BENNETT'S MINUTES: Cubs, Cougars to vie for county grid crown

Thursday, October 5, 2017
First-year North Putnam football coach Sam Carnes will be coaching tonight to win his first Putnam County football championship.
Banner Graphic/JOEY BENNETT

Numbers point to close contest for championship

Greencastle will be seeking its second straight Putnam County football championship tonight as the Tiger Cubs host North Putnam in the final regular-season game before the Western Indiana Conference crossover matchups and first-round sectional games take place the next two weeks.

Both teams are 2-0 in county action this season, setting up a winner-take-all championship game.

Yearly scores are available only back to 1994 on John Harrell’s Indiana high school football website, so tracking results before that time will take more much more extensive research sometime in the future.

But since 1994, North Putnam leads the pack with 11 county titles – including a stretch of six straight from 2006-11. The Cougars have only won one of the last five, though, with that victory coming in 2015.

Greencastle and South Putnam each has won six county titles over the past 23 years, while Cloverdale has not won the county title during that time period.

South Putnam won consecutively in 2013-14 to break a seven-year drought. Greencastle’s titles have been the most spread out of the bunch, with last year’s title breaking a three-year drought and its previous crown in 2012 eclipsing a seven-year title vacancy.

So tonight, will the Tiger Cubs repeat or will North Putnam add to its recent victory total?

There are obviously contrasting features between the two teams. North Putnam’s games, on average, have had a final score of 32-29. Greencastle’s games have been much lower scoring with an average score of 21-14.

Both teams have beaten Cloverdale and South Putnam, while both squads have lost to Sullivan and Northview. Dissection of those games shows that the Cubs played Northview closer, losing on a last-second field, while the Cougars lost to Sullivan by a smaller margin than Greencastle.

The only common opponent with split results is West Vigo, which blanked the Tiger Cubs 14-0 in week three and lost to North Putnam 28-21 last week.

North Putnam’s opponents have collectively won six more games than Greencastle’s.

As explained in a column last summer, Harrell chooses a winner of each game despite not having seen many of them play.

His predictions are based upon numerous statistical variables including past performance, opponents’ winning percentages and home field – and in this one Harrell is predicting a 28-24 Greencastle win.

Since three points are normally given to the home team in such projections, Harrell is predicting a really close game that could go either way.

Considering that the teams are 16-16 over the past 32 meetings, that’s something we may all get to see.

Recent champions Putnam County football

2016 – Greencastle

2015 – North Putnam

2014 – South Putnam

2013 – South Putnam

2012 – Greencastle

2011 – North Putnam

2010 – North Putnam

2009 – North Putnam

2008 – North Putnam

2007 – North Putnam

2006 – North Putnam

2005 – South Putnam

2004 – Greencastle

2003 – Greencastle

2002 – South Putnam

2001 – North Putnam

2000 – South Putnam

1999 – South Putnam

1998 – North Putnam

1997 – North Putnam

1996 – Greencastle

1995 – Greencastle

1994 – North Putnam

NOTE: Information courtesy of John Harrell’s Indiana high school football website. Winners prior to 1994 unavailable.

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