Columbus – There isn't a better place for IU football fans to be tonight than Columbus East's Stafford Field.
Why? Three of IU's marquee recruits in the 2009 recruiting class will be in action when Columbus East (7-0/5-0) plays host to Jeffersonville (3-4/3-2) at 7 p.m. Columbus East quarterback Dusty Kiel and wide receiver Duwyce Wilson will be looking to keep their unbeaten record and No. 1 ranking in tact tonight, while Jeffersonville quarterback Edward Wright-Baker will try to derail East's perfect season.
Most notable about of the match-up is the head-to-head encounter between the two IU quarterback recruits. While it's Wright-Baker who garnered more of the summer recruiting buzz because of his athleticism and play-making abilities, it's been Kiel who has put up the monster numbers this season. Kiel has completed 88-of-128 passes for 1,732 yards and 22 touchdowns, and he's added another 591 yards rushing and eight more scores.
Wright-Baker's Jeffersonville team hasn't had the sort of success that many anticipated this fall, but the IU-bound quarterback isn't to blame, as he's accounted for 1,443 yards of total offense and 15 touchdowns.
This marks the second time Wright-Baker and Kiel have gone head-to-head, as East whipped Jeffersonville 35-0 a year ago. While the result was a lopsided one, even Kiel admits he was able to see why there's been so much made about Wright-Baker's abilities.
"When he gets in the open field he has a shot to score a touchdown," Kiel said. "He's elusive, he has a strong arm, and he can make people miss. The biggest thing about him is his ability to spring a long run from any where on the field."
No one doubts Wright-Baker's skills, but Kiel has some pretty solid attributes of his own. He's re-written just about every Columbus East career passing mark in his 1 ½ years as a starter, and he has Columbus East positioned as the odds on favorite to win the Class 4A state title.
Kiel's huge passing numbers don't come as much of a surprise, but he's also been a very effective runner as well this season. He's rushed for more than 100 yards in three of his last four games, including 114 on only seven carries in last week's 75-14 win over Madison.
"My offensive line and receivers have been blocking really well for me, so I don't have to do much other than run through some wide open holes," Kiel said.
One luxury that Kiel does have that Wright-Baker doesn't is a pass-catching weapon like Wilson. The highest-ranked recruit in IU's class, Wilson has caught 28 passes for 647 yards and eight touchdowns and has been a favorite target of Kiel's all season.
"It's great having him – I love throwing six-yard hitches and then watching him spring a 70-yard touchdown," Kiel said.
One thing Kiel said he won't do is allow this game to turn into a Dusty Kiel vs. Edward Wright-Baker encounter. Both teams rely a great deal on their IU-bound quarterbacks, but Kiel said this game isn't about figuring out which one is better.
"The game is a big deal because I think our guys are excited to play them because their record doesn't show how good they are and how much talent they have," Kiel said. "For me, It's not about the game being about me against Edward, and I think he's the same way. We're just going out and trying to get a win."
IU QB Recruits Set to Go Head-to-Head
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