INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The IHSAA boys state football championships are just 15 days away, but one of the fiercest matchups of the postseason is set for Friday night.
The regional championship game between Warren Central High School (6-5, 3-2 away) and defending Class 6A champs Center Grove High School (9-2, 4-1 at home) is WISH-TV’s high school football “Game of the Week.” Football fans can see every play starting at 7 p.m. on WISH-TV’s sister station, MyINDY-TV 23.
Greg Rakestraw, vice president of the ISC Sports Network, stopped by Daybreak on Thursday to preview the game.
“Center Grove is back in the regional, and Center Grove and Warren Central seem to play each other every year in the postseason. This is not exactly a surprise,” Rakestraw said.
The Center Grove Trojans are on a mission to make their fourth consecutive state championship game, but they need a couple of wins to get punch their ticket to Lucas Oil Stadium.
Rakestraw says the current Center Grove program is very different from the one that hoisted the championship trophy in 2021.
“This program graduated some generationally good players, guys like Tayven Jackson, who is now at the University of Tennessee,” Rakestraw explained. “This group doesn’t have that level of talent, but what this group has is three consecutive years of making the state championship game. It’s a group that, frankly, doesn’t know how to lose.”
Center Grove and Warren Central met in week one, with the Trojans topping the Warriors by a score of 17-8, but Rakestraw says fans shouldn’t expect to see the same thing Friday night.
“These two are so different from what they were 12 weeks ago. I’m not sure if that gives us an indication as to what might happen in Friday night’s game.”
The showdown between Center Grove and Warren Central is one of 24 regional championship games set for Friday, and Rakestraw expects those other matchups to be just as fierce.
“For the other big games locally in 6A: Cathedral and Brownsburg. It’s an early-season rematch for these guys as well and whoever wins this game might just be the favorite in terms of the state championship. And Hamilton Southeastern and Westfield. This is a rematch as well and I expect that one to be close. One game that certainly deserves a mention is Roncalli and New Palestine,” Rakestraw said.
For fans who want to root for more of an underdog, Rakestraw suggests taking a look at some of the smaller schools.
“Monrovia went 2-7 during the regular season and won their sectional last week by beating Danville. They are playing Owen Valley, who is 12-0 — they’re not an underdog, but four years ago, they were 0-10. If you’re looking for the underdog, the unheralded story, go Class 3A.”
Visit the IHSAA website to learn more and check out the brackets for Friday night’s regional championships.
You can catch every play of our matchup between Warren Central and Center Grove live Friday starting at 7 p.m. on MyINDY-TV 23. Be sure to switch to WISH-TV after the game for complete highlights on The Zone with sports director Anthony Calhoun and his team.