NC football vs. Warren Central sectional preview

The football team kicks off the state tournament at home against Warren Central on Friday. The Panthers likely would have preferred a different result from the sectional drawing, as the other two teams in Sectional 7 are Lawrence Central at 2-7 and Lawrence North at 3-6. Warren Central and NC both finished the regular season at 6-3 and earned a share of the MIC championship, along with Ben Davis and Carmel. North Central is ranked ninth in the state by the AP Media Poll, while Warren Central is ranked seventh. 

Last time the two teams met was week three of the season, with Warren Central winning 28-7. Senior quarterback Cobe Moore outdueled Harry Abell, throwing for 202 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Abell passed for 127 yards, a single score and three interceptions. Warren’s first score came off of a blocked punt returned for a touchdown. Warren Central knocked the Panthers out of the tournament last year in the regional championship.

NC immediately rebounded from this year’s week three loss, winning five straight before falling to Ben Davis in the season finale. The win streak included key victories against Center Grove and Carmel.

Warren Central runs a balanced offense led by Moore and senior running back Randy Wells Jr., who has rushed for 567 yards and three touchdowns this season. Moore played efficiently in the regular season, completing over half of his passes for 1458 yards, 18 touchdowns and five interceptions. His favorite targets are senior receivers Derek Allen and Demarcus Brown.

On defense, the Warriors are led by stud defensive end Marquise Cross. Blocking him should be the top priority for the Panthers offense, considering Cross has amassed seven sacks as well as ten tackles for loss this year.

The victor of tonight’s game will play either Lawrence Central or Lawrence North for the sectional championship. The sectional winner will go on to face Center Grove, Columbus East, Columbus North or Franklin Central in the regional championship.

-Isaiah Rosner

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