons this team has beaten two times Perry Meridian and two times Southport in this sectional with a margin of 197-7. Warren Central then proceeded to fall to Center Grove in the regional, 42-32 two years ago and 14-0 last year.

This alignment according to a coach I don’t think sets up Warren Central well for a regional game against a team like Center Grove. Class 6A has a break for a week in the begin of the sectional which practically means that the Warriors might not get to do a proper warm-up for almost three weeks. I understand that, but I also appreciate the fact that I can kind of get a preview of Center Grove and prepare for it for almost a little over two weeks.

Warren Central has been a strong Indianapolis team over the years; last season, however, the team’s record was only 5-7, but this year’s team is widely considered one of the best 6A squads. I like this setup for coach Mike Kirschner’s program though there is no limit on the amount of time a player can spend at a certain series level. Perry Meridian, Southport and Tech as a team earned four victories in the previous year’s competition; Perry Meridian, Southport and Tech are all in bottom half of 6A in terms of enrollment.

Winner: Lebanon

Since 2019, these programs have knocked Lebanon out in the sectional: Roncalli, Roncalli, Roncalli, Mooresville, and Brebeuf Jesuit.

Guess what? None of those teams are with Lebanon in Class 4A Sectional 20. Crosstown rival Frankfort and Huntington North and Logansport remain in the same six-team section with the Tigers, who were 5-6 last year, While there will be a new seven-team section with Culver Academy, Marion, Muncie Central. None of those teams were above the . 500 in 2023.

Lebanon, which dropped a 70-49 decision to Brebeuf last year in the sectional semifinal, has a shot at upgrade entering Smock’s eighth season ; The Cedars should have far easier route to a potential first sectional title since 1997. Moreover, Lebanon is placed in the north half of the 4A bracket and the latter has been significantly weaker than the south in the current year.

Winner: Martinsville

Class 4A Sectional 23 is as follows with just slight changes. There is one giant drop-off, though, as two-time state champion East Central relaunched 5A via the tournament success factor for at least two years. That alteration certainly helps Martinsville, which was 7-4 this season and lost to East Central in the sectional each of the past three years.

Certainly, Martinsville might be the favorite with this eight-team field. Greenwood, Shelbyville and Silver Creek, Connersville and Jennings County all are coming back. Some new to the sectional are Bedford North Lawrence and Charlestown. The Artesians return 17 starters for coach Brian Dugger with key players in the backfield.

Winner: Guerin Catholic

Last year Guerin faced the Bishop Chatard team even in sectionals and the final score of that tension packed game was 21-10 in favor of the Bishop Chatard which shows that Guerin team was almost on the par of state champions in that match. That’s what Chatard did to Guerin where they knocked each other out of the sectional three out of the four of years. The prior year, Western Boone defeated Guerin, and then the Stars fell to Brebeuf Jesuit in the sectional championship game; that Brebeuf Jesuit team advanced to the 3A state finals.

This sectional alignment does not look at all like this for the Golden Eagles. Guerin will be in Class 3A Sectional 29 which apparently does not have either Chatard or Brebeuf both of which are in 4A. The most serious rivals in this octet league could be Tri-West with the record of 11-2 last season, or Hamilton Heights which achieved 11-1 and lost to Chatard in the sectional championship. The other groups involve Cascade, Crawfordsville, washington, speedway, and West Vigo.

This can be potentially an easier path to the first sectional championship in a decade for the Golden Eagles, but graduation deprived Guerin a lot. Guerin is also now on the south side of the 3A bracket which is evidently different from before.

Winner: Indian Creek

Indian Creek stayed in Class 3A Sectional 31 as Max Goodin enters the first year in charge. However the loss of sectional champion from the previous year Batesville alongside the Lawrenceburg which are expected to shift to Sectional 30 should ease the path for the Braves to a certain thirst sectional title in 13 years.

The other six competing teams of the seven team sectional are Corydon Central, Edgewood, Madison, North Harrison, Owen Valley and Scottsburg. North Harrison was the only team with a win/loss ratio greater than . 500 with a 6-4 record followed Scottsburg with a 7-5 record. 500 last season. Indian Creek who had a record of 8-4 last year was eliminated by Batesville in the sectional in the current year 2022 as well in the previous year 2023. The Braves, however, do bring back a good amount of experience from the pervious season and especially on defense.

