The only two private high schools in the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference (SIAC) continue their cross-town rivalry in a — non-conference game?

How did this happen? Well, a year or two back, the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) strongly encouraged teams to try and get their two non-conference games into the first two weeks of the season. As has always been the case, it's up to the school to find those opponents themselves. This year, both Mater Dei and Memorial had difficulty finding opponents for week two, so they decided to play each other out of necessity. What makes this scenario interesting is that regardless of who wins and who loses, the game will not count toward either team's standing in the race for the city and SIAC title despite both teams being in the conference, because on paper it's a non-conference game. With me so far?

Despite the circumstances around the game, the two teams come into Friday's match up on opposite ends of the spectrum. The Tigers look to get their first win of the season after a 45-14 loss to a tough Jasper Wildcats team that won last year's Class 4A Sectional title.

After marching down the field to open the game, and take a quick 7-3 lead, the Tigers succumbed to a punishing Jasper ground game, giving up 21 points in the second quarter.

Two fumbles and one interception also crippled the Tigers, who got back into the game for a brief moment in the third quarter, getting within 10 points of Jasper, before the Wildcats put the hammer down with their aforementioned rushing attack, keeping the Memorial offense off the field for long periods of time.

The Tigers will have to shore up the mental mistakes if they want to avoid a 0-2 start against Mater Dei.

The Wildcats come off an impressive 61-0 win over Indianapolis Howe to open the season, lead by the legs of senior Julian Weidner who scored twice on runs of 56 and 36 yards. Weidner has been a key part of the Wildcats program since coming on strong in his sophmore season, and is the player any opponent of the Wildcats must keep an eye on throughout the game, or he'll make them pay.

For Memorial, running back McKinnley Warren is also more than capable of being just as explosive as Weidner. A threat in both the running and passing game, Warren picked up 45 yards receiving on just four receptions, however he was held in check on the ground, gaining only 15 yards on four rushing attempts against a stifling Jasper defense.

He'll have his chance to show more of what he can do on the ground against a Mater Dei defense that lost a good amount of size on the defensive line to graduation. However they do get big, quick defensive end Adrian Butler back who has the ability to disrupt an offense on every play.

It should be a great game under the lights of the Reitz Bowl Friday night, and you can catch every snap on ESPN Evansville 105.3, and of course online with pregame at 6:30 PM and kick off at 7:00.

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