Fishers (9-3) vs. Snider (12-0): This is a rematch of the 2010 regional in which the Tigers beat the Panthers 47-34 in another road trip to Fort Wayne. The sequel will take place at Wayne Stadium because of the field conditions at Spuller. Fishers, unranked in 5A, has yet to play a ranked opponent in the postseason with wins over Anderson, Hamilton Southeastern (honorable mention votes) and McCutcheon. Snider has beaten No. 9 Homestead, Wayne and honorable mention North Side. The two teams are very similar numbers-wise with Snider scoring 36 points and giving up 15, while Fishers scores 32 and surrenders 15.
Carroll (10-2) at Merrillville (10-2): The surprising Chargers hit the road again, playing only one home contest in four postseason games. But Carroll has fared pretty well, getting wins at LaPorte and Penn away from home. The Chargers have shown they can win a defensive game (14-13 over Penn) and an offensive shootout (44-35 over South Bend Adams) in the postseason. It could be more of the latter as the pass-happy Pirates average 39 points, but give up 25.
Concord (10-2) vs. Bishop Dwenger (6-6): The Saints have been here before. Before last season’s sectional finals loss to Leo, Dwenger had been to five straight regionals and won them all. With a 3-6 regular season record, this regional run is easily the most surprising of them all. The Saints’ path to the regional have come against three sectional opponents – Jay County (3-7), Columbia City (5-6) and Norwell (2-10) – that finished the season under .500. Concord opened with five straight wins and after losing two straight, has again won five in a row. These two programs have met recently with the Minutement winning 48-21 in a 2006 semistate game.
Heritage (10-2) at Mishawaka Marian (9-3): After a big 40-29 win over No. 1 and previously unbeaten Jimtown last week, the biggest worry for the Patriots might be an emotional letdown. Maybe a quest for the school’s first regional championship will reenergize the No. 9 Patriots against the honorable mention Knights. The win came for Heritage against a Jimtown defense that had given up 66 points all season before the sectional finals. It was the most points scored on the Jimmies in a game since 1980, and Mishawaka Marian surrenders 22 points per game. The Knights beat South Bend St. Joseph 21-7 and advanced to the regional by avenging a regular season loss to the Indians (35-21).
Bishop Luers (8-4) at Tipton (11-1): This is the third straight year the three-time defending state champion Knights have taken a postseason road trip to Tipton, having won 44-23 last year and 55-14 in 2010. No. 5 Luers has won 21 straight postseason games. Its last postseason loss was to Norwerll, 34-0 in a 2006 3A playoff game. The Knights’ defense has been on top of their game through three sectional games, giving up a total of 15 points, including last week’s 21-0 shutout of Churubusco. Fourth-ranked Tipton averages 40 points and has only dipped below 20 twice. The Blue Devils have already lost to a three-time defending state champion this year, falling 24-13 to Lafayette Central Catholic, which has won three Class A titles in a row.
– Greg Jones,
High school sports editor