One of the great things that Blitz enjoys about his job (other than dogging South Adams coach Grant Moser at every opportunity) is being able to watch the guys who don’t get a lot a pub make big impacts.
We all know about the top quarterbacks and running backs in the area, and Division I prospects, wherever the position, command a fair amount of the media attention.
But what about those guys doing work that don’t get a lot of attention? Blitz recently praised some of those players in the ACAC. Today, he is doing the same for the SAC.
GAGE RENBARGER, SENIOR, BISHOP DWENGER
The linebacker saw some action last year as a junior, finishing with 25 tackles and a couple tackles for loss, but with guys like T.J. McGarry, Jared Lee and Charlie Howe manning linebacker spots, Renbarger was not needed to shine consistently.
With all three of those guys now gone to graduation, Renbarger has risen to the occasion, helping to lead a Saints defense that may be better than last year’s unit. The senior leads the team with 10 TFL to go with 45 tackles and a trio of sacks.
Renbarger is a perfect example of a Bishop Dwenger player stepping up when his time came as a senior.
NICK BIRKMEIER, SENIOR, BISHOP LUERS
It hasn’t been the season that the Knights envisioned, with just a pair of victories through eight weeks. There have been some bright spots however, including Birkmeier, who has amassed 57 tackles and 10 TFL from his safety spot.
The tackles for loss number is indicative of how the Knights use Birkmeier, an athlete capable of attacking downhill towards the line of scrimmage and disrupting an opponent’s run game.
He also has a pair of blocked kicks, proving his worth on special teams.
LARRY SIBLE, SENIOR, CARROLL
Perhaps the biggest key to Carroll’s turnaround this season has been the consistent play up front from its big guys. Sible has been a mainstay on the defensive line all year as the Chargers have held opponents to an average just under 11 points per game.
Sible is versatile in that he can line up on the inside or outside for the Chargers. At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, he looks the part of a bruiser. He plays that part well, having notched 41 tackles, 12 TFL and five sacks through eight games.
SAM HUDSON, JUNIOR, CONCORDIA
Hudson saw action at running back against South Side in Week 1, but has shined on the defensive side of the ball since. Manning a linebacker spot, Hudson has amassed 37 tackles, 10 TFL and five sacks for the Cadets.
Hudson is deceptively big and quick. He stands 5-10 and 165 pounds, but plays bigger than his size and is good moving laterally and plowing through a ball carrier.
RYAN BURTON, JUNIOR, HOMESTEAD
The junior had not carried the ball since junior high school before being moved to running back last week to replace the injured Braeden Hardwick. All Burton did was rush for 102 yards and score all three Homestead touchdowns in a 24-0 victory over Wayne.
Burton had played on defense through most of his time at Homestead, primarily at safety. His versatility was showcased last Friday and will be key for the Spartans entering the playoffs.
DAMARIUS COWEN, JUNIOR, NORTHROP
A lot of praise is put on Northrop running back Jeremiah Green, and for good reason. Yet it is Cowen who through seven weeks had led the Bruins in rushing with 490 yards and four touchdowns.
Cowen has eclipsed the 100-yard mark three times this season, including against solid defenses of Carroll and Snider. Against the Panthers in Week 7, he rushed 15 times for 127 yards and a score.
JORDAN TURNER, SOPHOMORE, NORTH SIDE
Duce Taylor has gotten a fair amount of praise for North Side’s resurgence, but the junior quarterback has needed good play from wide receivers to put up the numbers he has.
Turner has been the most productive in that area, amassing 376 yards receiving and four touchdowns for the Legends. His biggest catch of the year came on a touchdown throw from Taylor midway through the fourth in the Totem Pole Game, helping the Legends to a 17-16 victory.
Turner also sees action on defense at times in the secondary, where he has a trio of pass breakups.
TAVIAN RUCKLOS, SENIOR, SNIDER
The leading tackler for the Panthers is Rucklos, a guy that not many have heard of but has made a big impact from his safety spot.
Entering Week 8, Rucklos had a team-high 43 tackles and has been one of the true unsung heroes for a Snider defense that is surrendering just over 16 points per game.
MAXWELL BURNEY, JUNIOR, SOUTH SIDE
Burney is a two-way lineman who has been quite disruptive up front for the Archers.
The junior 38 tackles, 6 TFL and a pair of sacks through eight games, all while being targeted as one of the primary defenders for South that must be accounted for by opposing offenses.
Burney’s nine-tackle, two-sack effort against Wayne helped the Archers to their lone win of the season thus far, a 46-35 win in Week 5.
REGGIE BLACKMON, SENIOR, WAYNE
It has been a rebuilding season for the Generals on the field, with a winless record after recording nine wins a year ago.
One positive on the defensive side of the ball for Wayne has been Reggie Blackmon. The senior edge player has been a beast, putting up 40 tackles, 13 TFL and nine sacks.
Blackmon won’t be around when Wayne ascends back up the SAC standings, but his leadership by example will be remember by the young bucks of the Generals going forward.
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