Sectional championships are on the line tonight in what will be a cold fall night under the lights.
Who will need to survive the chills and rise to the occasion tonight? We take a look.
JEFFREY BECKER, CARROLL
The sophomore threw for a season-high 324 yards in last week’s victory over Snider. He may have to have one of those nights tonight at Homestead if the Chargers are going to have a shot against their rival.
What makes Becker so difficult to defend is his improvisation in the pocket. If a play breaks down, he can scramble and make any number of plays on the run, from aiming towards the first down marker on the sideline to throwing deep as his body carries him in a different direction.
It is that unpredictability that most concerns defensive coordinators when facing Becker.
JACKSON BARBOUR, LEO
Can the Lions keep up with East Noble on the scoreboard tonight in Kendallville? That may be up to Barbour, who has settled in as a pretty impressive sophomore quarterback in his own right for Leo.
The all-around athleticism of a Becker is not yet there for Barbour, but he can still make some plays. If the Lions are going to have any chance against the Knights, their sophomore quarterback needs to make some big throws in some big spots.
JALEN VANDERBOSCH, CONCORDIA LUTHERAN
The senior safety has been as disruptive as it comes in the secondary recently for the Cadets, picking off two passes in each of the past three weeks, including a pair last week against Norwell.
Peru is going to have to go to the air at times to have a shot at Concordia, as the Cadets should be able to bottle up the run for the most part. That’s where Vanderbosch comes in, an upperclassman who has that unique ability to diagram a play and make a jump on the ball quickly.
He could also impact tonight’s game on offense, where he leads the Cadets in receptions (43) and yards (686).
LANE CLECKNER, EASTSIDE
The junior terrorized the Bishop Luers offense last Friday, amassing 14 tackles, five tackles for loss and a pair of sacks. What does he do for an encore against Fairfield tonight?
Expect Fairfield to try and establish a running game that can limit Eastside’s possessions and move the ball effectively. Cleckner will have a big role in stopping that effort, having a total of 19 tackles for loss and four fumble recoveries this year.
ALEX CURRIE, ADAMS CENTRAL
If it isn’t Blake Heyerly running over opponents for the Flying Jets, then it is the sophomore Currie, who rushed for 195 yards on 21 carries a week ago.
Northfield will present a challenge defensively after the Norse bottled up previously-undefeated Southwood in Week 11. But with so many weapons for Adams Central, it will be tough to account for all of them on every play.
Expect Currie to get his chances to break a big play, along with Heyerly. And don’t forget quarterback Dallas Schwaller as well.