Excitement, drama return with football Friday nights

Tonight’s matchups:

Columbus East at Bloomington North

Game time: 7 p.m.

Last year’s records: Columbus East 13-2, Bloomington North 0-10

Last year’s meeting: Columbus East won 62-7 at East

Coaches: Bob Gaddis is 290-133 in his 39th year, including 172-33 in his 17th year at Columbus East; Scott Bless is 68-108 in his 18th year, including 53-78 in his 13th year at Bloomington North

Key players: Columbus East QB Josh Major, RB Jamon Hogan, TE Tyler Thomas, OT Zach Clark, CB Jonah Wichman, S Ethan Summa; Bloomington North QB Ben Freel, RB Wyatt Dalton, WR Jordan McCoy, OT Kieran Koontz, DB Cole Prather

What to watch for: The Olympians are coming off a run to the Class 5A state finals and have won all five meetings against the Cougars since the teams began playing in the season opener in 2012. Bloomington North is coming off a winless season, but returns its quarterback in Ben Freel. East is ranked No. 2 in Class 5A in the preseason Associated Press poll.

Prediction: Columbus East 63, Bloomington North 14

Columbus North at Franklin

Game time: 7 p.m.

Last year’s records: Columbus North 9-2, Franklin 1-9

Last year’s meeting: Columbus North won 52-7 at North

Coaches: Tim Bless is 125-88 in his 20th year, including 113-79 in his 18th year at Columbus North; Chris Coll is 79-43 in his 12th year overall and is in his first year at Franklin

Key players: Columbus North QB Trenton Kelley, RB Cortez Bandy, WR Jaylen Flemmons, WR Tristan Bailey, WR/CB J.D. Harris, OT/DT Logan Abbott; Franklin QB Drew Byerly, RB Tyler Fromer, WR Riley McCann, LB Manny Cheam, LB Tommy Reed

What to watch for: The Bull Dogs have rolled over the Grizzly Cubs the past two years, but Franklin has a new coach in Chris Coll, who led Tri-West to the 2014 Class 3A state title. The Cubs return 10 starters on defense, so North might not put up the 54 points on them like it has the past two years. The Bull Dogs are receiving votes in the Class 6A preseason poll.

Prediction: Columbus North 38, Franklin 7

Other area games:

Batesville at Jennings County, 7 p.m.

Brown County at Edinburgh, 7 p.m.

South Decatur at North Decatur, 7 p.m.

Indianapolis Tindley at Trinity Lutheran, 7 p.m.

Next week’s games:

Columbus North at Columbus East, 7 p.m.

Greensburg Jennings County, 7 p.m.

Brown County at South Putnam, 7 p.m.

North Decatur at Edinburgh, 7 p.m.

South Decatur at Eastern Hancock, 7 p.m.

Author photo
Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.