The Raiders will need to fire on all cylinders in a sectional field that also includes fourth-ranked Scecina.
The Crusaders (7-2) open play at Centerville (5-4), and the winner of that game will meet either Heritage Christian (5-4) or Winchester (6-3) in one of next week’s semifinals.
The other semifinal will pit either Shenandoah or Broad Ripple against the winner between Union County (3-6) and Knightstown (5-4).
The Raiders bounced back from a season-ending loss at Milan last year to win their first sectional crown in eight seasons. The final featured a thrilling 41-35 upset of Heritage Christian in come-from-behind fashion at Dale Green Field.
“Last year was similar in the sense that we kind of had a couple games that we lost, and we learned from them,” Widner said.
Shenandoah will count on leaders such as Young and Hale to get the team ready for a similar run this season.
There has been a sense of urgency during practices this week that one would expect with the dawning of the postseason. But Widner hasn’t seen many changes in his team’s approach.
“These kids always play hard, and they always do the best they can,” he said. “So I kind of feel this week is about the same.”