It is the penultimate week of the regular season, with some teams trying to wrap up conference championships and others eager for the playoffs and a new start.
With weather potentially being a factor tonight, Outside the Huddle is breaking down some players to watch across the area who could make big impacts.
JEREMIAH GREEN, NORTHROP
The senior has had two games in which he has run for 160-plus yards this season, going for 162 against Wayne and 181 while taking on Bishop Luers. Coincidentally, both of those games were wins for the Bruins.
If this game against North Side is played in the rain on a sloppy Chambers Field surface, the running game will become even more paramount. If the Bruins can get Green and fellow running back Damarius Cohen going, it could be the boost Northrop needs to win and clinch its first winning regular season in 13 years.
MAXWELL BURNEY, SOUTH SIDE
Neither South Side or Bishop Luers have been able to muster up much in the way of success running the football this season. Both teams average less than 3.5 yards per rush. The Archers’ leading rusher has just 133 total ground yardage on the year.
Burney, a junior, leads the Archers in tackles for loss with six from his defensive end spot along with 38 tackles. This game will likely come down to which team can move the chains on the ground. Expect Burney to play a big part for the Archers if they can shut down the Knights.
DRE WRIGHT, NEW HAVEN
If the Bulldogs are going to have any hope of knocking off East Noble in Kendallville, they will need a huge game from Wright.
The junior leads New Haven in rushing, but more importantly is a terror at middle linebacker for the Bulldogs. He paces the defense in both tackles (37) and sacks (four), inflicting some serious damage to offenses with his 6-foot-1, 220-pound frame.
New Haven is going to need some turnovers tonight to help its cause. Wright could be in the mix to cause a few.
CODY MITTLESTEDT, BLUFFTON
The junior averages 184 all-purpose yards per game for the Tigers. That includes being the team’s leading rusher, one of its top receivers and a danger in the return game.
Bluffton is looking to beat Adams Central and lay claim to the second spot in the ACAC. That may not sound like much, but consider that Bluffton is seeking its seventh win of the year tonight, a regular-season victory total that the program hasn’t reached since it won 10 games in 1981.
With a big night from Mittlestedt, the Tigers could earn that win No. 7.
JAKE FULK, CHURUBUSCO
The ‘Busco running back conceivably could be on this list each week. So he goes, so go the Eagles.
The senior averages 176 yards per game on the ground. His second-lowest rushing total in a game was a 133-yard performance at Garrett. The lowest? Eastside holding him to 36 yards on 14 carries, which just so happened to be Churubusco’s lone loss of the season.
If Fulk can run over West Noble tonight, the Eagles have a chance to hand the Chargers their first loss of the year.