Between some big-time performances to near upsets to perennial powers going down, the second week of the postseason provided quite a lot to talk about.
Blitz watched it all unfold in person or from afar. Here are his takes on sectional semifinal Friday.
• Every year Blitz hears every year from people whining about the perceived “317 bias” where Indy-area teams are favored over the rest of the state when it comes to rankings in the polls.
This bear is pretty sure his sometimes-pal Bounce can attest to the same thing on the basketball side.
What we saw on Friday night showed why the 317 deserves all the attention it gets.
Many looked at one-win Noblesville as a minor obstacle for Homestead. Some believed the biggest issue of the night would be the two-hour bus ride to the game.
Turns out, Blitz’s warnings about a close game for the Spartans were actually underestimating what the Millers could do. Noblesville led 13-0 in the first half and 24-21 late in regulation before some Homestead heroics (more on that shortly) tied the game then won it in OT.
Noblesville’s Elijah Butler went for 171 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, torching the Homestead D.
The Millers had played eight 6A teams and 5A power Cathedral in the regular season. They were battle-tested and far better than anyone up here gave them credit for.
You know how people talk about the SAC is largely better than the NECC and ACAC because of the teams they play? Yeah, that’s the Metropolitan and Hoosier Crossroads conferences in and around Indianapolis compared to the SAC. It’s time people start understanding and accepting that.
• Taking all that Blitz said above into consideration, what a comeback by the Spartans. The team was literally down to its final play of the season when Luke Goode found Griffin Little for an eight-yard touchdown with no time left on the clock. A Gunnar Fry PAT tied it and sent the game into OT, where Fry won it with a field goal.
Some people wanted to complain about Homestead putting three OL on the All-SAC first and second teams earlier this week. But watch that game-tying play. Goode is well-protected in the pocket and is easily able to go through his progressions and find Little.
We truly undervalue offensive lineman and their play in clutch situations, particularly on passing plays. Homestead’s big guys brought it when it counted on Friday.
• Carroll quarterback Jeffrey Becker was a big part of why the Chargers were able to knock off Snider 42-31 on Friday. (BLITZ: Jeffrey Becker the difference in Carroll’s win over Snider)
Another reason? Snider itself.
The Panthers shot themselves in the foot all night. While the offense did put up an astounding 547 yards of total offense (including 255 yards on the ground from Lenny Bennett), Snider was called for 15 penalties (and, in Blitz’s opinion, should have been nailed on a few more) for 138 yards. Several of those penalties resulted directly or indirectly in Carroll first downs that kept alive scoring drives.
Also, the Panthers turned the ball over four times, including the Chargers picking off three Jon Barnes Jr. passes.
Snider is known for its ball protection and propensity to not beat itself. It failed in both on Friday.
• Prior to Friday, Northrop’s last postseason win came over Marion in 2004. So you can imagine the Bruins were pretty excited to end a 14-game sectional losing streak with Friday’s 24-6 win over Goshen.
Once again, the story was the defense, with the unit holding the RedHawks to an average of 2.4 yards per rush and only 11 first downs.
Friday marked the second-consecutive game the Bruins have kept a team below 10 points. That had not happened since Weeks 6-7 in 2011.
•Bishop Dwenger’s run game powered the Saints to the 35-22 win at North Side. Patrick Finley was particularly good, rushing for 108 yards and two scores. That after lining up predominantly at wide receiver during the regular season.
With Finley, Devon Tippmann and Louis Tippmann, the Saints have three studs to ride in the backfield.
• Twenty-eight first quarter points ended East Noble’s game with DeKalb on Friday nearly before it began.
Some East Noble fans have been giving Blitz grief about his lack of coverage of the Knights. First off, East Noble is getting plenty. Second, the Knights will not be given a challenge until regional at least. Beating up NE8 team after NE8 team grows old. Don’t worry, East Noble will get its due in the near future.
• Leo was outgained 349-262 for the game against NorthWood and was held to just 38 passing yards, but the Lions found enough to pick up a 10-6 victory.
Once again, the story was Peyton Wall, who rushed for 204 yards on 21 attempts. The defense also forced four NorthWood turnovers, including an interception by, you guessed it, Peyton Wall.
Where does Wall rank among two-way players such as West Noble’s Brandon Pruitt and East Noble’s Bailey Parker?
• Jalen Vanderbosch may be another player to add to that “best two-way players” list. He picked off another pass in Friday’s 17-14 victory for Concordia over Norwell, taking it back for a touchdown.
That gives Vanderbosch four interceptions in the last two weeks and six on the year.
The senior also leads the Cadets in receptions (43), receiving yards (686) and receiving touchdowns (six).
• West Noble can’t be happy with the outcome of their season, but their 10-0 run was impressive and the Chargers have a lot good to look back on. Their ability to put Mishawaka Marian on the ropes quickly is a testament to their blue collar work ethic.
Blitz was hoping they’d get to continue their season, but coach Monte Mawhorter‘s group was impressive all year.
• Fairfield won its only sectional in program history back in 2009, which just so happened to be the last time the Falcons played for a sectional title up until this year.
Can Fairfield contend with Eastside next Friday? The two teams did not meet in NECC play but the Blazers appear to have a decided edge. But ask Bluffton how it went to be favored to beat Fairfield in the sectional.
• One player missing from the lineup for South Adams in its 28-6 victory over Monroe Central was Drew Stutzman. The Starfires’ leading receiver was injured in practice and will miss a few weeks, but should be able to return if South Adams advances deep into the playoffs.
South Adams will miss him, with Stutzman having 32 receptions for 766 yards and 16 TDs through the air.
• Blake Heyerly and Alex Currie have been a deadly 1-2 combo at running back for Adams Central all season long. Heyerly had looked exceptional the last few weeks, but Friday was Currie’s time to shine.
The sophomore carried the ball 21 times for 195 yards and a touchdown, leading the way on the ground on a night in which the Flying Jets put up 370 rushing yards in a 48-22 drubbing of North Miami.
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