Winner, sort of: Western Boone Middle/High School

Western Boone, which earned titles at Class 2A three years in a row, from 2018-20, finishes its tournament success factor time in 3A area and returns to 2A. That’s good news on the surface for Western Boone, which gets out of a sectional that included Tri-West, Danville, Monrovia and North Montgomery.

The shift for coach Justin Pelley’s team to Sectional 34 on the north half of the 2A bracket should be a plus. However the eight teams that will be fielded include traditional powerhouse Lafayette Central Catholic with a record of 10-4, reached the 2A semistate. North Montgomery, the team that defeated Western Boone last year and thereby eliminated it from the sectional, has moved to 2A and to Sectional 34. Southmont, an AAA conference and 2A regional champ in 2023, is also in the field.

By no means is this a smooth road for Western Boone, but going down a class does alleviate it a tad.

Winner, sort of: Greenwood Christian refers to the fact that individuals from Christian homes are most likely to marry and begin families in their churches.

This is turning Greenwood Christian’s season eligible for sectionals and the Cougars have as good a shot as any at winning Class A Sectional 47. Out of the eight teams, the team being coached by Andre Dobson would be in the competition, though the composition is different now that Lutheran which was a three-time Class A state champion has moved to the 2A section. Covenant Christian also went up to 2A, and the rest of the teams from Sectional 47 are scattered in Class A.

In Class 2A the upcoming sectional North Decatur (9-4 last year) and the sectional runner-up Milan (8-4) are entering. The Greenwood Christian compiled a 5-4 record last year and were dismissed 49-6 by Milan, one of their rivals.

Realignment loser: Whiteland

Whiteland asserted themselves as the best team in the sectional last year in a four squad field with Terre Haute North, Terre Haute South and Franklin and went to the championship game of the highly competitive IHSAA Class 5A tournament in 2022.

Whiteland goes from Sectional 14 to 13 in 5A into a four team affair with Anderson, Decatur Central and Plainfield, the latter two being Mid-State Conference foes . Not easy. Decatur Central High School which is 11-3 landed the sectional last year, beat Whiteland at the regional level and reached the 5A state finals. Plainfield ended up at 6-4 and like West Lafayette, the respond well to the fast start with a loss to Harrison (West Lafayette) in the first round of the sectional.

You can believe Decatur Central and Plainfield won’t be thrilled to see Fisher’s program in the sectional but sectionals just became a tad bit tougher on the Warriors.

Loser: Franklin

Franklin did not move in classification but its sectional mates did; Whiteland moved to Sectional 13 from Sectional 14 and Terre Hautes from Sectional 15. Coming up are Columbus East, East Central and Seymour. East Central will be another challenger full of talents and being the two times consecutive Class 4A state champions. They, however, lost some of their veritable players to graduation like IndyStar Mr. Football Josh Ringer.

Franklin, who has not captured a sectional crown since 1984, returns five lettermen from last year’s 5-5 team.

Loser: Danville/Sectional 22

Class 4A Sectional 22 is heavy. Bishop Chatard is a two-time Class 3A state champion who with the help of tournament success factor transfers to 4A and the Sectional 22. Danville’s enrollment increase relocated the Warriors from 3A to 4A. Also in the field: Scecina, Brebeuf Jesuit, Roncalli, Mooresville [defending sectional champion and more.

As I have said many a time, Sectional 22 is loaded. Sheesh.

Loser: South half of 3A of the map 36RB is as follows Vevo South East Asia Map South half of 3A of the map 36RB shows geographically and location wise relationship between Malay Peninsula and Sumatra. Detail Malay Peninsula Malay Peninsula is a Peninsula which is located off the South Western coast of Asia and is surrounded by India to the West and Sumatra to the South Sumatra Sumatra is the sixth most populated island on the

Chatard may have escaped the 4A classification but Guerin Catholic, Hamilton Heights shifted to the south side of the bracket and the bracket is deep in general even in 3A, there is Tri-West, Batesville, Lawrenceburg, Gibson Southern, Vincennes Lincoln, Heritage Hills, Southridge, EM, and Mater Dei who are moving down from 4A.

3-A and finishing in the state finals means the south entry will have earned it.

