It is the final week of the regular season and every team wants to enter the playoffs on a high note. For some, a league title is on the line tonight. Others are simply attempting to move past a loss (Dwenger) or continue the positive momentum (Homestead).
With big games across the region, let’s take a look at who to watch tonight.
CAMDYN CHILDERS, CARROLL
The Chargers need some positive vibes in the worst way, and a win over Wayne on the road tonight would deliver. Carroll (3-5) has lost four of its last five games, with a pair of blowout losses to Homestead and Northrop the last two weeks.
One strength of the Chargers for most of the season has been its passing game. The connection between quarterback Gaven Vogt and Childers has been on point since the opening game of the season when Childers went for six reception for 85 yards and a score in a one-point loss to Bishop Luers.
This game feels like one that is going to be relatively high scoring. For Carroll to have a shot to win, Childers needs to have a big game.
TRISTAN PERNELL, WAYNE
On the other side of the field, a senior linebacker will be looking to close out his prep regular season career on a winning note.
Pernell was all over the field in the Generals’ victory over Snider. His pivotal second-half interception handed the offense a short field that it was able to convert into a score and put Wayne up by two scores.
For the year, Pernell has 84 tackles, nine tackles for loss and a pair of INTs as the Generals sit 6-2 entering tonight.
Carroll’s short to intermediate passing game can be troublesome if allowed to pick up yards unchecked. Pernell will be in the thick of slowing that down.
JAYDEN ELWOOD, LEO
There is no better defensive player in the NE8 than Elwood, who has been a disruptive force along the Lions’ front line all year long.
DeKalb comes to town tonight with some momentum and the conference’s leading rushing attack. Expect a battle up front between Elwood, his line mates and a Barons offensive line looking to open some more eyes on the road entering the playoffs.
ISAAC MEYER, WOODLAN
Can the Warriors give Adams Central a game? Many don’t think so, but if it happens it will be because a Woodlan defense that has allowed over 32 points per game the last three weeks has come to play.
Sebastian Spieth gets a lot of attention, but Meyer has been even more disruptive. His 19 tackles for loss and seven sacks lead the team in both categories. The senior edge lineman also has 76 tackles, second only to Spieth’s 79.
Adams Central is going to try and maul Woodlan up front and open holes for its ball carriers to move the chains. If the Warriors have any shot, it must bottle up that plan. Meyer will be a key aspect of that.
RYAN BRANDT, ANGOLA
The Hornets will attempt to move to 9-0 on the year with a visit from Eastside on Friday, with Brandt a terror on the back end of the defense.
While Friday is important, Saturday will see Brandt on a bigger stage in South Bend. The junior is expected to be a guest of Notre Dame for its game against Pitt.
Brandt has a scholarship offer from Purdue already on the table, with other programs sniffing around. Rated a three-star prospect by 247sports.com, he could be poised to have a big spring and summer on the camp circuit entering his senior year.
Could Brandt eventually earn an offer from the Fighting Irish? Too soon to tell, but Saturday is a good place to start.