What better way to prepare for the start of sectional play than have Blitz break it all down for you?
All this week, Outside the Huddle will look at every area sectional and preview what is on tap beginning this Friday.
We continue today with Class 3A and Sectional 26.
MISHAWAKA MARIAN (8-1)
The fourth-ranked team in the state is Blitz’s pick to win this sectional. Their lone loss was a few weeks ago to rival Mishawaka.
Despite that setback, the Knights are still allowing just under six points per game, easily the best in this sectional. They have accumulated 41 tackles for loss and 20 sacks through nine games. This defense is physical, it is nasty and it can be intimidating.
West Noble will have to deal with this team in the second round in all likelihood.
WEST NOBLE (9-0)
For the first time since 1981, West Noble emerged from a regular season unscathed.
There is no question that the Chargers are a good team, but are they good enough to beat Mishawaka Marian? Despite Blitz’s love for Josh Gross, Brandon Pruitt and the rest of the roster, it is a challenge unmatched in the regular season.
But West Noble cannot look ahead, as John Glenn on the road on Friday is no picnic.
TIPPECANOE VALLEY (6-3)
The Vikings limped to the finish line with losses to Maconaquah and Southwood over the final three weeks, but could still pose a threat. The problem is, a road date with South Bend Washington to open the sectional is a significant hurdle.
SOUTH BEND WASHINGTON (6-3)
First-year coach Todd Stammich led Washington to its first winning regular season in four years. The run game is tough, which could be advantageous if Friday weather the next few weeks is sub-par.
It has been awhile since the Jimmies were perennial state contenders, but the team is no slouch. A potential second-round matchup with South Bend Washington is a tad problematic considering Jimtown managed just three points in a Week 5 loss between the two.
The Railroaders ended a four-game losing streak in Week 9 with a road win at Central Noble.
Clayton Fieldon is a guy to watch if Garrett is going to be able to go on the road and beat Jimtown in the first round. The RB has gained 744 yards and scored six times on the ground this season.
JOHN GLENN (3-6)
The first American to orbit the Earth is also a high school in Indiana that plays football. Jimtown and Mishawaka Marian both handed the Falcons (why not a space nickname?) lopsided losses in the regular season.
With a better draw, it would not be inconceivable to think that the Lakers could get a win or two in this sectional. Unfortunately, Lakeland must head to Mishawaka Marian to begin the postseason.
That’s not a good matchup.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
ISAAC HIBBS, SENIOR, MISHAWAKA MARIAN
The Knights’ stout defense begins up front, with Hibbs in particular a big difference maker.
The 6-foot-3 defensive end has a team-high eight sacks on the year to go with nine TFL and 49 total tackles.
If West Noble advances to play the Knights, they have to find a way to marginalize Hibbs on the edge.
BRANDON PRUITT, SENIOR, WEST NOBLE
Not only has the senior rushed for 1,130 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Chargers, he leads the defense with 17 tackles for loss and also has seven sacks.
JACOB EHERENMAN, SENIOR, TIPPECANOE VALLEY
Eherenman finished the regular season with 46 tackles and six tackles for loss from his outside linebacker position. He will have to be on his game if the Vikings are to slow down South Bend Washington’s offense on the road in the first round.
CLAY CAMPBELL, SENIOR, JIMTOWN
Garrett will need to try and neutralize Campbell when it takes on the Jimmies in the first round. A defensive back who can close quickly in the run game, the senior has accumulated 71 tackles and six TFL. He also has thrown for over 600 yards as the starting quarterback.
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