We may be just four weeks into the regular season, but the league races have already come into focus.
There are a lot of competitive games ahead, but Blitz feels confident enough here in mid-September to pinpoint the two games in each area conference that will decide league championships.
SNIDER AT HOMESTEAD, FRIDAY
Well this one is easy. The two remaining undefeated teams in the SAC clash on Friday at Homestead, with the winner in the driver’s seat to win the league.
The Panthers have won nine straight in the series dating back to 2006 when the Spartans won a close 21-16 game in sectional play.
Homestead is still looking for its first Victory Bell. Naturally, the Spartans will need to slay both of the SAC mainstays to have a shot, having already beaten Bishop Dwenger.
BISHOP DWENGER VS. SNIDER AT SPULLER STADIUM, OCT 11
This rivalry dates all the way back to 1965 when Snider trounced Bishop Dwenger 39-0 in the Panthers’ first year of football.
Much has changed since then, with both programs getting the better of the other plenty of times over the last 50-plus years.
While Homestead and Carroll will be big parts of the SAC title equation, this one will be pivotal if Snider can find a way to beat the Spartans this year. It will also put Bishop Dwenger in a position to win the Victory Bell if it can knock off Snider, giving it the tiebreaker in the event the two tie atop the league with one loss.
The Homestead vs. Carroll game on Oct. 4 holds the same high stakes, but Blitz is betting on the two SAC powers at this point.
LEO AT EAST NOBLE, FRIDAY
The Knights have won at least a share of the Northeast 8 each of the past two years. With their play thus far, it does not look like Coach Luke Amstutz’s team wants any part of sharing the championship in 2019.
While there are competitive games remaining on the schedule, East Noble’s demolition of potential challenger DeKalb has Blitz thinking no one is at the Knights’ level. However, what if East Noble doesn’t come to play on a Friday night?
A team like Leo is good enough to make the Knights pay for a subpar performance. Could that be this Friday?
EAST NOBLE AT COLUMBIA CITY, OCT. 4
The final road regular-season game on East Noble’s schedule takes it to Columbia City, with Brett Fox fielding possibly his best offense since he took over the program in 2014.
A year ago, the Eagles went to Kendallville and battled the Knights for four quarters, eventually falling 28-14. Blitz feels that despite the offensive prowess of Columbia City, a wet night in northeast Indiana would be the best situation for Fox’s squad on Oct. 4, increasing the chances of a potential upset.
SOUTH ADAMS AT ADAMS CENTRAL, SEPT. 27
This one is obvious. Both teams will likely enter this game undefeated if they take care of business this week.
South Adams is reminiscent of what Adams Central has been the last few years, overpowering offensively and suffocating on defense. The 70 points in the first half last week against Heritage was, if anything, proof at how great the South Adams offense truly is, particularly against inferior foes.
Can Adams Central account for the athletes on the field for the Starfires? South Adams itself couldn’t do it against Adams Central’s teams the last few years.
ADAMS CENTRAL AT BLUFFTON, OCT. 11
In the event that the Flying Jets knock off South Adams in Week 6, the lone threat in the ACAC would be Coach Brent Kunkel’s Tigers.
Bluffton was handed a lopsided loss at the hands of South Adams earlier in the season, but Adams Central is more its speed in terms of type of play and personnel. It is a better matchup, but is it enough to give Bluffton a chance to beat the Flying Jets for the first time since 2009?
NECC – BIG SCHOOL DIVISION
WEST NOBLE AT GARRETT, SEPT. 27
The Railroaders were carved up by Churubusco’s run offense in Week 3, but could Coach Chris DePew’s team get healthy and make some adjustments to bottle up Brandon Pruitt and a punishing West Noble rushing attack?
It will be a tough task for Garrett, but one that isn’t totally out of the realm of possibility.
With West Noble having already knocked off Angola, this feels like the game that could be the most difficult left on the schedule inside the division.
NECC – SMALL SCHOOL DIVISION
CENTRAL NOBLE AT EASTSIDE, OCT. 11
You could argue that the most surprising win of the year thus far was Eastside going to Turtle Town and completely dismantling Churubusco in Week 4. That 42-14 victory put the Blazers in the driver’s seat in the division.
Central Noble got shut out by Fairfield and struggled with Prairie Heights over the last two weeks, but could be a sneaky tough opponent for Eastside in Week 8.
Coach Todd Mason’s squad must protect against a letdown the rest of the way, particularly in this one.
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