'Route 50 Rumble' should be much more competitive than recent past

Lawrenceburg hosts Taylor Friday night
Posted at 11:51 AM, Aug 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-24 13:14:42-04

LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. -- This week in high school football will be a border war as the U.S. Marines Battle of the Gridiron Series heads to the Hoosier State. Lawrenceburg will host its Ohio rival, Taylor, in the “Route 50 Rumble.”

The two schools are separated by an 8.4 mile stretch on Route 50, hence the matchup's name. This has been the opener for Taylor in each the past three seasons. Over the past three seasons, the Yellow Jackets have owned Lawrenceburg with three victories by an average score of 26 -3.

This time, though, the Tigers will have something to prove. Lawrenceburg looked awfully impressive in a 42-21 drubbing of a very good Indian Creek program last Friday night as Indiana schools kicked off their seasons.

A packed house will fuel the on-the-field intensity as both schools look to make a statement about who they are. The evening air is sure to be filled with electricity as these schools battle for bragging rights.

Kickoff: 7:00 p.m., Neary Field, Dick Meador Stadium

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior RB Austin Bowling wasted little time picking up where left off last season for Lawrenceburg. Bowling ran for 339 yards and five touchdowns -- including 273 of those in yards in the first half -- versus Indian Creek last week. He finished 2015 with 1,509 yards and 28 touchdowns on the ground.

Under center for Lawrenceburg is QB Reid Strobl, who does a good job of taking what the defense gives him while protecting the football. Strobl threw for 1,688 yards, ran for 232 more and accounted for 22 touchdowns (17 passing, five rushing) as a junior.

The Tigers defense is led by OL/LB Mason Parris, who was named the EIAC 3A Defensive MVP and Junior First-Team All-IFCA as a sophomore. Parris was in on 123 total tackles with two sacks, four fumble recoveries and 20 tackles for losses to earn those honors. He also won a state championship in wrestling.

Senior LB Jake Ruberg has more than 200 total tackles and five interceptions at the varsity level. Ruberg, along classmates OL/DLCaleb Craft and OL/DL Noah Boyd, were All-EIAC 3A selections last season.

The Taylor offense all starts in the hands of QB Evan Lamb. He terrorized Lawrenceburg last season throwing for 253 yards and three touchdowns. The Yellow Jackets are paced on defense by LB David Scheuer, LB Kenaz Moore and DB Malik Smith. This unit will need to hold down the fort while a young Taylor offense searches to make a name for itself.

TEAM TRENDS: Taylor comes into the contest having won its last three games of 2015 by an average of 28.3 points. All five of the Yellow Jackets losses last season were to teams that went to the playoffs. In fact, Taylor hasn’t lost to a team that hasn’t made the post-season since 2013.

Lawrenceburg has won six of its last seven games, and the Tigers have scored 35 points or more in all of those victories.

TAYLOR’S KEYS TO VICTORY: The Yellow Jackets have plenty of newcomers to Friday night lights. They will have to get past the jitters in a hurry or else they will find themselves playing catch up on the scoreboard. Alon with that, Taylor must avoid panic if they fall behind. Everyone must stay within themselves and not try to do too much. Adhering to the team concept will benefit Taylor for this grind.

LAWRENCEBURG’S KEYS TO VICTORY: What’s in the past should stay in the past; Lawrenceburg can’t worry about the results of the last three seasons against Taylor. As good as the victory over Indian Creek was, the Tigers still need to cut down on the 10 penalties that they committed in that tilt. Taylor will take advantage of the Tigers if they get sloppy. There is little margin of error against the Yellow Jackets, as Lawrenceburg well knows.

Prediction: LAWRENCEBURG 21, TAYLOR 20