It is Blitz’s favorite time of the high school football season.
Championships will be won each week from here on out. This Friday, we will crown sectional title winners. Regionals are next week, and so on.
The next four weeks will whittle down who is left to the state championship games at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Who in the area can make it? Can anyone?
First things first. Sectionals are on the line. The bigger question may be, will it ever NOT rain on a Friday?
Last week: 13-1
SNIDER AT HOMESTEAD. The Panthers have won the last four meetings between these two teams in the playoffs, including a 37-0 rout a season ago. It is not a leap to say that this year’s contest will be closer.
Playmakers will be key in this one, and there is concern that Homestead may be without at least of its main offensive weapons. Trevin Taylor did not play last week, while there have been rumblings that fellow wide receiver Griffin Little could also be on the fence.
The Spartans’ defense has been strong in the second half of the year. Snider scored 23 points in Week 5 against the unit, but since then no one has eclipsed the 17-point mark. Another effort like that on Friday gives Homestead a fighting chance.
At full strength offensively, the Spartans could make for a difficult night for Snider, particularly if their offensive balance exhibited in recent weeks finds traction. But Blitz feels more has to go right for Homestead here than it does Snider.
BLITZ PICKS SNIDER BY 6.
NORTHWOOD AT ANGOLA. There is nothing fancy about what the top-ranked Panthers do to win.
It begins and ends with Bronson Yoder. The QB/RB/WR has amassed over 2,600 total yards this year, including 2,037 yards rushing, and 30 touchdowns. NorthWood is big, physical and fundamentally sound.
You know who else was big, physical and fundamentally sound? Bishop Dwenger a year ago. When Angola hosted the Saints in the regional round last season, the Hornets were dominated in a 34-0 defeat.
Is Angola better than it was a year ago? We really don’t have a definitive answer yet. We will get it on Friday, whether the Hornets like it or not.
BLITZ PICKS NORTHWOOD BY 8.
BISHOP DWENGER AT WAYNE. In Blitz’s mind, this is the best Week 12 matchup for a variety of reasons.
Wayne wants revenge for a Week 1 shutout.
Dwenger wants to prove it can beat the Generals in better conditions.
Everyone. EVERYONE is on one side or the other when it comes to the Generals. Either they are rooting for Wayne to continue its successful season or it is rooting against them because they are tired of hearing from them on social media and beyond.
It’s that simple really.
Remember when Wayne entered Snider week with so much emotion that some thought it could be a negative? The Generals took care of business in a 21-7 victory. Expect the same kind of emotion on Friday from Coach Derrick Moore’s squad.
This one comes down to the Bishop Dwenger offense. Wayne was able to make the plays against Snider that prevented the Panthers from doing much of anything. Can the Generals do the same thing against QB Brenden Lytle and a dominating offensive front without Tristan Pernell sidelined due to injury?
Blitz could go either way here, but doesn’t feel like he should bet against the Saints in the playoffs against an area team.
BLITZ PICKS BISHOP DWENGER BY 1.
BISHOP LUERS AT BELLMONT. Ah, the matchup we all expected in the Sectional 28 final.
Bellmont is playing with house money here. From zero wins in the regular season to being the finale NE8 team standing, it has been a whirlwind few weeks for the Braves, particularly after last Friday’s win over Concordia.
However, this is still a massive task for Bellmont. The Knights torched West Noble last week as it utilized its superior athleticism in space. Of course, four return scores helped the cause.
Do not expect Bellmont to do much kicking to the Knights. But there will still be too much Jordan Presley, Justin Gaston, Jamic Johnson, Janarion Moore and others for the Braves to handle.
BLITZ PICKS BISHOP LUERS BY 21.
BREMEN AT BLUFFTON. Is Blitz a homer to think the Tigers have a great shot at winning on Friday?
Most of the time, Bluffton’s success comes down to how successful it can be running the ball. Everett Johnson is a machine, averaging over 175 yards rushing per game. But things get more complicated the deeper you go in the postseason.
Bremen has a balanced offense, with QB Ryan Caldwell having thrown for 1,300 yards and 18 touchdowns and a rushing attack that has pounded out 2,400 yards for the year. The Tigers have had trouble slowing down good offenses. That will be their undoing.
BLITZ PICKS BREMEN BY 5.
SOUTHWOOD AT ADAMS CENTRAL. So many people want to talk about Southwood’s defense, and for good reason. It is a unit that is allowing just 5.5 points per game. But while the offense is not as crazy-powerful as it was last season, it does have some weapons. Running back Gabe Lloyd has rushed for 1,700 yards and 23 TDs, while sophomore QB Alex Farr is capable of making some plays.
The fact that Churubusco was able to move the football on the ground last week until it had to abandon it due to the score is of some concern as well.
But this Adams Central team is so tough on both sides of the ball, built upon a huge senior class that is experienced and mature. There is no way Blitz is picking the Flying Jets to lose this one at home.
Bailea Sprunger for the win?
BLITZ PICKS ADAMS CENTRAL BY 3.