It wasn’t exactly the true return of Friday Night Lights, particularly with the weird formats and the wealth of coaches on the field, but Blitz enjoyed being back on the gridiron on Friday for the first time in almost nine months.

Your favorite friendly cartoon bear (who for some reason randomly loves football, crazy how that works) traveled to Kendallville for East Noble and Concordia, but Blitz had plenty of other Outside the Huddle interns elsewhere to catch him up on the action on a beautiful Friday evening for football.

East Noble’s season came to an end last year in sectional play against NorthWood when it couldn’t find a way to slow down Bronson Yoder, who rushed for 337 yards and three touchdowns in a 46-35 win.

Seriously, 337 yards.

That gaudy number was a point of emphasis over the summer. It showed as the East Noble defense allowed just 27 yards (unofficially) on the ground during the scrimmage, bottling up one of the area’s top backs – junior Amir Drew.

Brandon Davis to Sam Hudson
Concordia Lutheran quarterback Brandon Davis hands the ball off to Sam Hudson during August 16’s scrimmage game at East Noble.

Quarterback Brandon Davis was able to complete some passes downfield for the Cadets, but the offensive line wasn’t able to open up many holes against a stout EN defensive front.

“We are going to do whatever it takes so we don’t feel like that again,” said East Noble coach Luke Amstutz about that loss. “If that means teams can take some 1-on-1 shots on us (downfield), it is what it is.”

Concordia coach Tim Mannigel was cautiously optimistic following Friday’s scrimmage. While an in-depth review of his team will come after he has been able to review the film, he saw some good things.

But perhaps most important for the Cadets, they took on a team that would probably slot in somewhere in the upper portion of the SAC if East Noble was in the conference.

“I think (East Noble) handled us a bit tonight, but we are a young team and we need to figure out how to play in games like this,” Mannigel said. “This is a good scrimmage for us because it is a good barometer on what we need to do.”

The new defensive scheme installed by Concordia had some players confused at times, but by and large the transition seems to have gone rather smoothly.

While Bailey Parker was predictably sensational for East Noble at QB and on defense, two others stood out as well for the Knights.

Bailey Parker tackles Sam Hudson
East Noble’s Bailey Parker lays a hit on Concordia Lutheran’s Sam Hudson during a scrimmage at East Noble on August 16.

 

Sophomore Rowan Zolman got some praise from his head coach following the scrimmage. The youngster is being relied upon at free safety to protect against the deep ball while also being aggressive in playing the run. It can be a tough position for an underclassmen to master but Zolman played well against the Cadets.

After being without a true pass-catching tight end for a few years, the Knights seem to have one in Brett Christian. He caught a few balls down the seam on Friday. While just 6-foot, he towers over shorter defensive backs and is just a sophomore.

– Speaking of towering over people, No. 77 of Concordia caught Blitz’s eye rather quickly. Lining up on the offensive line, Bubba Craig is 6-6, 315 pounds of pure freshman bulk.

Is he out there because of his size or is he a polished offensive lineman?

“At this point he is out there because he is so big, but he is pretty good,” Mannigel said. “He didn’t mess up very often for a freshman and he didn’t seem daunted by the experience. He is going to play for us, he is a big guy.”

ODDS AND ENDS

  • Northrop could truly be that team that seems to come out of nowhere each year in the SAC.The trio of hoopsters in Qualen Pettus, Elijah Fincher and Te’Noah Ridley that have decided to play basketball have added more athleticism to an already-talented roster.

    These are the types of kids that the Bruins need to be playing basketball AND football. Northrop has the players in its hallways to be a contender in the SAC on the football field. The problem has been getting them out in the fall.

  • Evan Eshbach at quarterback may be the missing piece to DeKalb taking the next step up the NE8. The Barons took on Eastside on Friday and while Eshbach initially looked hesitant and reserved, he settled in and became more comfortable, showing off his live arm and his mobility to move in and outside of the pocket.Having Tanner Jack running behind a mammoth offensive front doesn’t hurt either.

    Saying it now, Angola vs. DeKalb will be Outside the Huddle’s Game of the Week.

    Tanner Jack
    DeKalb’s Tanner Jack runs the ball against Eastside during an August 16 scrimmage.

 

 

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