Homestead’s SAC championship last season gives the league three different title winners in the last three years.
Does that mean parity is coming to the SAC? Probably not.
Even so, there should be plenty of intrigue throughout Fort Wayne in 2020. Allow Blitz to break it all down for you.
No one in the conference returns the amount of production and experience that the Saints do. Brenden Lytle is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the area, while the trenches are filled with capable, physical players.
There could be some new wrinkles in what the Saints do with two new coordinators, but it will still be Bishop Dwenger football in that they are going to beat you at what they do best – running the football and playing superb defense.
There may be a lot to replace, but the offensive and defensive lines are loaded with talent and some experience. D1 prospects D.J. Moore and Domanick Moore will make their presences felt on a nightly basis, while a new quarterback and skill position players will be new but talented.
Overlook the Panthers at your own risk.
The Victory Bell resides off Homestead Road for the 2020 season after the Spartans captured their first-ever SAC championship.
What can they do for an encore?
Evan Ormsby has been entrusted to follow in Luke Goode’s footsteps at quarterback and the senior will have plenty of help. Braeden Hardwick is the best running back in the area, while Jared Kistler is a wideout who can command double teams.
Homestead’s greatest asset may be its linemen, particularly on offense.
The Chargers may be the most intriguing team in the league, even more so than North Side.
Jeff Becker returns at quarterback and could be this year’s Bailey Parker, someone who amasses close to 4,000 yards of total offense.
As teams like Snider and Homestead work in new quarterbacks and important pieces at the skill spots, Carroll may have the advantage, especially early in the season when it plays Snider in Week 2.
Could the Chargers become a first-time SAC champion like its rival Homestead did a season ago?
The Cadets have never won an SAC title, not even in 2016 when they won the 3A state championship.
So while this team may not compete for the league, it has enough to put a lot of people on notice in Class 3A.
The defense in particularly could be downright scary with the likes of Sam Hudson, Matt Goeglein and Kam Johnson seasoned veterans who can rival almost anyone at their respective positions.
Last year’s sectional championship season may have been a mere primer for 2020 for the Cadets.
Is Coach Mike Brevard’s program about to turn the corner? A strong senior class leads the way into what could be a pivotal 2020.
Once again, the schedule is daunting early on with Snider, Bishop Dwenger and Carroll on the docket to begin the season.
Is this a Victory Bell-contending team like the Ryan Hall-coached teams of the early 2010s? That may be a stretch, but this team has the talent and the experience to compete on most Friday nights.
The Bruins are notoriously difficult to predict due to being right in the meat of the SAC. Yet five wins a year ago has Coach Jason Doerffler’s squad trending upward.
Damarius Cowen is the best player in the SAC that no one knows about. If he is given room to maneuver, he can carve up even the best defenses around.
A solid junior class has Coach Roosevelt Norfleet feeling positive about his team entering 2020. There is always individual talent there, but can it collectively move together in a direction to improve?
Roosevelt Norfleet III will be someone to watch at the quarterback spot. But as always, South’s ability to compete will come down to its offensive and defensive fronts.
A three-win 2019 is unacceptable for a program with 11 state championships, and the Knights know they must rebound.
Good thing that Coach Kyle Lindsay has some talent to work with. The quarterback position appears to be solidified with junior Carson Clark leading the offense.
Once again, depth will be key for the Knights to survive a nine-week SAC slate.
No one is doubting that Coach Sherwood Haydock is the right choice to lead the Generals back to consistent SAC contention. Many forget that before a winless 2019, Wayne won nine games and took eventual 4A state champion Bishop Dwenger to the brink in the playoffs.
There is talent off Winchester Road, led by the likes of Ebon Person and Shawn Collins, but this year will be more about laying the foundation and weeding out those who aren’t committed to Haydock’s philosophy.
Braeden Hardwick, senior, Homestead: Hardwick’s game is multi faceted. His ability to start and stop on a dime may have no equal in the game. He averaged 6.8 yards per rush last year and showcased his versatility by hauling in 17 receptions as well. Hardwick is the best running back in the area. Of that you can be certain.
Jeff Becker, junior, Carroll: He threw for over 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns as a sophomore in the second-toughest conference in the state. That is impressive enough, but how Becker goes about dissecting defenses is even more impressive.
Quick feet and a feel for the pocket helps Becker escape pressure, while upper body strength and touch on his passes allows him to sling balls downfield on the run with relative ease.
Duce Taylor, senior, North Side: At 6-foot-1 and a touch over 180 pounds, Taylor is big enough to shake off lighter defenders and quick enough to evade others. While consistency could be better, it will likely improve as a senior thanks to off-season work.
North Side’s potential largely hinges on Taylor to make plays against some of the elite defenses in the SAC. Based on his past and his potential, that is highly probable.
Devon Tippmann, senior, Bishop Dwenger: On defense, Tippmann is fast from sideline to sideline and is as good as anyone around in blowing through holes around the line of scrimmage and finishing off ball carriers. He is also impressive in how he keeps his body squared up to the line of scrimmage and moves while keeping his eyes up and finishing. He finished 2019 with 106 tackles and 13 TFL.
He is also Bishop Dwenger’s top running back.
BLITZ’S SAC PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. Bishop Dwenger
5. North Side
6. Concordia Lutheran
8. Bishop Luers
9. South Side
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
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