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Football sectional draw revealed

RUSH: Manchester’s Delton Moore rushes around the edge during the Squires’ game against Northfield earlier this season.

BY JACOB RUDE - sports@wabashplaindealer.com

Three of the four Wabash County football programs will open the postseason with a home game after Sunday’s Indiana High School Athletic Association sectional draw.

In Class 2A Sectional 34, Manchester will host Bluffton in an early-season rematch while Wabash will travel to Central Noble. Class A Sectional 43 will see both Northfield and Southwood host opening round games. The Norse will host Adams Central while Southwood will play hosts to Eastside.

The No. 3-ranked Knights’ bid to repeat as sectional champions is off to a favorable start with two of the bottom four teams, per Sagarin ratings, on the Knights’ side of the bracket. Eastside comes in as the sixth-ranked team in the sectional while the winner of the Knights-Blazers match-up meeting the winner of Fremont-Southern Wells, a contest between two teams with two combined wins.

Northfield, meanwhile, received a much tougher draw in hosting No. 2 Adams Central. The other match-up in the Norse’s side of the bracket sees No. 4 Churubusco host No. 10 South Adams. Last season,

Adams Central sports the best Sagarin rating in the sectional at 75.30 with Churubusco (62.80) and Southwood (62.33) a narrow second and third. Northfield’s rating of 40.28 ranks sixth, just behind Eastside’s ranking of 47.90. Southern Wells (24.80) and Fremont (8.32) are the bottom two teams in the sectional.

In Class 2A, Wabash will also be facing an uphill challenge. In the other game on the Apaches’ side of the bracket, No. 8 Bremen will meet Woodlan. The last two losses in the sectional for Wabash have come to the hands of Woodlan in 2017 and Bremen in 2016. Bremen and Woodlan are first and second in Sagarin ratings at 69.30 and 61.71, respectively.

Central Noble comes in at third in Sagarin ratings at 49.36 while Bluffton is narrowly fourth at 48.39. Manchester and Bluffton met in Week Two this season with Bluffton initially winning the game 36-21 before later being forced to forfeit the contest due to use of an ineligible player.

In the other game in Manchester’s half of the bracket, Whitko and Prairie Heights, who have a combined 2-14 record, will battle for a spot in the sectional semi-finals. Wabash (25.65), Whitko (22.85), Prairie Heights (21.32) and Manchester (21.30) round out the bottom four spots in the Sagarin ratings for the sectional.

Sectional contests will begin on Oct. 19 with semi-finals taking place Oct. 26 and the finals taking place Nov. 2.