AUDIO: To Return To Semi-State, Trojans Must Survive Loaded Evansville Central
By Mike Perleberg
(Left to right) East Central Trojans team captains Alex Maxwell, Logan Storie, Keegan Gindling, and Jayden Williamson. Photo by Sandy Mahoney.
(St. Leon, Ind.) – A formidable opponent awaits the East Central High School football team in the IHSAA 4A Regional.
The #9 Trojans (9-3) will host the #3 Evansville Central Bears (11-1) on a frigid Friday night in St. Leon.
LISTEN TO THE EVANSVILLE CENTRAL VERSUS EAST CENTRAL IHSAA 4A REGIONAL FOOTBALL GAME ON EAGLE COUNTRY 99.3. PREGAME COVERAGE BEGINS AT 7:40 P.M. ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10.
A week after claiming sectional championship number 17, East Central is seeking its third consecutive, and eighth overall, regional crown in program history. Although it is one of the longest continuously running schools in the state, Evansville Central is looking for its first ever regional title.
But the game won’t be decided by the teams’ histories. EC Coach Justin Roden says the Bears are one of the best opponents he will have ever coached against and the Trojans will need to play flawless football to win.
“In order for us to win we need Central to struggle with the field conditions and the travel. In addition, we need them to make mistakes and turn it over. We will be well prepared and battle to the last snap, however our best might not be good enough. We need some luck and to make a few special plays,” says Roden.
LISTEN TO EAGLE COUNTRY 99.3’S INTERVIEW WITH EAST CENTRAL COACH JUSTIN RODEN IN THE AUDIO PLAYER BELOW.
If the audio player does not appear, click here to listen to the interview.
Roden says his team isn’t scared. EC has embraced it’s traditional “bad boy” swag this season with a defense allowing just 11.4 points per game. Senior linebackers Tanner Yocum and Landon Foster lead the defense with 71 and 70 tackles, respectively. On the D-line, Keegan Gindling has come into his own with a team-leading four sacks. The EC defense has forced 15 takeaways.
On offense, a nimble offensive line has paved the way for senior tailback Logan Storie, who has recorded 210 carries for 1,741 yards with 19 scores so far this year. Quarterback Alex Maxell has 689 rush yards for 14 touchdowns, yet has completed 60 percent of his passes for 591 yards and four TDs.
Opposite the Trojans defense will be a sophomore Indiana Mr. Football candidate. Evansville Central’s Tor’Jon Evans will likely lead the state in rushing yards this season with 251 runs for 2,521 yards coming into Friday’s game. Running behind a massive offensive line with four linemen weighing in at 275 pounds or more, Evans has found the end zone 32 times already. The Bears also possess a great passing game, with junior QB Brennon Harper passing for 1,441 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions.
“His receiving core has speed ever where and tremendous size advantage on us. To say that I am concerned is a tremendous understatement,” says Roden.
Defensively, the Bears are just as good. Despite a tough schedule against fellow Evansville schools, they have allowed only 11.3 points per game. Upfront they are lead upfront by 6’6”, 200 pound Rayzel Joiner and 6’4”, 255 pound Joseph Space. Senior linebacker Kiave Guerrier leads with 89 tackles.
The winner of the Regional game at East Central will advance to the IHSAA 4A Semi-State next Friday, November 17. The winner here would play the winner of two unranked teams playing tonight, Greenwood and Mississinewa.
Assuming East Central wins, the Trojans would be at Mississinewa, but would host Greenwood.