Triton Central’s high-powered offense will be tested by Indianapolis Scecina’s ultra-stingy defense Friday in a battle of two of Class 2A’s top programs.
Class 2A, No. 6 Triton Central (5-1, 3-1 Indiana Crossroads Conference) is averaging 42 points per game. The Tigers scored 51 points in the first half last week against Indianapolis Ritter.
Class 2A, No. 5 Scecina (5-1, 3-1 ICC) already has two shutouts this season and allowed just 34 points in the first five weeks. Last week, the Crusaders’ defense held Class A, No. 1 Lutheran in check in a 28-19 loss – their first of the season. The Saints are averaging 49 ppg through the first six weeks of the season.
In contrast, Lutheran scored 54 points in week three’s 54-41 win in Fairland.
“They are an outstanding defensive team … they have been the last two or three years,” said Triton Central head coach Tim Able.
Head coach Ott Hurrle morphs his defense to face the challenge ahead. The Crusaders have played with three down linemen at times and with a more traditional four-man front.
“It depends on what we get as to how we attack them,” said Able. “They have played a different defense that last two weeks.”
That uncertainty will not leave Able unprepared. The Tigers have failed to score a point in three of the last five meetings with Scecina so flipping the script to something new is not necessary believes Able.
Offensively, Scecina is more successful running the ball than throwing it around the field.
Senior running back Brandon Fitts-Ramsey has nearly twice as many attempts as junior quarterback David Mendez and 549 yards and eight touchdowns.
“We have to close the running lanes on (Fitts-Ramsey),” said Able. “He is a very explosive runner.”
Mendez is the Crusaders’ second-leading rusher at 187 yards and four TDs. When he drops back to pass, Mendez has completed 48% of his attempts for 640 yards and seven TDs.
“(Mendez) has a good arm,” said Able. “He is athletic and elusive too. We have got to contain him in the pocket.”
Senior Mason Beriault, an All-ICC performer in 2021, leads the team with 14 catches for 410 yards and four TDs.
Triton Central counters with its own dynamic trio of junior quarterback Jace Stuckey, junior running back Ray Crawford and senior receiver Brad Schultz.
With 315 yards passing and three TDs in last week’s win over Ritter, Stuckey has surpassed 3,000 career passing yards, which has him fifth all-time in the Triton Central program.
Stuckey needs 343 more yards to pass Keith Ducker (3,367 yards) for fourth on the list.
Crawford passed Tedd Stokes for No. 3 on TC’s career rushing yards record board against Ritter. In two-and-a-half varsity seasons, Crawford has racked up 3,172 yards and 32 total touchdowns.
Schultz, who is averaging nearly 141 yards receiving per game this season, needs just 83 yards Friday to become Triton Central’s career leader in receiving yards.
Dakota Nelson (2009-2012) holds the record at 1,717 yards on 118 receptions. Schultz currently has 1,635 yards on just 85 catches.
Other notable players to watch Friday include Scecina senior Tamir Woods, who has 53 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss and eight quarterback sacks. Woods was named All-ICC in 2021.
Able also expects to see Beriault, who leads Scecina with 58 total tackles, to shadow Schultz from his strong safety position.
With the injury to Triton Central senior receiver Luke Faust, junior Mason Compton has filled the void to become a reliable No. 2 target for Stuckey. Compton has 11 receptions for 226 yards and two TDs. He also has 25 total tackles on defense and three interceptions.
The winner of Friday’s game will take over sole possession of second place in the ICC standings behind Lutheran (6-0, 5-0 ICC).
Triton Central and Scecina could meet again in the postseason after sectional realignment placed both teams in Sectional 39 along with Class 2A, No. 13 Brownstown Central (4-2).
Class 2A, No. 6 Triton Central vs. Class 2A, No. 5 Indianapolis Scecina
Game time: 7 p.m. at Manual High School, 2405 Madison Avenue in Indianapolis. Tickets will be $6 at the gate – cash only.
Broadcast time: 6 p.m. pregame show live from Manual High School with Johnny McCrory and Mark Drake on GIANT fm (96.5 fm, 106.3 fm, 1520 am) or on the GIANT fm app.
Head coaches: Tim Able, 85-33 in 10th year at Triton Central; 210-131 in 29th year overall; Ott Hurrle, 219-145 in 31st year at Scecina, 220-154 in 33rd year overall.
2021 record: Triton Central 8-5; Scecina 10-4.
Sagarin ratings: Triton Central, 74.13, 48th overall, 3rd in Class 2A; Scecina, 75.62, 45th overall, 2nd in Class 2A.
Point spread: Scecina is a 1.5-point favorite.
Last year: Scecina shut out Triton Central, 27-0, at Mendenhall Field in Fairland.
Last 10 meetings: Scecina has won seven of the last 10 meetings since 2014, including six straight from 2016 through 2019.
Around the ICC Friday: Indianapolis Ritter (1-4, 0-4) at Beech Grove (3-3, 2-3); Monrovia (2-4, 1-3) at Class A, No. 1 Indianapolis Lutheran (6-0, 5-0); Speedway (4-2, 2-2) at Cascade (3-3, 1-3).
Sectional 39 lookahead: Class 2A, No. 13 Brownstown Central (4-2); Indianapolis Scecina (5-1); Triton Central (5-1); Switzerland County (3-3); Christel House Manual (3-3); Clarksville (2-4); Brown County (0-6); Eastern (Pekin) (1-5).
Note: The IHSAA Football State Tournament Pairings Show is Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. on IHSAAtv.org.