Boy, were there some passionate people giving Blitz the business late Friday night.
We had Homestead fans calling out Blitz for stating how the 2017 win over Bishop Dwenger (a 42-0 rout) was more impressive.
There were Concordia Lutheran folks pointing out to Blitz how he picked Bishop Luers to beat the Cadets by two (Concordia rolled by 28).
And then Blitz heard from some East Noble faithful with their Knights making a point against DeKalb.
Yup, plenty to address out of Week 4. Let Blitz break it down.
• With two more touchdowns to go along with 215 yards against Bishop Dwenger, Homestead junior Braeden Hardwick has now surpassed his 2018 total for touchdowns. He has nine now through four games after scoring eight all of last year.
Hardwick has rushed for multiple scores in all four games thus far. His low in yardage was 78 yards in Week 3 against Bishop Luers, the game he just happened to score three times.
The Spartans offensive line deserves a ton of credit for Hardwick’s success, thoroughly owning a solid Dwenger defensive front on Friday. But Hardwick’s ability to shrug off first contact and get to the second level is as good as anyone around.
• Who needs basketball? Luke Goode now has 10 touchdowns against zero interceptions for Homestead. The junior showcased his footwork against Bishop Dwenger, making plays downfield with his arm while being flushed from the pocket.
The hours and hours that Goode puts in on the basketball court also benefits him on the football field, particularly when it comes to lateral movement and escaping pressure.
• Bishop Dwenger dealt with a number of injuries on Friday, the biggest being tackling machine Hayden Ellinger. The senior missed the second half and his absence was noticeable when Homestead was able to start running downhill with Hardwick.
Ellinger is a versatile linebacker who not only can play the run but also set the edge and attack in the offensive backfield. He is also the unquestioned leader of the defensive unit. His absence was debilitating for the Saints. The hope is he will return for Carroll next week.
• We are seeing Concordia Lutheran quarterback Brandon Davis grow up before our eyes. He completed 75 percent of his passes against Bishop Luers in a 49-21 win, finishing with 242 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
It helps when you have such a talented receiver corps, with Jeren Kindig, Jaden Parnin, Tyler Grossman and Jalen Vanderbosch all experienced pass catchers that Davis has to choose from.
The Cadets (2-2) may struggle to finish with a winning record in the SAC, but they could go deep in the postseason with an improving Davis and stud running back Amir Drew leading the way. Their 49 points on Friday was the most points for the Cadets ever against the Knights.
• Speaking of studs, welcome back Duce Taylor. The North Side junior saw his first game action of the season after an offseason transfer from Snider.
All Taylor did was throw for 226 yards and four touchdowns and run for another in a 48-16 victory over Wayne, looking the part of a big-time varsity QB for the Legends.
Taylor’s pocket presence is beyond impressive, and he displays a quick release and strong arm that puts his receivers in a position to succeed, including former QB Ronald Collins III, who scored a 41-yard touchdown on a pass from Taylor.
Defenses cannot stack the box against Alex Holliday-Robinson with Taylor slinging it like he can.
• Carroll senior Layton Mitchell continues to be Jeffrey Becker’s favorite target. The receiver now has eight touchdown receptions on the year on 17 total catches.
The quiet, unassuming Mitchell at 6-foot, 180 pounds is not very intimidating at first glance, but his play thus far has been near impossible to slow down.
Becker was again on his game, running for 96 yards and throwing for 98 yards with five total touchdowns. Has there been a more valuable player in the SAC through four weeks than the sophomore?
(Main image of Carroll’s Liam Ottenweller courtesy of Leverage Photography)
• Northrop has some positives to take out of their loss to Carroll. For the second straight week, they got quality rushing yardage, this time from Damarius Cowen, who ran for 147 yards on 24 attempts. More offense is always key.
• Columbia City hadn’t started 4-0 since 1991 prior to Friday’s victory over Huntington North, keeping the Eagles as an emerging threat in the conference.
The second half of the season is backloaded with DeKalb, Leo and East Noble all looming. That said, the Eagles have an offense that continues to get better each week. Greg Bolt is a stud at QB, with T.J. Bedwell playing complement to Michael Sievers at wideout.
It starts to get real next week with the Barons coming to town.
• Blitz has been vocal about wanting to see some non-conference games involving SAC teams. East Noble is tops on the list to play some Fort Wayne powers. The Knights are talented enough, deep enough and confident enough to play a Bishop Dwenger or Carroll tough. They proved that on Friday night with an aerial assault and Blitz would salivate to see something like a Hayden Jones/Jayshawn Underwood (Snider) matchup at wide receiver versus cornerback.
These are the games that northeast Indiana football fans would rally behind and show up en masse for.
• Norwell is the quietest 3-1 team Blitz has seen in a long time in terms of hype. The Knights have allowed just 10 points TOTAL this season, including that epic 3-2 loss to Leo in Week 3.
Now, the schedule outside of Leo has been very manageable and that changes soon, but let’s give some credit to Coach Josh Gerber for pointing this program back in the right direction.
• South Adams dropped 70 in the first half on Heritage is both amazing and depressing. Heritage is all kinds of lost right now as a team and showed it on Friday. The 76 total points tied a school record from 2011 against Winchester; the Starfires seem like they are breaking records every week.
The Starfires are as powerful as an offensive juggernaut we have seen in the ACAC in quite some time, and that includes the last few Adams Central squads.
There are stars aplenty on South Adams, but you could argue that the ACAC MVP is sophomore Aidan Wanner, He is second on the team in catches and receiving yards, he is the placekicker and also shined in Week 1 at quarterback when James Arnold was out.
• Kudos to Coach Brent Kunkel and Bluffton for bouncing back from last week’s lopsided loss to South Adams by going to Woodburn and beating Woodlan, a place the Tigers hadn’t won since 2001.
Great job by sophomore Lukas Hunt stepping in for the injured Hayden Nern The quarterback threw for 170 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Tigers.
• A score that was glossed over in Week 4 was Garrett’s 37-34 victory at Lakeland, a big come from behind win for the Railroaders on the road.
Coach Chris Depew’s team limped into the week with injuries abound, including at running back where the team is down to its third option.
Garrett has matched its win total from a year ago and are still a young squad. Look for continued improvement throughout the year.
• Eastside made it a point to stack the box to slow down Churubusco’s Jake Fulk on Friday. The Blazers were going to make Sam Wood beat them at quarterback.
Coach Todd Mason’s plan worked to perfection as Fulk was held below 50 rushing yards and Wood threw three first-half interceptions, including one that was returned to the 1-yard-line that set up a TD.
• West Noble wore down Angola with its running attack in Week 4, making plays late with Brandon Pruitt to capture a 41-27 win and take command of the Big School Division of the NECC.
The Chargers are 4-0 for the first time since 1981. That team, coached by “Dutch” Roether, finished 10-1.
• We don’t talk here much about Warsaw, but Friday’s win over Elkhart Memorial, 38-35, was a good one. The Tigers set a school record with 68 rushes in the game.
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