No. 2 Carmel and No. 3 Ben Davis have a lot in common. Both feature explosive offenses that lean toward favoring the run, both teams have athletic defenses that thrive on the big play, and both teams are 7-1 (with each of the losses coming at the hands of No. 1 Warren Central, by a combined eight points). So it stands to reason that tonight's game should be one of the highlights of the 2011 season.
No. 2 Carmel at No. 3 Ben Davis
Friday, 7 p.m.
Carmel —The Greyhounds' offense is centered around the running of senior Jalen Duncan. The 200-pound bruiser wears down defenses, and then either he or quarterback Brandon Denning break off long runs. Carmel's option game is operating at peak efficiency right now, and it will be up to the Ben Davis defensive front to play a strong, disciplined game, or else Duncan will go wild.
Ben Davis —Going against one of the best defenses in the country, Ben Davis may have to throw the ball more than the gameplan usually calls for. It's going to fall on senior QB Matt Brock to make smart decisions and not make the killer mistakes that the Carmel defense thrives on. Brock has been very effective this season, showing surprising accuracy as well as an ability to make plays on the run. In last week's easy win over Lawrence Central, Brock went 13-for-14 for 170 yards and three TDs.
Both teams have state championship hopes, so this game should be a good measuring stick. The winner will be the clear-cut No. 2 favorite heading into sectional play next week, and both teams would love to get another crack at Warren Central in the state tournament.
Ben Davis has been rolling lately and has a confident look, but I think Carmel's defense makes the difference in this one. Look for the Greyhounds to turn at least one turnover into a back-breaking touchdown, whether the D scores or sets up the offense for an easy TD.
CARMEL 28, BEN DAVIS 15
For the rest of my picks, check out yesterday's post by clicking here.