While the expectation in 2019 was that West Noble was going to be pretty good, no one saw the Chargers going undefeated in the regular season and capturing its first NECC Big School Division title since 2014.
What does 2020 hold? Allow Blitz to break it down.
West Noble fans will not like to see this, but Blitz feels that Angola bounces back in 2020 after finishing 4-6 a year ago.
Yes, the Hornets did lose some key pieces, but Tucker Hasselman is back in Year 2 as a starting quarterback and wideout Gage King should have a huge year after being named First Team All-NECC last season.
How quick people forget back-to-back undefeated regular seasons out of Angola just a few years ago. After a hiccup last year, the Hornets should be back atop the division.
While the Chargers may slip a bit, they aren’t going away. No Brandon Pruitt, Josh Gross and Kyle Mawhorter hurts, but it does present opportunities for less-heralded talent.
Braxton Pruitt, Brandon’s younger brother, will be a huge asset as a junior, and he should have enough help to challenge for the division again.
The Falcons went from a winless season to capturing six wins a year ago, an impressive achievement under Coach Matt Thacker.
But uncertainty reigns with Fairfield as their opening-week game has been postponed to the coronavirus. The hope is that the Falcons are back on the field for Week 2 or 3, but the situation is fluid in Elkhart County.
Middle linebacker Carson Abramson was a First Team All-NECC pick last year and will be one to watch.
The Railroaders have amassed just five wins over the last two seasons, making 2020 a pivotal year for the program.
Last year, Coach Chris DePew’s team was hit hard by the injury bug and played some games while being down to third and fourth string players at certain spots.
Garrett should be improved in 2020 but does have to replace its starting quarterback and leading rusher. Tyler Walden is a name to keep an eye on on both sides of the ball.
Ryan O’Shea takes over the program from longtime coach Keith Thompson after a two-win campaign. This will likely be a transition year for the Lakers, although they have some pieces in place to be a tough out on some Fridays.
Tucker Hasselman, senior, Angola: Now in his second season at the starting quarterback spot for the Hornets, Hasselman should be able to lift the offense with his play and his leadership ability. He will have some weapons around him and if he can keep the turnovers down Angola should be able to pull out some close games, something it couldn’t do last year.
Braxton Pruitt, junior, West Noble: The middle Pruitt brother finished with double-digit tackles for loss (20) and sacks (13) last year, a preview of the wrecking ball he could be in 2020. As Pruitt grows more physical and aggressive, he will develop into the unstoppable force older brother Brandon was at running back and linebacker.
Carson Abramson, senior, Fairfield: The middle linebacker plays well above his listed frame of 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds. He can scoot from hash to hash and clean up plays that otherwise could break for big gains. Fairfield will need a lot of his experience and leadership defensively.
NECC BIG SCHOOL DIVISION PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
2. West Noble
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