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 27.
CONCORDIA LUTHERAN (4-5)
In 2017, a Cadets team that went 4-5 in the regular came within a touchdown of beating Bishop Luers and winning a sectional title.
In 2013, a 5-4 Concordia squad put together three straight wins to win a sectional, then took West Lafayette to the brink in regional play.
Point is, throw out the record when it comes to Concordia and its ability to win in the 3A playoffs.
With Amir Drew and a host of wide receivers, Concordia has more offensive talent than anyone else in this field. That is enough to make them the favorite in Blitz’s mind, but winning a title isn’t going to be easy.
Yeah, that part about it not being easy for Concordia? Consider Maconaquah hurdle No. 1.
The Cadets must travel to Miami County this Friday to take on the Braves, a team that has won seven straight games and gave undefeated Southwood its toughest test of the regular season, a 20-17 battle in Week 1.
Coach Austin Colby has led the program to 16 wins in his two years at the helm on the back of a rushing attack that has put up 2,774 yards and 34 touchdowns on the ground.
It’s simple. If Maconaquah can run the ball effectively on Friday, it beats Concordia. If it can’t, the Cadets win.
The Knights are a sectional contender? Blitz thinks so. Three of Norwell’s five losses came by four points or less, including the epic 3-2 game against Leo in Week 3.
Blitz watched the Knights defense shut down the DeKalb offense for a half in Week 7 before the Barons got going and won by four.
Eli Riley is an underrated quarterback and can make some plays. The Knights get winless Bellmont to open sectional then will get the Concordia-Maconaquah winner. Bellmont was the surprise in this sectional last year. Can another NE8 team turn some heads?
OAK HILL (4-5)
Bud Ozmun is the kind of coach that will have his team as prepared as anyone entering the playoffs. Now in his 21st season, the leader of the Golden Eagles has a solid, but not overly powerful, team.
The Golden Eagles enter the playoffs riding a three-game winning streak, including last week’s road victory over a decent Alexandria squad. If Oak Hill can get past Peru in the first round, it should have an easy road to the sectional final, where anything can happen.
Speaking of the Tigers, at the very least they win this sectional when it comes to coach names, with Romison Saint-Louis having taken Peru from a winless 2018 to a four-win campaign this year.
The Tigers have a 1,000-yard passer and a 1,000-yard rusher, but is allowing close to 30 points per game.
It has been another struggle of a season for the Patriots, whose lone win came against Tri-County in Week 6.
Heritage actually opens against winless Northwestern at home, so it could get a win. But a defense allowing 40 points per game likely means a short stint overall in the postseason.
Before last week’s 19-point effort in a loss to Benton Central, the Tigers had only scored a total of 40 points all season.
A road trip to Heritage awaits to open sectional play.
Could the Braves shock the area again this year and win a few games in the playoffs after going winless in the regular season?
Anything is possible, but a team that has scored in double digits just once over the last seven weeks does not instill much confidence in Blitz.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
AMIR DREW, JUNIOR, CONCORDIA
Drew has just three games in which he has gone over the 100-yard mark in rushing, but he has nonetheless been as steady of a running back this year once again.
The junior enters the playoffs with 850 total yards on the ground and 12 touchdowns. He was a workhorse again last week with 20 carries against North Side, a staple of his prep career.
Expect him to be leaned on a lot as the playoffs begin.
CARTER LITTLE, JUNIOR, MACONAQUAH
As Maconaquah will need to slow down Drew in the first round, the Cadets will need to find an answer to Little.
The junior has rushed for 1,409 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Braves. He also lines up along the defensive front, meaning he isn’t afraid of a little contact. He has the ability to sway a game one way or the other with a big play out of the backfield.
ELI RILEY, JUNIOR, NORWELL
When it comes to huge numbers, Riley isn’t that guy. That’s OK, because he does what it takes to keep his team in games.
Riley doesn’t make much in the way of mistakes and he can make the big play when needed. Those two attributes are both key in a win-or-go-home scenario like the playoffs.
DAUNTE MAJORS, SENIOR, PERU
Majors has gone over the 200-yard mark three times out of the backfield for the Tigers on the ground, including last week’s 245-yard effort against North Miami.
The senior is also a starting safety for Peru on the back end of the defense. He is one to keep an eye on whether the Tigers are on defense or offense.
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