High-SchoolIndiana: Kyle Faunce

Warren Central-Carmel: IHSAA-mageddon

November, 4, 2011
If it seems like we were here just a month ago, you're downright crazy. It was actually 35 days ago that the top two teams in the state squared off, with Warren Central pulling out a 22-20 victory on a last-second field goal. Now the two juggernauts are back in the sectional finals, and the winner of this game is most definitely the favorite to win the Class 5A state crown.

The Game:
No. 1 Warren Central (10-0) at No. 2 Carmel (9-1)
Friday, 7 p.m.

The Players:
Warren Central — The Warriors can play any type of game. The offensive line is among the best in the state, so if Warren Central wants to grind it out, they can hand the ball to senior RB Deionte Buckley (1,439 yards, 26 TDs) or junior RB Shaquille Breeding (752 yards, nine TDs). If they want to throw it, senior QB Kyle Faunce has been steady all season (69.1 percent, 19 TDs, five INTs) and senior WR Kevin Davis is a big play waiting to happen (711 yards, 10 TDs). Put it all together and you see why Warren Central is averaging 44.7 points per game. On defense, it all starts up front with senior DT Sheldon Day. The Notre Dame recruit has nine sacks on the season, and he's flanked by talent on both sides. Behind him, junior LB Tim Kimbrough has made 92 tackles and recorded 6.5 sacks (second-most on the team).

Carmel — If there's one team that can match Warren Central's nasty defense, it's the Greyhounds. Carmel has allowed just 10.5 points per game this year, including four shutouts. The D-Line is led by senior Langston Newton, a Kentucky recruit, who can blow up running plays and get after the quarterback. Senior DE Shawn Heffern is an Indiana commit who can cause problems as well. On offense, Carmel isn't quite as multiple as Warren Central. The passing game isn't quite as diversified, but it's still effective. Senior QB Brandon Denning has had a great season, but he's more of a threat to hold onto the ball and make plays with his legs. The Greyhounds also have one of the best running backs in the country in senior Jalen Duncan.

The Stakes:
The winner of this game will have eliminated its biggest competition for the Class 5A state championship. Bring this one home and follow the path to the Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Prediction:
Coming into the season, I had Warren Central pegged as the best defense in the state. But I was wrong — Carmel's D has proven to be the best over the course of the season. In the Week 7 matchup between these teams, Carmel held Warren Central to 111 yards passing and picked off a pass, and I don't think that was a fluke. With no big plays through the air, this game will turn into another low-scoring, grind-it-out battle of wills. I've been riding the Jalen Duncan train all season, and I'm not about to jump off now. He ran for 151 and two touchdowns in the first meeting, and I think he's going to do even bigger things tonight. Duncan finds the end zone twice and the Carmel defense makes it hold up with their best performance of the season.

To see all the picks from the rest of Class 5A, click here.

Think I got it wrong? Tell me about it on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
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

Week 7 fantasy: Start Hunt, Buckley

September, 29, 2011
As part of our weekly football coverage, I offer up my hypothetical fantasy football picks every Thursday. Note: This league is completely made up. If you are in a high school fantasy football league, please seek professional help.


RB — Deionte Buckley, Warren Central
As detailed in yesterday’s Stock Watch, Buckley is back and running hard again, and Warren Central is going to lean on him hard against Carmel on Friday. I expect Buckley to be the focal point of the Warriors’ attack, and he should get most of the red zone touches. There won’t be a bigger game in the regular season, and great players perform in big situations.
Projection: 24 carries, 160 yards, 2 TDs

QB — Matt Hunt, Heritage Christian
Heritage Christian has been an up-and-down team so far this season, but Hunt’s last two games have been his best of the season. In Week 5, he passed for 234 yards and four touchdowns, and last week he went for 251 yards and four more TDs. And the junior threw zero picks during that stretch, showing that his grasp of the offense is improving. Lafayette Central Catholic has a solid defense, but I think Hunt can continue to put up similar numbers.
Projection: 19 of 29, 261 yards, 3 TDs

RB — Cory Strunk, Milan
In Class 1A, Strunk is quietly having a monster season for Milan. The senior gets about two-thirds of the Indians’ carries, and he’s averaging 6.6 yards a pop. His lowest rushing game this season was 117 in Week 2, and he’s coming off a 262-yard, five-touchdown performance last week against Indian Creek. Strunk is a beast, plain and simple.
Projection: 30 carries, 187 yards, 4 TDs


QB — Kyle Faunce, Warren Central
WR — Kevin Davis, Warren Central
This combo has been money for most of the season, but I think the Warriors will stick with the run (see Buckley, above) this week and I believe Carmel’s defense will limit the big pass plays that Faunce and Davis feast on against lesser opponents. They could still connect on a long TD, but I wouldn’t bet my fantasy matchup on it.

* Projections based on 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR format; No PPR
As part of our weekly football coverage here, I'm going to offer up my hypothetical fantasy football picks every Thursday. Note: This league is completely made up. If you are in a high school fantasy football league, please seek professional help.


RB — Ryan Kleinschmidt, Bishop Chatard, Sr.
Anyone who bought into the talk of Chatard being more of a passing team this year can rest easy — Kleinschmidt came out in Week 1 and carried 27 times for 162 yards and three TDs. Doesn't get much better than that, which is why we love Kleinschmidt. His consistency makes him one of the safest plays every week. Look for him to approach 200 yards on Friday against Broad Ripple.
Projection: 25 carries, 180 yards, 2 TDs

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