State football capsule


No. 1 New Palestine (13-0) vs. No. 2 Decatur Central (12-1)

Kickoff: 7:05 p.m.

Recent history: This is the first meeting between the Dragons and Hawks.

Last week: New Palestine defeated Michigan City, 35-10. Decatur Central beat Columbus East 27-24.

Sagarin ratings: New Palestine 105.46 (second overall, first in 5A), Decatur Central 86.76 (18th overall, fourth in 5A)

Players to watch: New Palestine — QB Zach Neligh, RB Charlie Spegal, OL/DL Kyle King, LB WR/DB Maxen Hook, DB Brody Luker; Decatur Central — QB Parker Harrington, RB Kenneth Tracy, RB Will Gibson, WR Jason Allen, DE Chamaar Smith

What to look for: The top two teams in the Class 5A polls most of this season fittingly will meet for the first time ever, with a state title on the line. The Dragons have rolled through all 13 opponents this season, while Decatur Central had one loss, an 18-15 defeat to No. 8 Martinsville in Week 4. Both teams come in battle-tested, having each beaten several ranked opponents to get here. The Dragons look to have the upper hand in most areas, and should have more early-game success offensively than they did against Michigan City. The Hawks are not an explosive offense like the Dragons — they keep scorers lower, with smaller victory margins. It all lies on the Decatur Central defense stopping New Palestine’s offense. If the Dragons play mistake-free football, they will bring home their second state title in school history, likely by several scores. Expect another run-heavy game, as the Hawks rush for 242.4 yards per game, and be prepared to watch Charlie Spegal continue his run into and through the record books, as he needs just four TDs to tie the national record for a season and five to set a new mark.