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  • Val T.

Football draw: Rochester to play LaVille for first time since 1982

Valley, Caston, Winamac to start on road; Pioneer, Culver to start at home


Sports Editor, RTC

The last time the Rochester football team played LaVille, the No. 1 song on the Billboard charts was “Jack and Diane” by John Mellencamp.

In the lyrics, “Jack” is going to be a football star.

That was 1982, and two generations later, the Zebras hope they will sing a little ditty about becoming football stars if they can beat Lancers when they meet in a Class 2A, Sectional 34 quarterfinal on Oct. 22 at Barnhart Field when they break the pause in their rivalry.

That was among the revelations of the IHSAA football draw Sunday.

In addition, Class 3A, No. 7 Tippecanoe Valley; Class 1A, No. 4 Winamac; and Caston found out that they would open postseason play on the road.

Meanwhile, streaking Pioneer and Culver found they would be opening at home.

For area teams, sectionals will be held statewide over three successive Friday nights – Oct. 22, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5. Regionals will be held Nov. 12. Semistates will be held Nov. 19. The state championship games are Nov. 26-27 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Tickets for all sectional games statewide are $6.

Rochester, Pioneer

Rochester will open postseason play at home for the seventh straight year when they host LaVille.

Coached by Will Hostrawser, LaVille is 5-2 and has already clinched its eighth consecutive winning season. However, LaVille is coming off a 10-9 overtime loss to North Judson on Friday.

Rochester (4-2) defeated North Miami 56-0 on Friday and is averaging 32 points per game. Meanwhile, the LaVille defense allows only nine points per game.

LaVille beat Rochester 23-0 on Oct. 8, 1982, at Barnhart Field in their most recent meeting. Rochester last beat LaVille on Oct. 3, 1980.

The LaVille-Rochester winner will meet the Bremen-Manchester winner in the semifinals. Bremen beat Manchester 21-14 in the 2019 sectional in their most recent meeting.

In the other half of the bracket, Pioneer will play Wabash for the first time ever when the Apaches travel to the Pit on Oct. 22.

Wabash is 1-6 and coming off a 54-0 loss to Valley Friday. Meanwhile, the Panthers extended their winning streak to six with a 28-6 win over Culver Friday. The game figures to be a matchup between a Pioneer defense that has allowed fewer than 20 points during their winning streak against a Wabash passing attack led by quarterback Izaak Wright and receivers Antonio Grant, Jared Brooks and Trevor Daughtry.

Pioneer has not lost a postseason game to a team that finished the season with a losing record since they lost to Frontier in the 1994 sectional. Frontier went 4-7 in 1994.

The Wabash-Pioneer winner will meet the Lewis Cass-Delphi winner in the semifinals. Pioneer knocked Delphi out of last year’s sectional. The Pioneer-Lewis Cass game scheduled for Aug. 20 was canceled due to COVID concerns at Lewis Cass.

Tippecanoe Valley

Valley will travel to Garrett for a Class 3A, Sectional 26 quarterfinal. It will mark the first meeting between the teams since the Railroaders won 27-14 at Valley in the 2011 sectional quarterfinal.

Garrett is 4-4 and coming off a 20-7 win over Angola Friday. Three of Garrett’s wins have come against Class 4A opponents, including Angola.

Valley is 8-0 after routing Wabash, and they have outscored their opponents 171-6 in their last three games. Valley is seeking its first undefeated regular season since 1987 when they host Southwood Friday.

The Valley-Garrett winner will meet either Mishawaka Marian or South Bend Washington in the semifinals. Mishawaka Marian is 5-1 after an 0-2 start, and they are the six-time defending sectional champions. (They have also won four regionals during their six-year run.)

A potential Mishawaka Marian-Valley game would be played at Valley. Mishawaka marian beat Valley 41-24 at Smith-Bibler Memorial Field, Home of Death Valley Football in the 2020 sectional.

In the other half of the draw, Lakeland will travel to John Glenn and West Noble will travel to Jimtown. At 6-2, Jimtown is the only one of the four teams in that group that has a winning record.

Caston, Culver, Winamac

Winamac’s quest for back-to-back sectional titles will begin with a familiar foe when they travel to face county rival West Central in a Class 1A, Sectional 41 quarterfinal.

The undefeated Warriors (6-0) beat West Central 35-0 on Oct. 1. West Central is coming off a 22-14 win over Frontier Friday, but they have lost 14 of their last 17 games overall and their last 12 games to Winamac.

The Winamac-West Central winner will play the Lake Station-North Judson winner in the semifinals. No. 11 North Judson is undefeated in Hoosier North play while Lake Station (2-4) has not had a winning season since 1998.

If Winamac were to play North Judson on Oct. 29, it would be at home.

In the other half of the bracket, Caston will visit South Central (Union Mills), and South Newton will head to Culver.

Caston and South Central will be meeting for the first time since 2006. Caston lost to undefeated Winamac Friday. South Central is 3-3 after losing scheduled games against Culver Sept. 3 and Boone Grove Sept. 10 due to COVID-related reasons.

Meanwhile, South Newton and Culver will meet for the first time since South Newton claimed a 27-21 win at Culver in the 2011 sectional final.

The Rebels are experiencing a football revival, breaking a 39-game losing streak with a 39-14 win over West Central on Aug. 27 and winning three more times since then.

Culver is 2-4 after their loss to Pioneer Friday. This is the fifth time in the last seven years the Cavaliers have opened at home.

A potential matchup between Culver and Caston would occur at Caston on Oct. 29.

Culver is seeking its first sectional title since 2009.

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