South Adams is on a mission. The No. 1 football team in Class A got upset in the regional last season and has been waiting all year for another opportunity at a deep tournament run.
On Thursday, the Starfires (7-0) learned that they will open their chase for the first state title with a matchup against Union City (3-3). Waiting in the sectional semifinals if South Adams wins that matchup is No. 10 Monroe Central, which pushed the Starfires in Week 5.
“We thought going into (the sectional pairings release) that Monroe Central is going to be the team for us to beat,” South Adams coach Grant Moser said. “If we can advance all the way to the end, it would hopefully be at home in the championship, but (our sectional) is a tough road, and we have to beat Union City so we can't count our eggs before they hatch.”
The IHSAA released pairings for all six classes of football Thursday.
Summit City fans will want to keep an eye on Sectional 3 in Class 6A, which features a first-round matchup between No. 9 Homestead (6-1) and Snider (4-3), as well as No. 12 Carroll (5-2) taking on Warsaw (6-1), which hasn't lost since August. The winners will advance to meet for the sectional crown.
Class 5A No. 2 Bishop Dwenger (6-1), which has lost only a triple overtime thriller against Homestead, will open its quest for a fourth straight sectional championship with a game against Anderson (1-6). On the other side of the same bracket, North Side (3-4) and Northrop (3-4) will meet for the second time in three weeks with a trip to the title game on the line.
Class 4A No. 7 Leo (6-1), which has lost only to No. 2 Mooresville, will meet 10th-ranked Northridge (5-1) in the first round of a loaded sectional that also includes Columbia City vs. East Noble and Angola vs, DeKalb matchups.
“(Northridge) is a tough team right off the bat,” Leo coach Jared Sauder said. “It's always a well-coached team, and they play in a tough conference, so we have our work cut out for us.”
The Lions are looking for just the fourth sectional crown and the first since 2011. East Noble (4-3) was state runner-up in 2019 and has already beaten Columbia City (6-1) this season. A rematch of last season's hotly contested East Noble-Leo sectional title matchup is possible.
In Class 3A, No. 8 Norwell (6-1) will open against Heritage, a team it beat 35-7 in Week 2. No. 9 Concordia (4-3) will start against Peru (5-2). Norwell and Concordia could meet in the title game if they win two games apiece.
“We have some issues to work out before we can even think about five games down the road,” Concordia coach Tim Mannigel said when asked about potentially facing Norwell in the final. “We are more concerned with getting better each day and each game. I also know there are some pretty good records in the sectional that probably would have something to say about Norwell and Concordia being considered the best teams.”
Class 2A No. 5 Eastside (6-1), which lost to 5A Concord in overtime, opens with a difficult matchup against Bluffton (6-1), but wouldn't have to face Bishop Luers (2-5) until the sectional title game. The Knights open against Whitko (4-3).
(All games 7 p.m.)
Concordia at Carroll
Bishop Luers at South Side
North Side at Northrop
Snider at Bishop Dwenger
Homestead at Wayne
Bellmont at DeKalb
East Noble at New Haven
Leo at Columbia City
Norwell at Huntington N.
Prairie Heights at Bluffton
Woodlan at South Adams
Angola at Garrett
Churubusco at West Noble
Eastside at Central Noble
Northfield at Whitko
Warsaw at NorthWood
Wawasee at Mishawaka