It really shouldn’t be this hard.

By Week 6, we typically have a well-established and sensible hierarchy in area high school football.

But this year, there is chaos.

How do we rank the SAC after the top three? Where do the NE8 frontrunners fit in? What about Angola?

Blitz_Inset 2

All difficult questions, ones that Blitz is not afraid to confront.

1. BISHOP DWENGER

WHY #1?

The Saints continue to be the no-brainer atop this list. Carroll put a bit of a scare into the Dwenger faithful during its opening drive for a touchdown last Friday, but the Saints recovered, made the necessary changes defensively and rolled the Chargers by 20.

Sophomore Brenden Lytle showcased his skills behind center in his first career start in a big spot. He didn’t have to make spectacular plays with a running game that was churning out yards, but he looked comfortable in the pocket. Will Lytle get the start against Concordia this Friday or will Patrick O’Keefe be back from injury?

Speaking of sophomores, Devon Tippmann had his breakout party against the Chargers, rushing for over 175 yards. He and fellow Tippmann T.J. are Dwenger’s top two rushers.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

You cannot be higher than No. 1, at least as far as Blitz is concerned.

2. WAYNE

WHY #2?

The Generals’ current four-game winning streak is the program’s longest since 2014.

Will it reach five?

With Snider on tap at Wayne Stadium on Friday, that remains to be seen.

Blitz believes Friday’s game will come down to the play of quarterback Brandan Young. Since throwing three interceptions against Dwenger in Week 1, the senior has tossed 11 touchdown passes and just two interceptions.

Wayne can silence all remaining doubters with a win against the Panthers.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Beat Snider and the Generals could be.

3. SNIDER

WHY #3?

The nine-week regular season doesn’t feel very long, but it offers plenty of time for teams to get dramatically better.

Exhibit A of that are the Panthers, who have looked exponentially better during their current three-game winning streak. The latest example was a 23-7 win over Homestead, the fewest points scored by a Spartans team in a regular season game since 2014.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Can Snider win a game against a quality opponent if the score enters the 30s? Not yet sold on this offense to win a shootout. Might it get a chance to on Friday?

4. HOMESTEAD

WHY #4?

This is where it starts getting murky. Yes, I know that the Spartans have lost three straight. And yes, I understand that the offense has not been up to the task against quality defenses like Dwenger and Snider. But it is tough to find a team truly worthy of this spot. Factor in that Homestead has quality wins over Northrop and Concordia and I think the best days for the Spartans are ahead.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The aforementioned three-game losing streak has something to do with it. Plus, there are legitimate concerns about an offense that has just 17 points in the last two games. Homestead has not scored less over a two-game period since 2004, coach Chad Zolman’s first season.

The Spartans offense should get right this week against North Side.

5. BISHOP LUERS

WHY #5?

The Knights’ loss to North Side last Friday rivals the Carroll over Snider outcome as the most surprising of the year thus far. True to form, the Bishop Luers offense put up big numbers, including Norman Knapke’s 551 yards, which is just a few yards off the Indiana all-time single game record.

Only Northrop has scored more points than the Knights, which makes them a threat to win any game against any opponent.

However…

WHY NOT HIGHER?

That defense has struggled. Only North Side and South Side have given up more points this season.

This still feels like a team that could make a long run in the 3A playoffs, but that defense must find something, anything to keep teams out of the end zone.

6. ANGOLA

WHY #6?

Many others are going to have the Hornets higher than six. I just cannot do it.

Angola has handled every team it has played, and actually has played some solid opponents in DeKalb, Leo and Jimtown.

But the memories of last year’s thrashing in regionals at the hands of Dwenger still echoes in my mind.

What would Angola’s record be in the SAC?

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Because I am biased against anyone from outside the SAC, duh. At least, that’s what some will say.

Maybe it’s true?

No. But I do think the Hornets have multiple losses right now if they are in the Summit as opposed to the NECC.

7. CONCORDIA

WHY #7?

Just like Homestead, the Cadets are an under-.500 team in the top 7 of my power poll. Some will scoff, but Blitz is confident that Concordia is a better team that its record indicates.

However, the next three weeks could be brutal. Dwenger, Wayne and Carroll each present big challenges.

Could a 2-6 Concordia team still be in the top 10 of Blitz’s Power Poll? Coach Tim Mannigel would rather not find out.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Some (many?) will say that No. 7 is too high. Take away a shutout of South Side in Week 1, the Cadets are allowing an average of 32.5 points per game.

8. EAST NOBLE

WHY #8?

Could the Knights be emerging as the top team in the Northeast 8? We likely won’t know the answer to that until Week 8 vs. New Haven, but East Noble has been consistent in its recent victories.

Bailey Parker is still finding his way throwing the ball, but he has become a key threat in the East Noble running attack (417 yards, four TDs).

WHY NOT HIGHER?

East Noble’s lone loss was by seven points to a one-loss 6A team in Warsaw. You could certainly argue that the Knights deserve more respect. But Blitz is not ready to budge just yet.

9. NEW HAVEN

WHY #9?

Survive and advance, right?

That is likely the message out of New Haven this week after a seven-point win over Norwell last Friday. There is no doubt that the Bulldogs are getting better. Coach Jimmy Linn has done a tremendous job keeping a team together after an 0-2 start and mixing and matching players into different roles.

Is New Haven better than East Noble? Right now, I think the answer is no.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

New Haven has won three straight games, but none by more than seven points. Yes, wins are wins. But the dominance we are accustomed to seeing out of the Bulldogs isn’t there.

10. ADAMS CENTRAL

WHY #10?

The Flying Jets have not scored less than 35 points in a single game this season. That is consistency.

With a showdown at South Adams looming on Friday, AC has its work cut out for it after the Starfires caught a particular cartoon animal off guard with its demolition of state-ranked Monroe Central last Friday.

This is a senior-laden team. It knows how to execute and win big games. That will pay dividends this week and beyond.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Putting a 1A Adams Central team above the likes of Northrop, Carroll and Leo is a difficult decision for me. Do I think the Flying Jets can beat those teams? Not really. But dangit we need some small-school representation on this thing. And hey, it’s my power poll, I can do what I want.

NEXT FIVE

11. Northrop

12. Carroll

13. Leo

14. South Adams

15. Woodlan

 

 

 

 

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