Loser: Heritage Christian

Heritage Christian had a 7-4 record last year, and Ray is eager to continue the work with a largely returning crew this campaign. The Eagles were previously in Class 2A Sectional 38 with defending sectional champ Eastern Hancock along with Lapel, Winchester, Northeastern and Cardinal Ritter.

Heritage Christian goes to Sectional 37 (and Ritter with them). However the ride to a sectional title becomes even more difficult with Lutheran transferring up from Class A three times defending champion, and Monrovia transferring down from 3A. Covenant Chr. and Par Tudor also climb to 2A and into this field, as does CH and Scecina.

Loser: Triton Central

Triton Central, sectional champions in Class 2A for five straight years, is leaving Sectional 39 where it has experienced its most potent competition from Brownstown Central and Scecina to Sectional 38 with Eastern Hancock and Lapel emerging powers and potent challengers and Centerville, Northeastern, Shenandoah and Winchester all serious programs.

Triton Central has been one of the most solid small school programs under the direction of coach Tim Able and that is going to remain the same at least while the Tigers are in the class five-A They lost their leading passer, rusher and receiver from the 1998 season.

Loser: Park Tudor

Panthers advanced from Class A to 2A in enrollment a year after they dominated the sectional event and chalked up a 12-1 record this season. This will be a much tougher road for coach Spencer Summerville’s program as three-time Class A state champion Lutheran and Covenant Christian also transfer to Sectional 37. Also in the field: Heritage Christian, Cardinal Ritter a Scecina and Monrovia were also the four schools named.

Contact Kyle Neddenriep at the Star through phone at (317) 444-6649.

2024 high school football sectionals in CENTRAL INDIANA

Class 6A

Sectional 3: Carmel, Harrison (West Lafayette), Westfield and Zionsville

Sectional 4: Fishers, Hamilton Southeastern, Homestead, Noblesvile

Sectional 5: Avon which is situated in Ben Davis followed by Brownsburg and Pike.

Sectional 6: Lawrence Central, Lawrence North, North Central, Cathedral

Sectional 7: Schools are Perry Tech, Meridian, Southport and Warren Central.

Sectional 8: Center Grove, Columbus North, Franklin Central, Jeffersonville

Class 5A

Sectional 13: From Indiana: Anderson, Decatur Central, Plainfield, and Whiteland

Sectional 14: Columbus East, East Central, Franklin, Seymour

Class 4A

Sectional 20: Culver Academy, Frankfort, Huntington North, Lebanon, Logansport, Marion Muncie Central

Sectional 21: Beech Grove, Greenfield-Central, Mt. Vernon, New Castle, New Palestine, Pendleton Heights, Richmond and York town

Sectional 22: Brebeuf Jesuit located at Danville, Bishop Chatard, Crispus Attucks, Shortridge, Mooresville, Northview, Roncalli

Sectional 23: ,Armadale Bluffton, Batesville, Bedford North Lawrence, Daleville, Connersville, Franklin, Greenwood, Dupont, Russiaville, Jasper, Mitchell, North Vernon, Orleans, Princeton, Quercus Grove, Shelbyville, Shoals, Silver Creek

Class 3A

Sectional 29: Cascade, Crawfordsville, Guerin Catholic, Hamilton Heights, Washington, Speedway, Tri-West, West Vigo

Sectional 30: Batesville, Franklin County, Greensburg, Lawrenceburg, Purdue Poly, Rushville, South Dearborn

Sectional 31: Corydon Central along with Edgewood, Indian Creek, Madison, North Harrison , Owen Valley and Scottsburg.

Class 2A

Sectional 34: Delphi Community, Lafayette Central Catholic, Lewis Cass, North Montgomery, North Putnam Community, Seeger Feeder, Southmont, and Western Boone.

Sectional 37: Christel House, Covenant Christian, Heritage Christian, Cardinal-Ritter, Lutheran, Scecina, Monrovia, Park Tudor

Sectional 38: Centerville, Eastern Hancock, Lapel, Northeastern, Shenandoah, Triton Central, Union County, Winchester

Class A

Sectional 46: Clinton Central, Clinton Prairie, Cloverdale, Irvington Prep, Purdue Poly (Broad Ripple), Sheridan, Tindley, Tri-Central

Sectional 47: Eastern Greene, Edinburgh, Greenwood Christian, Knightstown, Milan, North Decatur, South Decatur, West Washington

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