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Triton Central quarterback Erick Hebauf waits for the snap against Paoli last week. TC will play Providence tonight for the Sectional 39 title.
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Triton Central's Jaiden Ramsey prepares for the play last week against Paoli.
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By KRIS MILLS - kmills@shelbynews.com

FAIRLAND — It takes a special type of coach to lead a program to seven consecutive sectional finals. It has been five years (2014) since Triton Central head coach Tim Able and the Tigers have brought home a postseason trophy, however, as the program has had some tough luck in recent seasons. 

Triton Central (8-3) has a great chance to bring home a sectional championship this Friday in the Sectional 39 title contest against Providence, though, as the Tigers, winners of four consecutive games, are favored to win by two touchdowns. 

Coach Able, who has his team peaking at the right time, earned his 60th win at the school last Friday in TC's semifinal win over Paoli and is now just 15 victories away from 200 wins for his career. He is a proven leader and won a state title with East Noble in 2000. He has four sectional titles to his name, as well, and has previously coached at New Palestine (2009-11), Decatur Central (2001-08) and North Davies (1994). Able was at East Noble from 1995-2000. 

A fiery coach on the field and a kind soul away from it, Able, who started at TC in 2013, would love to get this season's group past the sectional. He knows the amount of work his kids have put in to the program.  

"You have to have players who buy in," Able said earlier this season. "We've had that while I have been here."

Regarless of how his team starts the season, Able always seems to have his team playing its best ball at the right time. TC was 4-3 on Oct. 4 after a heartbreaking 8-7 loss to Scecina but found a way to keep pushing forward. The team's other two losses were to Indian Creek (21-13) and Class A No. 1 Lutheran (28-14). 

No matter what his roster looks like, Able finds a way to win. Seven sectional finals in a row doesn't happen by accident. At the end of the season, all a coach can do is give his team a shot. Able has done that in his time at Triton Central. 

Last week: Triton Central beat Paoli 41-8 on the road. TC senior running backs Keaton Kermode and Joshua Thacker each scored three rushing touchdowns and combined for 366 yards in the win. 

What it will take to advance: There is no need to change the plan. Run the ball. And run it some more. During Triton Central's four-game win streak, K. Kermode and Thacker have been equally impressive, giving opponents two different types of rushing attacks to prepare for. Junior Hayden Kermode has provided plenty of powerful blocks along the way, while TC's offensive line (Kenny Gipson, Ashten Billman, Jaiden Ramsey, Seth Graham and Jaxon Miller) also deserves credit. The Tigers' defense has been tough and nasty, as well, and is allowing 7.8 points per game over the last five weeks. If the Tigers can do what they have done in recent weeks, Able and TC will bring a trophy back to Fairland. 

Looking ahead: With a win Friday, TC will advance to play either No. 4 Evansville Mater Dei (9-2) or North Knox (8-3) in regional action. Mater Dei and North Knox play for the Sectional 40 title on Friday. Mater Dei ended TC's season in 2014 during regional play.  

Providence Pioneers

Providence is 5-6 this season under head coach Larry Dennison, who is 53-47 in nine years at the school. The Pioneers beat Clarksville (14-8) and Eastern (Pekin) (42-16) to advance to the Sectional 39 championship. 

The 42 points last week against Eastern was the most points Providence has scored all season. The team earned a 21-6 win over Mitchell in Week 7, which was the same program Triton Central opened the sectional against. TC beat Mitchell 49-16 on Oct. 25. 

John Harrel likes the Tigers to win, 28-14, but anything can happen in a sectional final — especially when you have a 1,000-yard rusher on your side. 

The Pioneers, who have one touchdown pass all season, will rely on senior running back Colin Flake to keep the team in the game Friday against Triton Central. Flake has rushed for 1,175 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. He is averaging 6.6 yards per carry and has rushed for over 100 yards in five games. Flake also leads the team with 175 receiving yards on five catches. 

Last week, Flake ran for 311 yards on 16 carries and scored five touchdowns. He averaged 19.4 yards per rush and had an 85-yard gain in the contest. 

In addition to Flake, senior quarterback Bishop Edwards has ran the ball 104 times this season for 366 yards and six scores. He is 9 of 27 passing for 214 yards (two interceptions) as the team, much like TC, primarily keeps the ball on the ground. 

Defensively for Providence, which last won a sectional in 2017, senior linebacker Alec Fougerousse leads the team with 66 tackles. Edwards, a defensive back, has 61 tackles and senior corner Austin Barnett has 40 tackles. Junior safety Jaxon Murphy leads the Pioneers with four interceptions. 

For the season, Providence is scoring 16.1 ppg and allowing 19.1. 

Kris Mills is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisMills37. 

Sectional 39 Championship

Triton Central (8-3) at Providence (5-6)

GAME TIME: 7 pm ET, Murphy Stadium.

COACHES: Tim Able, 60-24 in 7th year at Triton Central, 185-122 in 27th year overall. Larry Denison, 53-47 in 9th year at Providence.

SAGARIN RATINGS: Triton Central, 57.17, 103rd overall, 10th in 2A. Providence, 34.56, 187th overall, 28th in 2A.

LAST OUTING: Triton Central defeated Paoli, 41-8. Providence defeated Eastern (Pekin), 42-16.

VS. COMMON FOES: Triton Central 1-0; Providence 1-0.

OPPONENTS' RECORDS: Triton Central 62-53. Providence 53-41.

SERIES LAST 35 YEARS: Triton Central, 4-3

LAST MEETING: Triton Central, 51-0, Oct. 31, 2014, sectional.

JOHN HARRELL PREDICTION: Triton Central, 28-14.