High-SchoolIndiana: Jonathan Burt

Well, it's finally here — the Game of the Year for Indiana football (regular season edition). No. 1 Warren Central vs. No. 2 Carmel. Both teams are 6-0, both have state title aspirations, and both would like to make a statement tonight.

The Game:
No. 2 Carmel vs. No. 1 Warren Central
Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium

The Players:
Carmel — The Greyhounds rely on an explosive ground game to blow opponents away. Once the Carmel offensive line starts firing downhill, a stable of stud runners like RB Jalen Duncan, RB Chris Perkins and QB Brandon Denning are able to make huge plays.

Warren Central — If there's one defense in the state that could slow down the Carmel O-Line, it's Warren Central. Senior DT Sheldon Day is the best player in the state, and he's got talented teammates like DE Josh Posley and DE Jonathan Burt focused on stopping the run.

The Stakes:
Uh, this is kind of self-explanatory. It's No. 1 vs. No. 2, what more do you want? One of these teams will most likely be playing for the 5A state title at the end of the year.

The Prediction:
Both defenses are dominant, but I think in the end, Warren Central's offense is a little more well-rounded. The Warriors' strength is running it with Deionte Buckley and Shaquille Breeding, but they can also throw the ball with QB Kyle Faunce and WR Kevin Davis. I don't think Carmel will be able to pick up as many third-down conversions tonight, allowing Warren Central to win time of possession and eventually the game.

Other notable games:

No. 3 Ben Davis at No. 6 Center Grove
Friday, 7 p.m.
If it weren't for Carmel-Warren Central, this game would be getting all the hype this week. As it stands, I think Ben Davis makes three or four big plays on offense and wins this one in the second half. BEN DAVIS 24, CENTER GROVE 18

Lawrence Central at Southport
Friday, 7 p.m.
Both teams are on the outside of the Indiana POWERADE Top 10 rankings, but the winner could make a case for being bumped up. Something tells me Southport comes up big at home. SOUTHPORT 31, LAWRENCE CENTRAL 23

No. 10 Brownsburg at Harrison
Friday, 7 p.m.
Don't sleep on Brownsburg — a win tonight puts them at 6-1 with Zionsville and Fishers left to close out the season. BROWNSBURG 35, HARRISON 20
With the biggest game of the regular season on tap for Friday night, I figured I'd roll out an all-Warren Central-Carmel version of our weekly football Stock Watch. Currently No. 1 and No. 2 in our Indiana POWERADE rankings, both teams are 6-0, both sport relentless defenses, and both are loaded with playmakers on offense.


UP — Deionte Buckley, Warren Central RB
The Warriors' running game didn't lose a beat when Buckley went out with a concussion two weeks ago, but they sure are glad to have him back. The senior returned last week against Terre Haute North and ran for 85 yards and three touchdowns, giving him 606 yards and 11 TDs on the season. With Buckley running strong, Warren Central's offense should be operating at peak efficiency against Carmel.

DOWN —Jonathan Burt and Josh Posley, Warren Central DEs
Warren Central has one of the most talented defensive lines in the country, led by senior DT Sheldon Day (six sacks). But for some reason, Posley and Burt haven't been filling up the stat sheet this season. Burt and Posley have combined for just three sacks, and with Day drawing so much attention, you'd think the two Cincinnati recruits could create more pressure off the edges. They have been solid against the run, however, which may end up being more important against Carmel on Friday.

UP — Langston Newton, Carmel DE
Coming into the season, Warren Central's defense received a lot of hype. And while the Warriors have been spectacular on D, Carmel may be even better. The Greyhounds have already shut out three opponents, including the last two weeks. Newton is a big part of that, as the 6-foot-4 defensive end has been virtually unmovable at the line of scrimmage. Look for Warren Central to run to the side opposite Newton.

DOWN — Chris Perkins, Carmel RB
Perkins burst onto the scene in Week 1, going over 100 yards in his first game as a varsity player. But since then, the Greyhounds' running game has leaned more on senior RB Jalen Duncan and senior QB Brandon Denning. Perkins is a good long-term option, but in such a huge game, expect Carmel to keep going with what's been working — the veterans.
In the second Indiana game to be televised as part of the ESPN High School Football Kickoff, Warren Central will host Cathedral tomorrow at 4 p.m. on ESPNU. While this matchup lost some of its luster when Cathedral dropped its season opener to Ben Davis, it still pits two of the state's most talented teams against each other. Warren Central looked especially dominant in Week 1, and the Warriors' defense looks downright dominant. Some analysts (me, I guess) have suggested that the Warren Central defensive line of seniors Sheldon Day, Darnell Smith, Jonathan Burt and Josh Posley might be the best in the nation, and ESPN Recruiting expert Jared Shanker goes in-depth with the foursome in this story.
The Warriors' defense is led by Smith and the rest of "The Four Horsemen," the nickname defensive coordinator Steve Tutsie gave the defensive line. All four D-line starters are committed to play at a Football Bowl Subdivision school on scholarship next fall.

For the complete story, click here.

For a closer look at both teams, click here.