Blitz is a giving bear. He likes to hand out accolades, criticism and even a compliment or two (when he is in the mood, which is rarely).
Why wait until the end of the year to honor some of the top players, coaches and moments from the season? After five weeks, there is plenty to say about what we have seen this far.
Let’s review the first half with some awards.
DEKALB 41, ANGOLA 39, WEEK 1
Coach Pete Kempf’s post-game emotions said it all, with the Barons getting a marquee victory to begin the season.
No one could have predicted at the time that Angola would start the year 0-4, but even now this game stands as one of the best thus far.
DeKalb trailed 20-6 in the first half and didn’t take its final lead until 25 seconds left in the game when Landon Miller plowed into the end zone from the one.
However, there was still enough time for Angola to strike back, with Tucker Hasselman hitting Antonio Luevanos for a 62-yard score with 12 seconds remaining. On the ensuing two-point try as the Hornets looked to tie the game, Luevanos was stopped short of the goal line on a sweep to the outside.
Victory for the Barons, their first over Angola since 2015 and the end of a 19-game regular-season winning streak for the Hornets.
HONORABLE MENTION: Snider 21, Carroll 20, Week 2; Leo 3, Norwell 2, Week 3.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
AIDAN WANNER, SOUTH ADAMS
South Adams is loaded with talent, but the most valuable is Wanner because of his versatility.
The sophomore filled in for the injured James Arnold in Week 1, completing all seven of his passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns. Since then he has moved back to his wideout spot and leads the team with 331 receiving yards and his second with six touchdowns through the air.
Defensively, Wanner is tied for the team lead with four interceptions. Oh, and he also is the placekicker, making 28-of-31 PATs.
HONORABLE MENTION: Peyton Wall, Leo; Jake Fulk, Churubusco; Josh Gross, West Noble; Duce Taylor, North Side; Bailey Parker, East Noble; Devon Tippmann, Bishop Dwenger.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
BAILEY PARKER, EAST NOBLE
There should be no debate here.
Parker (main image) is averaging 330 yards of total offense per game for the undefeated Knights, who are the class of the NE8 (and it’s not really close).
The senior has thrown for over 1,000 yards and 13 TDs against just three interceptions. He has also run for nearly 600 yards and seven touchdowns.
Parker is also one of East Noble’s leading tacklers. He is not only one of the most valuable players around, he may very well be the best player in the area, PERIOD.
HONORABLE MENTION: Luke Goode, Homestead; Braeden Hardwick, Homestead; Jeffrey Becker, Carroll; Nick Miller, South Adams.
JEFFREY BECKER, CARROLL
We knew Becker was a talent, but as just a sophomore first-year starter in the SAC, Blitz was wary on how good he would be in 2019.
Turns out, the answer is very good. Becker has over 1,000 yards of total offense and 13 touchdowns through five weeks. While his stats are solid, his poise has been what has impressed Blitz the most. The sophomore stood in the pocket and made plays against Snider, something that isn’t easy to do for any quarterback, let alone a youngster.
The quarterback position at Carroll is settled for years to come.
HONORABLE MENTION: Layton Mitchell, Carroll; Landon Miller, DeKalb, Dillon Duff, Snider; Laban Davis, Eastside; Devan Newcomb, Huntington North.
COACH OF THE YEAR
CHAD ZOLMAN, HOMESTEAD
The Spartans did not come out of nowhere, per se. Most believed the SAC would be a three-worse race with Snider, Bishop Dwenger and Homestead.
But not many (other than Blitz) felt that the Spartans would be the best of the three, at least through the first half of the year.
Turns out, Coach Zolman and his staff worked their magic, coaching up an inexperienced offensive front that has protected Luke Goode and opened holes for Braeden Hardwick. The defense gave up 36 points to Snider last week, but has been largely impressive as well.
Homestead is the first team since 2000 to beat Bishop Dwenger and Snider in back-to-back weeks. That alone earns Zolman this award.
HONORABLE MENTION: Luke Amstutz, East Noble; Doug Dinan, Carroll; Pete Kempf, DeKalb; Grant Moser, South Adams.
WAYNE BEING WINLESS
After winning nine games a year ago with a stacked senior class leading the way, it was inevitable that the Generals would take a step back in 2019.
But no one could have predicted that Wayne would be 0-5 as we make the turn to the season’s second half. The Generals have been competitive, with Keshaun Fields looking like the stud he is and sophomore quarterback Aidan Meek showing promise, but the defense was struggled, allowing 40 points per game.
With Snider, Homestead and Carroll still on the schedule, Wayne still has some tough contests ahead.
HONORABLE MENTION: South Adams’ record-setting performances; Angola’s 0-4 start; Duce Taylor’s influence.
With a month left in the regular season, there is still plenty of football to play prior to the start of the playoffs.
That said, Blitz is always looking ahead. Who looks the part of a state contender? Who has the easiest road to Indy? The toughest?
Here is who we will be watching locally come Thanksgiving weekend:
1A: South Adams
5A: Bishop Dwenger
These opinions represent those of Blitz and Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Blitz on Twitter at Blitz_OTH