High School Football Game of the Week Preview – Castle vs Mater Dei
After a shaky 1-2 start, the Castle Knights put together two big wins over the last two weeks, and look to continue their winning ways over a tough Mater Dei team who has yet to taste defeat in the 2014 season.
Castle's two losses came against two very good teams in Terre Haute North, and the undefeated Reitz Panthers. In those games, the Knights relied heavily on the running attack of senior Christian Peach to give sophomore quarterback Dayne Keller time to get more comfortable in his role as the leader of the Knights offense.
Based on the stats from the their last two games against Bosse and Central, Keller is more than comfortable in that role, having thrown for 22 completions on 31 attempts for 330 yards and seven, that's right, seven touchdowns against Bosse two weeks ago, then following that performance with 15 completions on 27 attempts for 173 yards and one touchdown against Central last week.
But Keller isn't the only part of this team that's hitting its stride. The defense has come on strong for the Knights over the past couple of weeks, completely shutting out the Bulldogs in week four, and holding a talented Central offense to only seven points in week five.
Linebackers Mitchell Thornbury and Jashawn Pickett each contributed with interception returns for touchdowns against the Bears, while the remainder of the defense was able to force turnovers on Central's first three possessions.
They'll need to be on top of their game Friday night as they make the trek to Evansville's west side to face the undefeated Mater Dei Wildcats who took care of the North Huskies on their turf last Friday 28-10.
As has been the case through the first few weeks of the season, Mater Dei has uncharacteristically been leaning on more of a running attack this season as questions still remain at the quarterback position with Rob Bow and Kurtis Wilderman splitting duties. Anyone that has followed Wildcat football would have a hard time telling you the last time Mater Dei was unsure of the quarterback position going into week six.
Regardless, their 5-0 record tells you that despite the uncertainty at the QB position, the Wildcats are finding ways to win. And they're winning convincingly. Mater Dei has beaten their opponents by multiple scores, the closest being a 14 point victory over Memorial in week two.
Much of that also has to do with stout defense that features big number 82, Adrian Butler, coming off the end of the defensive line to disrupt plays in the backfield. The 6'3", 235 pound senior has caused match up problems all season long for opposing offenses with his combination of size, strength, and quickness.
Senior linebacker, Logan McCann has also made a name for himself as a player opposing offenses have to account for on the field at all times. Since last season, he's shown an impressive ability to find the ball and stop plays quickly with speed and solid tackling.
The Knights' balanced offense will provide Mater Dei's defense their toughest test to date. Stop Christian Peach, and Dane Keller can beat you with his arm. Shut down the pass, and Peach can eat you alive on the ground. The Wildcats will need to remain disciplined if they hope to keep Castle in check.
It will no doubt be a tremendous game under the lights of the Reitz Bowl Friday night. Catch every snap on ESPN Evansville 105.3, and online at ESPNevansville.com with pregame at 6:30, and kick off at 7:00.