RENSSELAER — Rensselaer Central’s football team will get a rematch with Western this Friday in a Hoosier Conference Crossover game.
The Bombers will look to secure third place overall in conference play with a win. The Panthers own a 7-1 record, including 3-1 in the Hoosier Conference East Division.
Western’s one loss came Sept. 18 against Hamilton Heights, which surprised the Panthers, 19-18, in overtime. Hamilton Heights would then lose two weeks later against Tipton.
Hamilton Heights, Western and Tipton all finished tied for the top spot in the East Division, with Hamilton Heights earning a chance at the overall championship based on tiebreakers.
Rensselaer is 5-3 overall and 1-1 in the West Division behind West Lafayette (7-1, 4-0). The Bombers had games against Twin Lakes and Lafayette Central Catholic canceled due to COVID tests at those schools.
The Bombers will travel to Western on Friday, Oct. to compete in the third-/fourth-place game in the Crossover series. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Western High School in Russiaville.
The teams met in week three of the season, with Western winning, 33-14, in Rensselaer. But the Bombers have made strides since then.
“I think we’re playing as well as we’ve played all year right now,” Bombers coach Chris Meeks said. “Early on, we were out of sync and we had some guys out of position. We didn’t have guys with much playing time and didn’t have the opportunity to get experience in the summer like we normally would. We were just learning on the fly. I felt like the second half of the Western game, things started to come together. Since then we’ve played some very good football.”
Getting another shot at the Panthers will let the Bombers know how far they’ve come in six weeks.
“I think any of those teams, whether it was Hamilton Heights, Tipton, Western,” Meeks said. “I think either of those three would have been a nice team to face before the sectionals. But the fact that they beat us by 19 points in week three gives us a gauge in terms of improvement. We’re playing the game faster. We’ve made great strides defensively, especially in our secondary. Our offensive and defensive lines are playing very good.”
Junior tailback Dylan Kidd reached a milestone last week, finishing with over 100 yards to bump his season total to 1,003 yards on the season. It is the first time Kidd has reached 1,000 yards after missing last year with a knee injury.
“I think Dylan … he needed to find his identity,” Meeks said. “The kid is in a groove. He understands how he needs to play. He’s a nice weapon to add in our backfield along with Addy Wilmington and the others we have.”
Western’s all-state candidate, senior Jerry Padgett, has rushed for 1,625 yards and 20 scores this fall. He often runs behind all-state lineman Brandon Erb.
Tickets are limited for the event and need to be pre-purchased at Rensselaer Central High School. Traveling to Western HS without a ticket is a risk due to the limited number of tickets available. Please purchase your tickets ahead of time.
Bomber Fans can purchase tickets as follows:
• Football and cheer parents
• Parents may purchase a maximum of 4 tickets
• 2 advance purchasing opportunities for Parents
• Tuesday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. in the high school Main Office.
• Wednesday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. in the high school Main Office.
• Students and General Public
• Thursday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Main Office
• Friday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Main Office
Hoosier Conference Standings
After eight weeks of football, the final standings for the East and West Divisions of the Hoosier Conference are as follows:
1. West Lafayette 4-0
2. Rensselaer 1-1
3. Central Catholic 1-1
4. Twin Lakes 1-1
5. Benton Central 0-4
1. Hamilton Heights 3-1
2. Western 3-1
3. Tipton 3-1
4. Cass 1-3
5. Northwestern 0-4
Week nine Hoosier Conference Crossover match-ups are as follows:
West Lafayette at Hamilton Heights — Hoosier Conference Championship Game
Rensselaer Central at Western — 3rd/4th place game
Central Catholic at Tipton — 5th/6th place game
Twin Lakes at Cass — 7th/8th place game
Benton Central at Northwestern — 9th/10th place game