Whew. We did it. We got through the first week of high school football. And I don’t know about all of you, but Blitz feels amazing. The fresh air, the whistles, the sultry sounds of Tim Atkinson’s voice on Summit City Sports broadcasts.
Yes, it is football season again.
And for those uninitiated, yours truly will be here every weekend to wrap up the Friday night that was. Looking back at some of the top plays, stats, fun facts and more from game day and providing my own opinion about it all, conference by conference.
• For the first time since 2010, the Northrop Bruins are 1-0 after beating Homestead…for the first time ever. Feel free to debate: is that the biggest news/upset out of week one? There are a lot of layers to this story. Yes, Homestead was missing several starters. But, despite what some may think on Twitter, I take nothing away from Northrop. They sit, much in the same vein as North Side, in building a program up the last few years that just needed a big win over an SAC power. Consider that done.
Even if Homestead was missing a few players, the Bruins took full advantage. They did so by just letting Damarius Cowen do his thing, hit his spots and take off for 276 yards. Take nothing away from Northrop in this win, it is big.
• Nobody is taking anything away from North Side either. High hype in the preseason and they followed through week one with a 47-17 win over Snider. Duce Taylor slung the long ball well and though there were discrepancies all over in his actual yardage, it was well over 300 yards. It just means that the bar is raised now. People were talking, now they talk more. Beat Bishop Dwenger next week and the consistency matters too. Blitz isn’t in to all the keyboard warrior ‘disrespect’ talk, North Side did their talking on the field this week and they have a ton of high quality pieces. Blitz was particularly impressed with Ja’suan Lambert; this could make them the most multi-faceted Legend offense in years.
• Let us also not forget that Bishop Dwenger, Carroll and Concordia just did what they were supposed to. Just because something is expected doesn’t make it any less impressive.
For the Saints, Brenden Lytle looked poised throwing the ball and has some nice targets including the reliability of Rocco Ciocca, who Outside the Huddle was particularly impressed by and could be a big game receiver this year. Lytle was 11-of-17 for 173 yards and four touchdowns with Ciocca being the target for 6 of those passes and 129 of those yards. That is going to be a really fun tandem moving forward. Defensively the Saints were stout too with John Michael Fabini recording three sacks on Wayne while Colin Vance recored the single interception for Bishop Dwenger.
Speaking of possible breakout receivers, it seems likes Carroll just lends themselves to those guys every single season. Exit Layton Mitchell, enter Mason Englert. After his six receptions for 149 yards, we have another playmaker on our hands to compliment Jeff Becker.
And the poster boy for maybe not enough praise because we’ve just expected him to excel consistently is Amir Drew at Concordia. Add another 170 yards, 24 attempts and three scores to his stellar career. Maybe we need to start respecting his name more and more. When you just expect a game like that out of someone, it says something about their resume.
• Did East Noble miss a beat? Certainly not defensively. The Knights ran through Plymouth, a program that isn’t traditionally one you run through. A big part of that was the night from Rowan Zolman, who became a player to watch last season but broke out week one this year. Zolman picked off two passes and scored twice, once on offense and once on a fumble recovery. His long frame is going to make him dangerous weekly on both sides of the ball. Cole Schupbach and Nolan Rhaodes also picked off passes for the high flying Knights ‘D.’ And offense without Bailey Parker? It wasn’t too shabby either with Justin Marcellus settling in on the ground and Dalton Stinson throwing for 107 yards on nine completions.
• Blitz promised my friends at ‘Barstool New Haven‘ I hadn’t forgot about the Bulldogs and their buzzsaw through week one. Jakar Williams was one of my favorite quarterbacks coming into the season and the first step Lane Woodson III is getting on coverage makes Williams that much scarier because he can just hurl it and who is going to catch Woodson and stop him from hauling those passes in? Woodson caught three passes for 171 yards and scored on all of them. New poster boy for efficiency?
And not to forget Dre Wright, who was arguably the area’s best defensive player on week one, registering 10 tackles with five of them for loss against Garrett. One last note on New Haven: one catch for 20 yards. Doesn’t seem like much, but something about seeing the name of basketball standout Thomas Latham on the stat sheet I like; he’s a big body with an intelligence about him.
• There isn’t much to say for Leo after a 50-0 win over Woodlan. They did what they should have done and did it by committee. The Lions had 14 different guys run the ball for 239 yards in Mason Sheron‘s absence. Next week is a bigger test, but the Lion defense looks ready after holding Woodlan to just 1.9 yards per play.
• Shutting out Busco isn’t easy. But it makes sense that Columbia City welcomed fans and itself to a new stadium by doing that. Biggest question out of this game, by the end of the year, is TJ Bedwell going to be able to throw a touchdown pass to himself? Because he seems like he can just do a lot of everything.
• Norwell was systematic in their win over Jay County. Quarters of 14, 14, 7 and 7 indicated a balanced approach for the Knights. They are one team that has some hype and is making sure they take the right steps to live up to it. Max Ringger led the way with 163 yards on the ground on 18 carries.
• Does Bluffton have a duel-threat quarterback on their hands? The ACAC is a land of good and really good pocket first passers, but Hayden Nern ran the ball as well as he threw it in a win over Northfield. Mobility from Nern could go a long way for Bluffton after his 40 yard, three touchdown move on the ground.
• Oh yeah, that really good pocket passer. As last season carries over, one of my favorite things each week is waiting for South Adams‘ stats to hit my inbox on Friday night. Needless to say, they are often gaudy. For quarterback James Arnold, just 22-of-28 passing for 346 yards in week one against Winchester. No biggie. Arnold slings the ball so well and has receivers that can haul in a bundle including Drew Stutzman‘s seven receptions. Christian Summersett also ran for 135 yards. Surprise, surprise, the Starfires are really good again.
• The youngest head coach in the state got a rare win on Friday in a Noble County battle. Hayden Kilgore brought the victory bell from Central Noble‘s rivalry game with West Noble back to Albion for the first time since 2015 and the second time ever. Sawyer Yoder threw for two scores and broke off for a 70 yard run on another for the Cougars in a moderate upset over West Noble.
• 484 total yards of offense including three guys that ran for over 50 yards. That is what Eastside threw out week one. To think, they were just growing last year at this time and have so many of their skill position weapons back now. Laban Davis was efficient, hitting 7-of-9 passes and then running for a team high 100 yards. I have a feeling the Blazers are just getting warmed up.
• No repeating a struggling start for Angola this year. We expected another high scoring showdown with DeKalb, but for the Hornets to make a statement and maybe put Leo on notice for week 2? That wasn’t in our tarot cards. Tucker Hasselman was moving on the ground from the quarterback spot and DeKalb struggled to make reads on him because of that. The Hornets’ 55 points is the most they’ve scored since September 21, 2018 and the highest season opening point total for them since 2012.
• Warsaw RAN THE BALL for 499 yards. There are plenty of teams who didn’t even sniff 499 yards of total offense week one; didn’t come close. The Tigers ran that on the legs of six guys with Aaron Greene‘s 267 and Juan Jaramillo‘s 120 leading the way. The Tigers threw for exactly zero yards. Guess we know their gameplan, but with the kind of efficiency and volume they had week one, how do you stop that ground game?
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