Technically, Week 7 of the high school football season is not over, with Woodlan traveling to Ohio to take on Lima Central Catholic on Saturday.
But unlike last week, the majority of games were played on Friday, giving Blitz plenty to break down, from rivalry week in the SAC to some standout performances across the region.
• Could Concordia make a run in the 3A playoffs? The Cadets have been a team that has run under the radar for the majority of the season, but has the offensive firepower to be a dangerous out in the playoffs.
Amir Drew has now eclipsed 100 yards rushing in each of the last four games, helping to open up opportunities in the pass game for Brandon Davis, who has solid receivers that have helped him grow comfortable as the season has gone on.
• Bishop Dwenger’s dominance of rival Bishop Luers was complete in a 47-0 victory. The Knights were held to just seven first downs and 123 yards of total offense.
Meanwhile, the Saints put up over 500 yards of offense. Brenden Lytle needed just eight completed passes to amass 310 yards through the air. That’s an average of 38.7 yards per completion.
It is the first shutout in the Battle of the Bishops since Dwenger won 62-0 in 2009.
• Are people forgetting about Snider because their one loss means that they won’t be ringing the victory bell this season? That would seem to be a silly thing to do seeing as how they are handling their business just find since their loss to Homestead. The impressive thing about this team is that they are sustaining success by committee. There isn’t “THE” star guy for the Panthers, but there are different guys stepping up each week.
Friday, in a rivalry win over Northrop at the two teams’ shared Spuller Stadium, JD Wells was able to insert himself by scoring on both of his receptions from Jon Barnes Jr., the Panthers steady hand at quarterback. Gianini Belizaire had two of his team’s four sacks, Jayshawn Underwood added another interception to his season total and Markell Keal turned a fumble recovery into a 30 yard romp for a touchdown.
Snider doesn’t just beat you one way. That is an important tidbit to remember as they face both of the Bishops and then prepare for possible Sectional rematches with Homestead and Carroll.
• It was the complete opposite in the Totem Pole Game, with South Side and North Side battling in the final seconds, with the Legends earning a 17-16 victory.
North’s go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter was on a 57-yard touchdown pass from Duce Taylor to Jordan Turner. On the play, Taylor shook off a sack attempt, then stepped up into the pocket as it was collapsing and threw downfield to Turner, who hauled in the pass and ran the final 10 yards for the score.
The junior Taylor is wise above his years when it comes to feeling the pocket and staying in it under pressure while keeping his eyes locked in downfield. Some young QBs tend to scramble after they go through their progressions once. Taylor won’t consider that until all other options are exhausted.
Friday’s game was the first Totem Pole Game to be decided by one point since a 7-6 South Side victory in 1981.
• Homestead’s Jared Kistler has set his season highs for receiving yards in each of the past three games. Friday against Carroll was his biggest game of the year, going for 185 yards and a touchdown on just five catches.
The junior is a rangy target at 6-foot-4 and continues to build a rapport with fellow junior Luke Goode.
• Landon Miller did not score any touchdowns on Friday for DeKalb in its 13-9 victory over Norwell, but he did rack up 189 yards on 24 carries for the Barons.
It was a ball-control type game in Waterloo. Norwell blocked a punt in the end zone for a safety to start the scoring, then added a touchdown later on as it consumed clock. But four Knights turnovers killed other opportunities for points, and DeKalb gained the edge by leaning on the running game in the second half with Miller and Tanner Jack (pictured above with teammate No. 32 Charlie Fuleki).
For all the ups and downs, high scoring games, nice wins, a tough loss that DeKalb has put together so far, Blitz was glad to be in Waterloo on Friday for a really quality comeback after spending much of the game down 9-0. It shows that the Barons are ready to battle against adversity with second place (and maybe a share of a title) still open in the NE8 and also that chance at a Sectional rematch with East Noble.
• Teams in the NE8 have lined up to give East Noble a game, with no one really coming close until Columbia City on Friday.
The final score of 28-7 was not indicative of how close this game was in the first half, with the game tied at 7 at the break.
The Eagles accumulated 330 yards of total offense, pretty impressive despite scoring just seven points. Greg Bolt is one of the better sophomore quarterbacks around, but still struggles with turnovers as he tossed a pair of picks in defeat.
The difference once again was Bailey Parker, who was involved in three of East Noble’s four TDs.
• Two teams began the season 0-4 but have now won three straight – New Haven and Angola. All of a sudden, Blitz is considering both of them to make some noise over the next month.
The Bulldogs travel to Kendallville next week with their shot at East Noble. Could Coach Jimmy Linn’s team give the Knights a challenge? The Bulldogs are finding ways to significantly change games with their defense and special teams. Friday against Bellmont, they had a 55 yard punt return touchdown from Nijae Fields-Lewis, a 27 yard fumble return touchdown from Isaac Carswell AND a 27 yard interception return for a score by Howard Chandler.
Meanwhile, Angola’s first four losses came to teams that entered Week 7 a collective 22-2. The Hornets are finding themselves. Is it enough to be a tough out in the playoffs? Sure trending that way.
• If anyone is ready to take advantage of New Haven’s battle with East Noble, it is Leo who is still ready to try and claim a slice of the NE8 pie. While Blitz would love to say Peyton Wall‘s 131 yards on just six rushes against Huntington North was the most impressive performance, I can’t look past Jackson Barbour.
The sophomore has been looking to find his mojo all season and has a high success rate, but he put it all together on Friday with a first 200-plus yard games throwing the ball.
• South Adams averaged 10.8 yards PER PLAY in its 42-0 blanking of Jay County.
The Starfires continue to astound Blitz each and every week with their offensive prowess. James Arnold went 15-of-19 for 326 yards and four scores, with Christian Summersett adding 69 yards and two scores on the ground.
Can Woodlan challenge South Adams next week?
• Cody Middlestedt was held in check by Heritage in Friday’s 48-22 victory for Bluffton. Turns out it was Hayden Nern’s time to shine, with the quarterback throwing just three incompletions and finishing with 308 passing yards and five touchdowns, connecting often with his go-to target Kain Thornton.
The Tigers last won a sectional in 1988. Keep an eye on this team in a few weeks, with Coach Brent Kunkel’s squad now 6-1.
• Blake Heyerly picked up 8 tackles and ran for 108 yards in Adams Central’s win over Southern Wells. The Flying Jets bounced back strong from their first loss of the year. It is going to take Heyerly making plays on both sides of the ball going forward to get the Jets to a Sectional title.
• Looking for a Game of the Week outside of Snider and Bishop Dwenger? Churubusco hosts undefeated West Noble in what could be a pretty good NECC clash. The Chargers are now 7-0 while the Eagles have lost just once, a hard defeat to Eastside.
Both divisions are pretty well wrapped up in the NECC, but there is intrigue when it comes to West Noble, Churubusco, Eastside and Angola in terms of their chances come playoff time.
• After his monstrous first couple of weeks, people seemed to lose track of Jake Fulk. That is crazy. He just ran for another 176 yards on Friday and now has an area best 1,237 yards for Churubusco by having six of seven games with more than 100 yards rushing. So let me leap some more praise on Fulk, we won’t look past the insane success he is having running the ball against virtually everyone.
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