The regular season concluded in style last Friday with conference champions being crowned and teams (in some cases) peaking for the postseason.
Allow your pal Blitz to break it down.
- After a two-year absence from East Washington Center, the SAC Victory Bell retuned to Bishop Dwenger on Saturday morning, hours after a 40-13 victory over Northrop that clinched the program’s first league crown since 2015.The 40-point scoring output was the most encouraging aspect of Friday’s win, although Northrop has had difficulty in slowing down offenses all year long. The biggest development was the return of sophomore Brenden Lytle to the quarterback position, replacing junior Patrick O’Keefe.
What does that mean for the Saints’ offense going forward?
Lytle appears to have the stronger and more accurate arm than O’Keefe, but lacks the adept scrambling ability of O’Keefe. Considering Dwenger’s depth at running back, that doesn’t seem to be much of a problem.
The question with Lytle has been more the mental aspect of the game. Being a sophomore, the decision making has still been a work in progress. But it has reached a level that the Dwenger brain trust feels comfortable going with the underclassman on the quest to reach Lucas Oil Stadium.
- There is consistent and then there is A’nyis Lockett of Snider.The senior surpassed 100 yards rushing in a game again in Friday’s 33-14 win over Bishop Luers. He ends the regular season with 983 yards on the ground and 13 scores.
Lockett hasn’t been a running back that has put up eye-popping numbers, but rather is that steady ball carrier with about 15-18 touches a game. Many players will be thrown around for MVP and Lockett will not be one of them, but should he?
Without Lockett and an offensive line opening holes, the Panthers offense would have had no punch to it in a few games early in the season. With Jon Barnes Jr. now finding a comfort zone at quarterback, it takes some of the pressure off of the run game. But Lockett can still be counted on for 100 yards and a touchdown or two each week.
- Jake Archbold showed on Friday what makes Homestead so dangerous in Sectional 3.After being bottled up by a stingy Wayne defense one week ago, Archbold rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns from his quarterback spot in a rout of South Side in Week 9.
Luke Goode and Archbold present an interesting challenge to opposing defenses. Both can throw the pill and both can scramble when needed, especially Archbold.
Naturally, Blitz is looking ahead to the probable sectional title game between the Spartans and Snider in three weeks. The Panthers held Homestead to just seven points in their Week 4 matchup. Will we see a repeat of that?
- With Friday’s 14-13 victory over Carroll, Wayne has won its last six games decided by a single point, including two this year.The last game the Generals lost by one was way back in 1998, when Coach Rippy Morales and Wayne lost to Columbia City 17-16 in sectional play.
- The best game of Week 9 got almost no pub with Columbia City edging Norwell 15-14 in overtime.The Eagles (5-4) dominated time of possession in the first quarter with a long touchdown drive followed by an onside kick recovery. But the Knights recovered nicely to score and send the game into OT in extra time.
After Norwell scored to take a 14-7 lead, Columbia City scored then went for two and the win, with freshman Greg Bolt hitting junior Michael Sievers for the conversion and a 15-14 victory in the wet.
These are the kinds of hard-fought games (along with Leo v. DeKalb) that typify postseason matchups. It was a great primer for both, particularly a Columbia City team that has to go on the road next week and face a team it beat earlier this year in New Haven.
- Obligatory Adams Central reference. Parker Bates. Jalen Hammond. Logan Macklin.