Sports News

Culver, Caston and North Miami hope to surprise in sectional semifinals

Culver Community, Caston and North Miami combined to win two games in the 2023 football season.

And one of those was Caston’s lone victory over Culver.

That’s what makes this second week of the IHSAA playoffs so surprising.  All three are still alive.

The Cavaliers, Warriors and Comets ombined to go 3-0 last week including Caston’s 34-28 victory over seventh-ranked and previously undefeated North White, who beat the Comets during the regular season.

An encore in this week’s sectional semifinals will be more challenging.

Caston (2-8) advanced last week by, in part, containing Vikings senior quarterback Eli Quasebarth who rushed for 1855 yards in the regular season, better than 200 yards per game.

Caston head coach Chris Ulerick.

Caston sophomore Jabez Yarber rushed for 112 yards in the quarterfinal win on 10.2 yards per carry as the Comets played with the lead throughout the game.

Caston’s reward for the upset win is another road trip. And another ranked, undefeated opponent.  Third-ranked Carroll (Flora) (10-0) was a 42-8 winner last week over Tri-County.

The Comets will have to do something no one else has done against Carroll, score.  The Cougars defense is allowing only 3.5 points per game. No opponent has scored double digits and Carroll has five shutouts on the season.

For Culver Community there were no wins to be found in the regular season. But in 1A Sectional 41 there is a wide margin between the top two Sagarin-rated teams, North Judson and Triton, down to the rest of the field. That included the Cavaliers opponent, South Central (Union Mills). The Satellites were only rated two points better on a neutral field than the Cavaliers despite winning at Culver in week 2, 44-22.

First year Cavaliers head coach Austin Foust on last week’s sectional quarterfinal win at South Central, 40-15.

As with Caston, the test in the playoffs second round is more difficult as (1A) #9 Triton (7-3) visits Culver for the second time this season. Last time the Trojans were in town in the fifth week of the season, they posted a 58-6 win.

The least advancement from the opening round was in 1A Sectional 44 by North Miami (2-8). Despite only one regular season win over Whitko, the Warriors were a Sagarin-rated favorite over their quarterfinal opponent, Southern Wells who hadn’t won since a season opening 29-26 victory over Elwood.

North Miami’s 27-6 win last week has also earned them a second round game against a ranked opponent, #11 Madison-Grant (7-3). The Argylls shut out Northfield last week, 50-0.

Warriors head coach Joe Grant says his team has some familiarity from a postseason meeting last year.