Throughout this week your trusty, furry pal Blitz will delve deeper into each sectional in the area – from which teams look like legit contenders to players to watch.
We continue today in Class 4A with Sectional 20.
BISHOP DWENGER (8-1)
The SAC champions enter the postseason as the favorite in this sectional. While the offense has been a work in progress, the defense has been nasty from Week 1, a shutout of Wayne.
The promotion of Brenden Lytle to starting quarterback has the chance to elevate the passing game of the Saints, but this is never going to be a team that picks apart an opposing defense through the air. Luckily for Dwenger, there aren’t too many high-powered passing games in this sectional.
As the weather goes cold and playing surfaces continue to be torn apart, advantage Dwenger in emerging with a sectional title.
You could make the case that the Generals are a co-favorite in this sectional, but it is tough to overlook the 22-0 loss in Week 1 at the hands of the Saints, even in the rain.
So much was made about Wayne beating Snider, but the real conquest would be the Saints, who have won six straight in the series by an average of 26 points.
The defense is going to do its job in giving Wayne a shot to win any game in this sectional. It is up to the offense to make the plays for victory. The running attack becomes paramount in the playoffs, and Keshaun Fields (711 yards, 4 TDs) has shown he can carry the load behind a solid offensive line.
Consider Blitz intrigued if the Lions and Dwenger meet up in the second round. The teams have met twice in recent years in the playoffs – a 35-14 win for Leo in 2011 and a 24-22 Dwenger victory in 2015.
The Lions are playing much better football than they did in the first half of the year, with an offensive line finding its groove and protecting a quarterback in A.J. Restivo that can make plays.
NEW HAVEN (4-5)
Despite losses in three of the last four games, overlook the Bulldogs at your own risk. They have the personnel and experience to pull off a win against anyone in this sectional.
The problem has been consistency. When the offense has a good week, the defense falters. When the defense plays well, the offense can’t score.
Tim Jordan at quarterback has shown he can make plays. With the running game lacking, it will be largely up to the senior to determine how far New Haven can go.
COLUMBIA CITY (5-4)
The Eagles will get a chance to beat New Haven for the second time this season in the opening round, but prospects look sketchy after that.
Freshman quarterback Greg Bolt is going to be a good one as he develops over the next few years, but he will have to grow up really quick if CC is going to win more than one game this postseason.
JAY COUNTY (4-5)
The Patriots were competitive this year, even notching a marquee win over South Adams late in the year. The offense has some pieces with Parker Grimes at quarterback and the Schlechty brothers, but not enough to be a threat to Dwenger in the second round if the matchup comes to fruition.
The Berries were competitive in the NCC for most of the year, but it is a significant step up having to face Dwenger in the opening round, even at home.
SOUTH SIDE (0-9)
The Archers have no run game to speak of, taking away any offensive balance they have. Taking on Wayne to open sectionals does not give the program the opportunity to pull off a surprise playoff win like they did over Leo in 2016.