Valley draws top-ranked Chatard; Caston gets No. 9 North White; Pioneer to face Judson 2 weeks in a row; Culver to head to South Central
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The Rochester football team received a bye in the state tournament draw. Meanwhile, Tippecanoe Valley, Caston, Pioneer, Culver and Winamac will all start on the road.
That’s according to the IHSAA draw, which was revealed Sunday night.
Sectionals will be held on three consecutive Friday nights – Oct. 20, Oct. 27 and Nov. 3. Regionals will be Nov. 10, semistates are Nov. 17, and the IHSAA state finals are Nov. 24-25 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Tickets for sectional games are $7 for all three weeks.
Here is a breakdown of how the draw affects area teams.
Rochester received the bye in Class 2A, Sectional 34, which has a seven-team field. That means that Rochester will have the night off on Oct. 20.
However, per IHSAA rules, it also means that the Zebras will be on the road for their sectional semifinal game on Oct. 27 against the winner of the Winamac-Lafayette Central Catholic game.
The Knights are the four-time defending sectional champions and will host Winamac in a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal, which LCC won 52-8. LCC also defeated Winamac in the 2012 and 2020 regionals, both of which were held at Winamac.
Winamac has won three straight games since an 0-5 start. They will finish their regular season at home against Class 1A, No. 10 Triton Friday.
Rochester lost to LCC 24-8 in the 2022 sectional final. That marked Rochester’s first sectional final appearance since 2000, which also marks Rochester’s most recent sectional title.
LCC has not lost a sectional game since a 70-7 loss to Pioneer in 2018.
LCC was ranked No. 13 and Rochester No. 17 in the most recent Associated Press poll released last week. They are the only teams in the sectional to receive poll recognition.
In the other half of the draw, Benton Central will travel to Seeger, and Delphi will head to Lewis Cass.
In the midst of perhaps their most impressive regular season in over 40 years, No. 5 Valley will travel to top-ranked and fellow unbeaten Indianapolis Chatard in a Class 3A, Sectional 28 quarterfinal on Oct. 20.
While Valley has two wins over higher class teams, Indianapolis Chatard has six, including three wins over Class 6A teams. By contrast, Valley has never even faced a Class 6A team since football was expanded to six classes.in 2013.
Indianapolis Chatard could be Indiana’s greatest high school football power, having won 16 state titles since 1983. They have won three state titles in the last four years.
Valley is seeking their first sectional final appearance since 1993 and their first sectional title since 1992.
The Valley-Indianapolis Chatard winner will face the Guerin Catholic-Peru winner in the semifinals. Guerin Catholic is No. 3, and Peru is No. 9. Undefeated Peru is seeking its first sectional title since 1982.
In the other half of the draw, Maconaquah will host Northwestern and Oak Hill will host Hamilton Heights. No. 4 Hamilton Heights is one of five ranked teams in the sectional and one of four undefeated teams.
No. 8 North White is 8-0, but their closest game during their season-long winning streak was a 14-6 win over Caston on Sept. 22. Those teams will meet again at North White in a Class 1A, Sectional 43 quarterfinal on Oct. 20.
Caston is 1-7, but only one of their seven losses came to a team with a losing record.
Caston beat North White 35-20 in the 2009 sectional quarterfinals in their most recent postseason meeting.
Caston is 1-9 in their last 10 postseason games dating back to 2014. Caston has never won a sectional football title.
The Caston-North White winner will face the Carroll (Flora)-Tri-County winner in the semifinals. No. 3 Carroll (Flora) is undefeated and a two-time defending sectional champion.
In the other half of the draw, West Central will travel to Taylor, and Tri-Central will head to Frontier.
The sequel between Pioneer and North Judson will occur just one week after the original.
The teams will meet at Pioneer this Friday in the regular season finale and again at North Judson on Oct. 20 in the Class 1A, Sectional 41 quarterfinals.
North Judson is the two-time defending regional champion, but they have mustered just a 4-4 record this season. Pioneer, meanwhile, has improved from two wins last year to five wins so far this year.
Pioneer is 2-0 all-time against North Judson in postseason games, beating the Blue Jays in the 2015 and 2016 sectional finals.
The winner of the Pioneer-North Judson sectional game could well be favored in the semifinals against the Bowman Academy-South Newton winner.
Bowman Academy is 1-4 and has been shut out three times in five games. Their only win is against non-IHSAA Phalen Academy. South Newton is 3-5 but has allowed 50 or more points four times in eight games.
In the other half of the draw, No. 10 Triton will travel to winless North Newton, and the winner will face the Culver-South Central (Union Mills) winner.
Culver is 0-8 with one of their losses being a 44-22 defeat at South Central on Aug. 25. However, Culver romped over South Central 61-0 in last year’s sectional semifinals, and they also knocked off South Central in the 2013, 2019 and 2021 sectionals.
South Central’s only sectional title in school history came in 2010. They defeated Culver 20-7 in the sectional final that year.
Triton is the only team in their half of the draw with a winning record.
Culver has not won a sectional title since 2009.