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  • Val T.

Week 11 preview: Culver seeks to knock out South Central from sectional again

BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

Class 1A, Sectional 41 semifinal: South Central (Union Mills) (3-7) at Culver (6-4), 7:30 p.m. Eastern

(winner plays Triton-North Judson winner in final)

Culver socked shorthanded and winless North Newton 50-8 last week in its quarterfinal game, building a 36-0 halftime lead and enjoying a running clock in the second half.

Shane Shuman led Culver with 217 yards rushing and four touchdowns, and Jason Cadle and Ian Brown also had touchdown runs. Ryan Beem also returned a kickoff return for a score.

North Newton reportedly had only 15 players in uniform.

“They did a great job up front,” Culver coach Mike Zehner said of an offensive line that included Ben Lee, Steven Pugh, Robert Evans, Devin Burkett and Travis Blankenship. “Hats off to North Newton. They had some good kids, but they were just outmanned from the start based on size and stuff. I felt like they had three or four guys that could play for any team. It was just after that they dropped off pretty quick, and their quarterback (Rhett Fox) got hurt in the first half, and that really limited them. But our guys did a great job. We talked about it all week … not playing down to our competition and make sure that we execute and do our things and really focused a lot on us, and I felt like our kids came out and played hard.”

Culver gets to play at home for the third straight week this week when they host South Central. Culver beat the Satellites 32-16 back on Aug. 26 in their regular season meeting, and they also beat South Central 18-0 in last year’s sectional semifinals.

South Central running back Aaron Hogan suffered an injury in the Aug. 26 game at Culver and did not return until last week’s 20-12 win over Bowman Academy in the quarterfinals.

“He’s the guy that they’re going to try and get the ball to,” Zehner said. “He’s their Shane Shuman. Their offense is going to run through him. The (Zack) Hanchar kid is obviously pretty good at quarterback. He hurt us with his legs a little bit and his arm the first time we played them.”

The Cavaliers have won the past three postseason meetings with South Central (2013, 2019, 2021) and four of the last five meetings overall.

If Culver wins, they would play either Triton or North Judson on the road in the sectional final.


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