Another whirlwind night of football on Friday left us with results to dissect and plenty of questions to ask.
Allow Blitz to break down what he saw in Week 6.
• How could we start with anyone other than North Side? Kudos to Coach Mike Brevard and the Legends, who won a crazy 52-49 game at Luersfield for Brevard’s first-career win and the halting of a 20-game losing streak for North. What caught everyone by surprise was the ability of the Legends, a team that had not scored more than eight points in a game this season, to move the ball at will against Luers.
North Side began the year with losses to Snider, Dwenger, Carroll and Wayne. Lesser teams would have folded and packed it in for 2018. The Legends didn’t. That says more about coaching and character than anything on the scoreboard.
In hindsight, perhaps it shouldn’t have been so shocking. The Knights have had to win the majority of their games by outscoring opponents this year. What Alex Holliday-Robinson did from the running back spot (328 yards rushing, five TDs) was spectacular and was a big reason why North prevailed.
• Speaking of Luers, Norman Knapke’s 555 yards passing has to be a record at Luers, doesn’t it? Blitz cannot immediately recollect a game out of James Knapke or Kyle Lindsay that was as prolific in terms of yardage.
• Two players do not make a defense. Well, maybe in Snider’s case they do.Ethan Hoover and Gianini Belizaire both missed the Week 2 loss to Carroll due to injury. Hoover is the leader in the secondary while Belizaire is a monster up front. With so many new faces in the lineup, the Panthers looked out of sync on the defensive side of the ball against the Chargers.But since the duo’s return, Snider has been downright nasty. Belizaire in particular was a monster in Friday’s win over Homestead, amassing eight tackles, three sacks and three tackles for loss. It felt like three times that many considering how often you heard his name called.
This defense is back on track, as it needs to be with a visit to Wayne next Friday.
• Dwenger just keeps on keeping on don’t they? With starting QB Patrick O’Keefe in street clothes with an injury, sophomore Brenden Lytle took the reins of the Dwenger offense and commanded it admirably.The Saints have relied upon a stifling and opportunistic defense and a solid running game with T.J. and Devon Tippmann to be undefeated through five weeks. But there is going to come a time in the regular season or in the playoffs that the Saints are going to have to play from a few scores behind. Does Lytle or O’Keefe, along with the receivers, have what it takes to make the plays to fight back against a quality opponent?
That question will be answered at some point, but Lytle’s performance last night in which he limited mistakes was encouraging.
• The big “but” with Jake Byrd last season was his decision making in the pocket. Prior to his injury, Byrd threw 17 interceptions, way too many.
Now a senior, Byrd has taken the step that quarterbacks at every level sometime never take, knowing when and where to throw the football to limit bad things from happening. After a four-touchdown performance on Friday in a win over Northrop, Byrd has thrown 12 touchdowns against just three INTs. He also surpassed the 1,000 yards passing mark on the year.While Kamari Anderson-Drew has been his favorite target, a little-known sophomore has turned some heads – Tyler Grossman. The wideout has 16 catches for 247 yards and a pair of scores, including seven for 126 and a score against the Bruins.
• There is nothing more demoralizing than knowing a team is going to run and not being able to do a thing about it.
That is the situation Leo found itself in against East Noble. While the Lions showed moxie in hanging tough in a back-and-forth game, in the end it came down to the Knights being able to do what they wanted on the ground to the tune of 393 yards rushing, including 174 yards and three TDs from Kaiden Harshberger.
And do not discount the play of Bailey Parker at QB, who with each week seems to grow more and more comfortable in the position. Blitz is taking a stand here and now, from now on he will not mention Parker without also forcing in a reference to Andrew McCormick.
East Noble has proven to be the class of the NE8 thus far, but with New Haven getting healthy and gaining experience the Bulldogs are going to have something to say about it come Week 8.
• Let’s give New Haven some credit, rattling off three straight wins by seven points or less. The Bulldogs are not dominating their opponents, but they are making big plays at key times to earn wins. For a team under a new head coach and a host of new players on the field, that is impressive.
• Congrats to DeKalb, which caught some people off guard with a 28-21 victory over Columbia City.It shouldn’t be shocking. The Barons have given Angola its stiffest test of the season while falling by just seven to New Haven.
While Columbia City should have made plays earlier in the game in order to not be down seven late, it appears to Blitz that the Eagles got hosed. Judge for yourself:
Barons stop Columbia City on 4th and 6 to win 28-21. Here’s the deciding play where the Eagles almost scored. Runner was ruled down before reaching the end zone. pic.twitter.com/PLT5idnDPF
— Brice Vance (@BriceVKPC) September 15, 2018
• Occasionally, the Blitz misses big.That was the case with South Adams, a team I picked to lose by almost 30 to Monroe Central. Instead, it was the Starfires who beat up the No. 3 team in Class A.
Many, including a certain bear, thought the loss of Nic Stuber to injury would have a killer effect on South Adams, particularly on defense. Instead, guys like sophomore Jacob Plattner and juniors Caleb Augsburger and Grady Sprunger have stepped up even more to fill the void.
Blitz was (and still is) convinced that Adams Central won’t be touched in the ACAC. South Adams has another chance to prove Blitz wrong next Friday.
• South Adams quarterback Jason Arnold broke the program record for passing yards in a game with his 328-yard effort Friday against Monroe Central. He broke the old record of 42 yards (joking Coach Moser!)
• Blitz thinks that Sherwood Haydock loves the situation his team is in.After years of being hyped by the media all season long, Coach Haydock and the Woodlan Warriors have been able to fly under the radar, particularly after an 0-2 start.
Now 3-2 after a 49-0 throttling of Southern Wells, Woodlan continues to improve with a new cast of characters. The final three weeks of the regular season, as usual, will be telling with Lima Central Catholic, South Adams and AC all presenting big challenges.
Ben Reidy has found himself the last few games after replacing the graduated Justin Durkes. He now has nine TD passes against three picks this fall.
• Garrett is not going to be a factor in the NECC Big Division this year, but the Railroaders do deserve some credit.
On Friday, Coach Chris DePew’s team took Eastside to the brink before falling 21-20.
Garrett has been competitive in losses to Churubusco, Lakeland and the Blazers over the last few weeks. With such a young team, DePew is going to point to this season in years to come as one in which his squad learned a lot about itself and weeded out those kids who couldn’t handle the rigors of losing with those who are committed to getting back on top.
These opinions represent those of Blitz and Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Blitz on Twitter at Blitz_OTH