With the weather causing issues on Friday, Week 6 was a combination of dodging lightning, late starts and rescheduled games.
Luckily, you have your trusty friend Blitz to break down what happened of note over a period of two days of area football action.
• Some folks on social media were incredulous that games in the SAC started so late on Friday night, the latest of which was a 10 p.m. start time at Zollner Stadium for Bishop Dwenger and Concordia.
While Blitz agreed at first, he started thinking about it and came around to those in control waiting instead of rescheduling games for Saturday.
First off, these are high school kids, they can handle the late nights. Second of all, the situation with officials is dire. There simply aren’t enough of them. While some conferences in the area play their JV games on Saturdays, the SAC does not. So it wasn’t a simple move to cancel the JV contests and use those officiating crews.
In one instance, the Northrop vs. Bishop Luers game could not be played earlier than 7 p.m. on Saturday because the officiating crew was already committed to working the Heritage vs. Tri-County game at 1 p.m.
In short, the lack of officials is making rescheduling games extremely difficult.
• Bishop Dwenger had scored just 25 total points in weeks 4 and 5 against Carroll and Homestead, but bounced back in a 33-14 victory over Concordia.
Most encouraging was Brenden Lytle’s 200-yard, two-touchdown effort behind center. The passing game struggled against the Chargers and Spartans, particularly in big plays. Lytle’s 66-yard touchdown to Henry O’Keefe was a good change of pace in that regard against the Cadets.
Not bad for a game that didn’t get over until 12:10 a.m. Saturday morning.
• Kudos to Northrop, which at 4-2 has its best record through six weeks since Matt Stinson’s 2003 team won eight games.
The 13-play, 79-yard drive midway through the fourth quarter that resulted in a Tarik Bajgorik 19-yard field goal proved to be the difference for the Bruins on Saturday night in a one-point win at Bishop Luers.
• Can we crown Layton Mitchell of Carroll as the SAC’s best wide receiver? Sure, other wideouts have more college interest, but Mitchell performs in every game he is in, most recently on Saturday against South Side when he hauled in eight receptions for 143 yards.
While the Archers did hold Mitchell without a touchdown for the second straight week, the senior still has eight TDs through the air and has been one of the most consistent wide receivers in the area all year.
• Luke Goode threw his first INT of the season on Friday against North Side but he also notched a trio of TD passes and 358 yards in Homestead’s 47-21 win.
However, the greatest individual effort from that game may have been Legends running back Alex Holliday-Robinson. The senior rushed for 192 yards and a touchdown on 22 touches, all while starting quarterback Duce Taylor was sidelined due to injury.
With Homestead keying on the run game due to freshman Brashawn Bassett starting at QB for the Legends, Holliday-Robinson needed to work for his yardage, yet still averaged over eight yards per touch for a North team that continues to get better with each passing week.
• How about some love for New Haven?
After an 0-4 start, the Bulldogs have won two straight lopsided games over solid teams Norwell and Columbia City.
The key on Friday? A defense that scored three times, with interception returns by Trevor Reed and Nijae Fields-Lewis and a fumble scoop and score by Isaac Carswell.
We knew that New Haven had too much talent to stay down for long. With a game at East Noble looming in Week 8, can the Bulldogs continue to play spoiler?
• DeKalb did not let an early deficit get it down for long at Huntington North last Friday, winning 26-7 to move to 5-1.
The offense was on point as usual, but it was the defense that impressed Blitz in this one, particularly Jase Griffith. The defensive end finished with 13 tackles, five(!) sacks, seven TFL and recoveries of both a fumble and an onside kick.
Now that’s a night.
• Bailey Parker’s 223 yards passing outgained Norwell’s entire offensive output (218 yards) on Friday night, the latest exceptional performance from the East Noble senior.
Parker wasn’t perfect, throwing a pair of interceptions. However, he picked off two passes on defense, effectively making up for his miscues.
• Let’s hear it for Heritage getting its first win of the year, a 35-6 winner over Tri-County on Saturday afternoon.
Gage Pritchard showed out with 108 yards rushing and a touchdown on nine carries. Hopefully this is the confidence boost that the Patriots needed.
• With all the talk about how good South Adams is, some Starfires faithful have pointed to recent years of success, as if we are “slighting” South Adams’ accomplishments like a sectional title in 2016 and a trip to semi-state in 2014.
While those teams were good, they all suffered multiple losses in the regular season. The 2014 team was 3-6 in the regular season. A year prior, the Starfires went 2-7 then won a sectional title.
This team is different. This squad could beat some teams in the lower third of the SAC and NE8.
South Adams should not only win its first ACAC championship since 1993, it should go undefeated in the regular season for the first time since that very same year.
This Starfires squad has no equal this century and is reminiscent of the 1990-93 squads under Coach Kirk Sorg.
• Bluffton is 5-1 on the year for the first time since 2012. That team ended the year with four straight losses to finish at .500. Don’t expect a repeat of that this year, with Heritage and Lakeland both winnable games and a Week 8 showdown at Adams Central that is very intriguing to Blitz.
Cody Middlestedt’s 191-yard, four-touchdown effort at running back was exceptional. He also added a touchdown reception.
• Blitz had be warned by a to-be-unnamed former Adams Central player that Blake Heyerly (main image) could be the future for the Flying Jets. I’m getting there with that opinion too. Heyerly was strong on the ground early in their loss to South Adams and could be considered one of the best punters in the area after he was able to boom several that either pinned the Starfires deep in their own territory or go into the end zone for touchbacks. 50-plus yard punts are at a premium.
• The Angola defense held Fairfield to just 13 yards on 20 first-half plays in its 48-16 rout of the Falcons on Saturday.
While those stats may not stand out to most considering the competition, it is light years ahead of how the Hornets looked to start the season. Don’t forget that Angola allowed 33 or more points in each of its first four games.
In wins over Lakeland and Fairfield the last two weeks, Angola has allowed a total of 28 points.
• West Noble is now 6-0 for the first time since 1981. That squad lost to Adams Central in the postseason.
This year the Chargers should have no trouble locking up the NECC Big School Division, but can they match up against fellow undefeated Mishawaka Marian in a potential sectional matchup? Blitz hasn’t seen enough from either team to warrant an accurate prediction quite yet.
• Churubusco’s 62 points put up on Saturday against Fremont is the most it has scored since a 62-8 drubbing of Fairfield last year.
Gage Kelly and Jake Fulk combined for 403 all-purpose yards. Again, as that duo goes, so do the Eagles.
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