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Prep Sports

Indians, Fighting Irish face measuring-stick matchups

Sandwich's Dylan Baumbach (21) seeks the edge against Harvard in Week 2.
Sandwich's Dylan Baumbach (21) seeks the edge against Harvard in Week 2.

Here is a quick look at the Week 4 matchups awaiting the Sandwich Indians, Seneca Fighting Irish, Fieldcrest Knights and FCWRB Falcons:

Wilmington Wildcats (1-2) at Sandwich Indians (3-0)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday in Sandwich.

Last meeting: Wilmington 40, Sandwich 14 (2017).

Last week: Wilmington lost 27-6 to Lisle; Sandwich won 28-20 over Manteno.

Scouting report: The Sandwich Indians enter Week 4 undefeated and receiving votes in the Associated Press Class 4A poll. They've earned respect ... but can earn a lot more with a win this Friday at home against perennial power but suddenly seemingly-vulnerable Wilmington.

The Wildcats come in with a 1-2 record, fresh off having their decade-long Interstate Eight Small winning streak snapped by Lisle at Benedictine University. For Lisle, it ended a 23-year losing streak to Wilmington.

The Wildcats are still plenty dangerous, their yard- and clock-churning rushing attack led by Conner Dempsay, Keaton Hopwood, Sam Hafner and Trey Shaw.

The Indians will come in confident after passing another big test last week, fighting back from a halftime deficit led by a 151-yard performance from featured back Dylan Baumbach and two TD runs from Sean Smith.

This could be a statement win for Sandwich.

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Fieldcrest Knights (1-2, 0-1) at GCMS Falcons (3-0, 1-0)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday in Gibson City.

Last meeting: GCMS 52, Fieldcrest 0 (2015).

Last week: Fieldcrest lost 16-13 to Tremont; GCMS won 57-0 over Heyworth.

Scouting report: The Knights' even-numbered weeks on the schedule are bears this year, with Week 4 arguably the roughest of the lot.

Defending Class 2A state champion Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley comes in ranked No. 3 in the AP's Class 1A poll. The Falcons have outscored opponents 126-12 this season with an attack led by running back Jared Trantina (91 yards last week vs. Heyworth), quarterback Nathan Garard (139 yards passing last week) and receiver Ryland Holt.

The GCMS defense has also been a force, allowing Heyworth minus-35 rushing yards last week, making it a tough matchup for Fieldcrest RB Micah Hurd (128 yards this season) and QB Tyler McKay (594 yards passing, 111 yards rushing).

Fieldcrest has lost its last two ballgames by a combined 12 points.

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Fisher (3-0, 1-0) at FCWRB (0-3, 0-1)

Game time: 7 p.m. Friday in Flanagan.

Last meeting: Fisher 40, FCW 8 (2017).

Last week: Fisher won 21-14 over Tri-Valley; FCWRB lost 52-0 to Eureka.

Scouting report: Fisher comes in after two straight close victories — a 21-14 upset of Tri-Valley and a 26-21 triumph over Tremont.

The Bunnies' option-read offense features workhorse Tyler Wilson, who has rushed for 10 touchdowns this season and is coming off a 32-carry, 128-yard performance against the Vikings.

The Flanagan-Cornell/Woodland/Roanoke-Benson offense — led by QB Clayton Sibert — hasn't scored yet this season, but will be facing a Fisher defense which surrendered 312 yards on the ground last Friday.

FCWRB enters on a 22-game losing streak.

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PBL Panthers (2-1, 1-0) at Seneca Fighting Irish (2-1, 1-0)

Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday in Seneca.

Last week: PBL won 35-0 over Iroquois West; Seneca won 22-15 over Dwight-GSW.

Scouting report: The Fighting Irish's Sangamon Valley Conference debut was a good one. They'll be looking to follow it up Saturday against a Paxton-Buckley-Loda program which is seeking its fifth consecutive playoff appearance and is coming off dominating back-to-back wins after a Week 1 shutout defeat at the hands of state-ranked and defending Class 2A state champion Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley.

PBL enters with a seven-quarter streak of not allowing points, but will be contending with a Seneca run game featuring both Logan Bruss (3-3 yards through Week 3) and Brody Baudino (234 yards this season including 106 last week).

While the Panthers have lost a pair of two-way starters to injury already this season — RB/LB Drake Schrodt and WR/DE Colton Coy — they still have a stable of weapons and a versatile attack, including quarterback Gunner Belt (343 yards passing this season in relief of initial starter Gavin Coplea) and running back T.J. Jones (343 yards rushing, 7.8 yards per carry).

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