Carmel expects tough matchup with Warren Central
One would think when the defending State champions are ranked fifth in Class 5A, finished an incredibly tough schedule with an 8-1 record, and managed to allow only 7.6 points per game on defense, that they would be cake-walk past a team with a 4-5 record in the opening week of Sectionals.

However, the Carmel Greyhounds know they have perhaps the toughest test of any team on Friday night when they host the Warren Central Warriors.

"They are always a tough team," said Senior linebacker John Kenny.

"So we have to prepare the best that we can knowing that we are going to get a really good opponent. It is a rivalry game, and anything can happen. Playing them the last time showed a lot about ourselves that we can make some plays, but their defense is really good too."

Kenny is referencing when the Greyhounds and the Warriors last met on September 29th at Lucas Oil Stadium, when Carmel escaped with a 10-7 victory that included a blocked field goal and overtime. Credit Carmel for being able to execute when needed in the game, but the close loss was just one of many for the Warriors. Warren Central lost all of their games by a combined 20 points this year, giving up just 8.7 points per game, with one possession either way completely changing the fortune for a team that competed in the best football conference in the state.

If one really wanted to look back through the IHSAA archives, they could probably argue the Warriors are the best team to finish with a sub-.500 record ever in the state of Indiana. That is at least the way the Carmel Greyhounds prepared for Warren Central all week long.

"Defensively, they are outstanding," said Greyhounds Head Coach Kevin Wright. "Offensively, they have weapons, and offensively you can't give up the big play. So if we can prevent the big play and play great defense and move the ball, it is probably going to be a low-scoring, defensive-like game from a couple weeks ago."

But if there is one defense in the state of Indiana that could go toe-to-toe with Warren Central, it would be the talented Carmel Greyhounds. The 2012 version of Carmel allowed just nine touchdowns over nine games, breaking an Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference record with 69 points allowed over the course of the season.

"They haven't given up the long pass or long run for the score," said Wright. "And I think as a result they play off each other. You have two seniors in John Kenny (Iowa recruit) and Loukas Sinnis who are three-year starters. Then Race Johnson and Jack Buskirk started last year as well. We had experience on that side of the ball, and I think it really showed this season."

Just because the Greyhounds are good on defense doesn't mean they can't score the ball either, putting up 27.7 points per game over the course of the regular season. A lot of that is due in thanks to the running game of Senior Jack Thompson and Sophomore Chris Perkins, who shared the majority of the rushing load with six touchdowns each; Senior Brandon Lugar finished with four as well.

But the Greyhounds know their offense will have their hands full with Warren Central Friday night, which is why the younger Perkins wants to do whatever it takes to get the victory for his older teammates.

"I really just want to do this for the seniors," said Perkins. "I want to send them out in the right way."

The right way, for Perkins and the Greyhounds, just happens to be down the road with the toughest of matchups right off the bat.

"It should be a great game," said Wright. "Like I said to our guys, four out of the five games have gone down to the very last play. It tells you something about this rivalry with a lot of pride on both sides. Nobody wants to go home after week one."