Lawrence Central High School football coach Jayson West got an up-close view of how semistate opponent Center Grove operates, but it's been awhile.
West was on Eric Moore's staff in his first year at Center Grove in 1999, but West only stayed one season before leaving for a job in Florida. Moore has a 128-48 in 14 seasons, winning the 2008 Class 5A state title.
"The kids there now were in preschool when I was there," West said. "So that means I'm old. Center Grove always reloads. Those kids have been running the same (Wing-T) offense since kindergarten. If one (player) goes down, they just pop another one in there. It makes me proud that coach Moore is still there and does such a wonderful job. He's the best I've seen."
The Class 5A No. 1 Bears (13-0) will play at No. 6 Center Grove (12-1) on Friday. It's the first time West has played the Trojans in his five seasons as Bears coach.
"You have to play fast and physical," West said of facing the Wing-T. "Read your keys and roll. Once you think they're tricking you, they will."
West said running back Isaiah Townsend is getting closer to 100 percent after being slowed by an ankle injury.
"We're going to need him to beat Center Grove," West said.
Tough task for Scecina
Scecina coach Ott Hurrle understands how difficult his Class A No. 7 Crusaders' mission will be at No. 2 Linton Stockton (13-0) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night.
"They have the leading passer in the state, very fast receivers and a very good, hard-nosed running back who has the ability to break tackles for big gains," Hurrle said in an email.
Austin Karazsia, Linton-Stockton's 6-7 senior quarterback, has thrown for 3,191 yards and 41 touchdowns.
"Defensively, they have seven shutouts and on average have only given up five points a game," Hurrle said. "We will need to be ready for a hard fought game as soon as we get off the bus because they can score quickly and have the game in hand very early on."
The Crusaders (10-3) shut out Linton-Stockton 17-0 in the 2011 semistate.
Class 2A No. 1 Ritter has averaged 52 points in four playoff games, but doing that against a physical Evansville Mater Dei defense won't be as easy. The Raiders (13-0) play at No. 3 Mater Dei (11-2) at 8 p.m. Friday.
"Their linebackers are very physical," Ritter coach Ty Hunt said.
However, Ritter proved it could handle a physical squad by beating Class 3A No. 3 Chatard on Sept. 14. Junior quarterback Jake Purichia has completed 146-of-194 passes for 2,484 yards with 39 touchdowns and five interceptions, and has rushed for 499 yards and 13 scores.
"He's done a great job as far as a leadership role and making sure that he's on par with everything we want to get accomplished watching film," Hunt said. "He's been a dual threat quarterback with his arm and his feet."