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Tell City Coach Ryan George expects a large crowd when his team hosts Perry Central in football Friday at 7 p.m.
That was the case when they met for the first time in 2007 but hasn’t always been since, as usually one team came in with a much better record than the other and the games were one-sided.
But George noted that this year “both teams are 3-1 and could very easily be 4-0 (Tell City’s only loss was by one touchdown at South Spencer, Perry Central’s only loss was by one point against Corydon). There’s some excitement about it.”
This is the first year that both teams have had three wins entering this game and is likely the last year that will be the case, as starting next year they will meet in the first game of the season.
If they had met in the season opener this year, Tell City would have been a heavy favorite as it had every starter returning on offense while Perry Central had only one interior lineman returning.
But Perry Central’s young line has gained valuable experience in its four games.
“How much better our line has gotten since the (preseason) scrimmage is incredible,” Perry Central running back Austin LeClere said after Friday’s 24-21 win over Paoli. “They’ve improved every week.”
LeClere does more running behind that line than anyone, so he probably has the best viewpoint for making that comment.
Perry Central’s passing game has also improved greatly since its first game. Sophomore quarterback Lane Lynch has passed for 438 yards and five touchdowns in the last three games.
Tell City’s passing game has yet to produce such big numbers.
A week ago George said, “Our passing game has got to improve.”
But Monday he said he thinks it has. “We were 3 for 3 (for 51 yards and one touchdown) Friday (against Pike Central). Our routes were better and we threw the ball well.”
He said the Marksmen “could have thrown more,” but he didn’t want to after building a 35-0 lead early in the third quarter.
The running game will be the first concern of both teams’ defenses, though.
Among Class A and 2A teams, these could be the two fastest teams in southwestern Indiana, with star track sprinters on both teams.
Perry Central Coach Greg Gibson said the two teams are about even in overall speed, though Tell City running back Elliott Brown “will probably be the fastest player on the field.”
Brown rushed for 237 yards on just 12 carries and scored four touchdowns last year as the Marksmen beat Perry Central 34-7 for their first victory in this series.
So how can the Commodores keep him in check this year?
“Just know where he is and make sure we funnel him into the middle and not let him get outside,” said Gibson. “We’ll have to have everyone in the right position.”
And how can the Marksmen keep LeClere in check?
“We’ve got to do a better job tackling (than in recent games),” said George.
Whichever team carries out its defensive plan better and does a better job avoiding turnovers on offense will likely emerge victorious.