Last year around this time, Blitz wrote a column about how the SAC has a tendency to fall into a yearly routine, with the same teams towards the top and the season becoming…boring.
While Homestead gave us some excitement in capturing its first-ever SAC regular-season football championship in 2019, the top four teams in the finishing order were Homestead, Bishop Dwenger, Snider and Carroll, the four “heavyweights” so to speak.
So you can imagine Blitz’s surprise and excitement over what transpired last Friday in the SAC.
North Side’s 30-point lambasting of Snider was its biggest victory over the Panthers in 32 years. The 47 points the Legends scored? The most ever by North against Snider in a series dating back to 1965.
Meanwhile, Northrop was across the county to the west getting its first-ever victory over Homestead, a 35-31 scorcher in which Damarius Cowen made himself known to the city with 34 rushes and close to 280 yards.
Not only were those two victories eyebrow raisers, they gave Blitz some hope that we will have some different teams in the mix this season atop the conference.
From 2004 to 2010, the SAC was dominated by two teams, with Bishop Dwenger winning four championships and Snider a pair. For the majority of those six years, the only game that truly mattered through the entire season was when the Saints and Panthers met up.
Make no mistake, watching the rivalry between Snider and Bishop Dwenger, one that continues to deliver high-stakes showdowns each and every year, was exciting. But Blitz also found it monotonous that year after year came down to the same game.
In recent seasons, the 2013 season stands out as one of the best in the last decade in the SAC. While Snider and Bishop Dwenger were in the mix, it was North Side that captured the Victory Bell, winning its final five league games – including beating Snider 27-13 – to be crowned champs.
In 2014, Scot Shaw’s Wayne Generals rose out of nowhere. Led by Keion and Deion Powers, Wayne captured a share of its first league championship in 21 years, with Bishop Luers and Snider also finishing 6-1 in the league.
Since 2014, no other Fort Wayne Community Schools program has captured an SAC championship outside of Snider, nor has Concordia Lutheran or Bishop Luers.
The influx of Carroll and Homestead into the SAC has helped the competitive balance, but only at the upper end of the league. Those two programs are consistent contenders with Snider and Bishop Dwenger, and are nearly always favored against the “lower half” of the conference.
So what does last Friday mean?
While it is unlikely that a seismic shift is upon us in which perennial powers like Snider sink and others rise, Blitz does welcome the chance that this year could be like a 2013 or 2014.
The SAC is at its best when it has seven or eight teams that can beat anybody in the conference in any given week. You’re always going to have a program or two that are struggling or in transition, but solid, strong teams makes the weekly grind of the SAC, which doesn’t have the luxury of being able to schedule scintillating non-conference matchups.
Can North Side beat Bishop Dwenger to go 2-0?
Can Concordia Lutheran take down Homestead and drop the Spartans to 0-2?
Will Northrop improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2006?
Week 2 has blessed us with some storylines. Let’s hope for the sake of variety (and interest) that unpredictability continues.
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