Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter had a nearly two-decade run as a state powerhouse, winning four state championships and finishing runner-up three more times between 2003 and 2016.
Hard times have fallen on the Raiders program, which finished 1-10 in 2021 under first-year coach Brad Purcell.
Ritter, 1-3 this season, hosts Class 2A, No. 6 Triton Central (4-1) Friday night at Marian University in Indianapolis. The Raiders are limited in roster size and have cancelled the program’s junior varsity season.
Triton Central head coach Tim Able won’t let his team fall into a “trap” this week.
“We cannot get caught up in they’ve only won one game and we’ve only lost one game,” said Able. The Tigers are favored to win by more than 50 points Friday.
In addition, Triton Central has a date with Class 2A, No. 2 Indianapolis Scecina the following week, which could have Indiana Crossroads Conference championship implications. Scecina (5-0, 3-0 ICC) hosts Class A, No. 1 Lutheran (5-0, 4-0 ICC) this Friday. Lutheran is the only team to defeat Triton Central this season.
“We just have to do what we did last week,” said Able. “It’s all about execution and being ready to play.”
Triton Central overwhelmed Class 3A, No. 15 Indian Creek last week, grabbing five interceptions and rolling to a 49-14 victory.
Indian Creek was a pass-first offense. Ritter prefers to run behind an athletic offensive line, according to Able.
“They like to run the ball a little more than they throw,” said Able. “They are more successful running than throwing. If we can control the run, I feel we can defend their passing game pretty well.”
The Raiders opened the season with three straight ICC losses in which they were outscored 160-12. Last week, Ritter found success in a 44-8 win over Indianapolis Shortridge (2-3).
Senior quarterback Ben Johnson completed 6-of-11 pass attempts for 83 yards and a touchdown. Seniors Jay Roberts and Jayden Flemming combined for 192 rushing yards and five TDs.
Able wants to see Triton Central continue to find success running the ball. Ray Crawford has carried the ball 70 times in the first five games for 434 yards and five TDs.
Quarterback Jace Stuckey (photo) is already over 1,300 yards passing this season while hitting at a 68% clip. The junior has thrown 12 TDs with just four interceptions.
Senior Brad Schultz continues to terrorize defensive backfields, catching 36 passes for 751 yards and nine TDs.
Class 2A, No. 6 Triton Central at Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter
Game time: 7 p.m. at Marian University, 3200 Cold Springs Road in Indianapolis. Parking is $5. Advance tickets may be purchased online for $6 at gocardinalritter.org/event-tickets. Tickets purchased at the stadium will be $8.
Media coverage: Follow Shelby County Post News Editor Jeff Brown on Twitter at @Sportsboss4life for live updates from Marian University.
TC student section theme: Out of this World.
Head coaches: Tim Able, 84-33 in 10th year at Triton Central; 209-131 in 29th year overall; Brad Purcell, 2-13 in 2nd year at Ritter, 7-17 in 3rd year overall.
2021 record: Triton Central 8-5; Ritter 1-10.
Sagarin ratings: Triton Central, 75.57, 40th overall, 1st in Class 2A; Ritter, 23.29, 255th overall, 44th in Class 2A.
Point spread: Triton Central is a 52-point favorite.
Last year: Triton Central won 23-0 at Mendenhall Field in Fairland.
Last 10 meetings: Triton Central has won six of nine meetings over the last decade, including four straight.
Around the ICC Friday: Connersville (4-1) at Speedway (3-2); Class A, No. 1 Lutheran (5-0, 4-2 ICC) vs. Class 2A, No. 2 Scecina (5-0, 3-0 ICC) at Roncalli; Monrovia (2-3, 1-2 ICC) at Beech Grove (2-3, 1-3 ICC); and North Putnam (1-4) at Cascade (2-3).
Sectional 39 lookahead: Class 2A, No. 2 Scecina (5-0); Class 2A, No. 6 Triton Central (4-1); Class 2A, No 13 Brownstown Central (4-1); Christel House Manual (3-2); Switzerland County (2-3); Clarksville (2-3); Eastern (Pekin) (1-4); and Brown County (0-5).
Steve Bush photo