BEAR NECESSITIES: What you need to take from Week 2


Adams Central’s Alex Currie cuts through the Eastside defense during an August 28 game.

Every week, you buddy Blitz puts a wrap on Friday Night Lights with all you need to know from the area’s games. We take a look at some of the top plays, stats, fun facts and more conference by conference, with a bit of flair as only Blitz can provide.


Bishop Dwenger quarterback Brenden Lytle has already built quite the rapport with junior Rocco Ciocca. Through two games, the wideout has 12 receptions for 252 yards and a pair of touchdowns. 

The Lytle-to-Ciocca connection came up big time and again on Friday night at North Side. The duo converted at least three third-and-long situations over the course of the night, including one late in the second quarter that gave the Saints a first-and-goal in which they eventually scored. 

“Since last year to this year, that kid has grown so much,” said Lytle about Ciocca. “I have all the confidence in him. He will give 100 percent every time.”

Ciocca is good at finding the empty space on the field to get open, but he is most impressive downfield when he finds the ball, positions his body and shields the defender from getting to the pass, as much preventing any type of pass break up or INT as catching the ball. 

• A touching bit of sportsmanship was on display following the Bishop Dwenger-North Side game. With no post-game handshakes allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions, Bishop Dwenger stood in a line on the hash and saluted North with helmets held aloft. The Legends reciprocated, with a few hugs between players and a conversation of mutual respect between coaches Jason Garrett and Mike Brevard

One quote overheard said it best as a North Side player walked away from Bishop Dwenger. 

“Good game Dwenger, we will see you again in sectionals.”

• Let’s get it out of the way and say Damarius Cowen has been the best running back in the area through two weeks. Another 200-plus yard effort on Friday has helped Northrop to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2006. 

But do not overlook the play of the Northrop defense, in particular freshman Julante Hinton. The rookie defensive end has 4.5 sacks through the first two weeks and nearly scored on a fumble return against South.

Interestingly, the Northrop staff did not even know who he was until July, when he started to show up to workouts. Coaches initially thought he was a junior. 

• In Carroll‘s last three wins over Snider, the Chargers have scored 38, 42 and 42 points, respectively. 

Friday was the most convincing victory of the three. Jeff Becker played just the first half and still averaged 28 yards PER COMPLETION while finishing with 364 yards through the air. 240 of those yards and 10 passes connected with junior Jameson Coverstone.

Meanwhile, Snider is still trying to find anything to hang its hat on. The Panthers struggled again with assignments on defense and was also whistled for 11 penalties for 116 yards. 

Carroll’s Jameson Coverstone moves the ball up field against Snider during an August 28 game. (Photo by Leverage Photography)


• How good has Columbia City‘s defense been? The Eagles have allowed just seven combined points over two games to begin the season. The last time Columbia City did that? The postseason in 2014 when it beat South Side 39-0 and followed it up with a 7-3 victory over New Haven. 

Perhaps the most impactful defenders for the Eagles has been linebacker Treyton Lomont. Over two games, the senior has 15 tackles and 7.5 TFL to lead the defensive unit. 

“Treyton is a key component to our defense, responsible for calls and getting people lined up,” Columbia City coach Brett Fox said. “He is playing out of his mind and one of the main reasons that we have started the season so strong on the defensive side of the ball.”

• A week after notching a pair of interceptions in a shutout win over Plymouth, East Noble two-way stud Rowan Zolman was on the receiving end of both Knights touchdown passes from Dalton Stinson in a one-point win over NorthWood. 

We have been told time and again that Zolman is the real deal, arguably the best athlete to be at East Noble in over a decade. That’s saying something considering the talent that has been at Kendallville over that time. 

Dre Wright had himself a night for New Haven in a 22-14 victory over Mississinewa. The linebacker finished with nine tackles, four TFL, a sack and a fumble recovery. 

The Bulldogs are 2-0 for the first time in the Jimmy Linn era, but the next three games are at Pioneer, home for Leo and at Norwell. 

Wright will need more of his game-changing plays in the coming weeks. 

Leo dropped a 34-17 decision to Mooresville on Friday, but you can bet that Coach Jared Sauder is thankful his team took the game on late notice. 

With a tough slate of NE8 teams looming, kicking off with Norwell at home in Week 3, Sauder needed to see his team challenged, pushed around and out-executed. He got that against Mooresville and now has plenty to show his team on where they need to improve. 

If Leo is able to capture the NE8 crown, we can point to Friday as a big reason why due to the lessons learned. 

Norwell senior Eli Riley showcased his versatility in a 35-7 win over Heritage. He scored via pass, run and punt return as the Knights improved to 2-0. 

Riley continues to be one of the more unappreciated players in the area. Look for him to receive the attention he deserves if Norwell continues its winning ways.

Bishop Luers quarterback Carson Clark awaits the snap during an August 28 game at Wayne. (Photo by John Felts)


• What can you say about South Adams that hasn’t already been said?

The defense held Lewis Cass to negative-4 yards of total offense before the starters were pulled out of a 55-7 win.

Meanwhile, James Arnold threw for 277 yards and six touchdowns; Aidan Wanner, Nick Miller and Drew Stutzman each caught a pair of scores.

Cass was supposed to give the Starfires a non-conference test as a late schedule addition. Instead, it was just another victim.

• There were some nervous moments for Adams Central on Friday as senior offensive lineman Joshua Smith was taken off the field on a backboard with his neck stabilized after a play against Eastside.

Thankfully, the update from Coach Michael Mosser is that Smith suffered a simple neck strain and will be OK.

Also, Adams Central has filled its Week 3 open date and will head to Tri High to take on the 2-0 Titans.

• While Hayden Nern is the primary quarterback at Bluffton, Coach Brent Kunkel is mixing in some Wildcat looks with Lukas Hunt. Against Northfield on Friday, Hunt scored on a QB keeper to cap the scoring in a 22-0 win for the Tigers.

As you look ahead for Bluffton, beginning with next week at South Adams, the Tigers must find a way to score enough points to compete. Having offensive weaponry that can be used in a variety of ways like Hunt, Nern and Cody Middlestedt will be important against the elite in the effort to keep up on the scoreboard.

Eastside coach Todd Mason (white hat) runs things from the top of the Adams Central press box during an August 28 game.


• Noticeably missing from the Eastside sidelines last night? Coach Todd Mason.

Where was he? Up in the bleachers, coaching from a vantage point normally reserved for assistant coaches.


“I made the decision in Week 4 of last year that my whole coaching career I have been an offensive coordinator and I’ve been in the box (up top),” said Mason. “I just can’t see it as well down here. So I made that decision and I am fortunate to have an awesome staff that can handle the sideline and do everything with me up top.

“And it helps us up offensively a little bit by me being up top and so that is why we made that decision.”

It has worked. Since Mason has moved up from the sideline full-time, the Blazers are 10-1.

• Just how young is Churubusco? Consider that of its 273 yards of total offense in its 43-0 rout of Lakeland on Friday, 75 percent of it came from underclassmen.

Sophomore Wyatt Marks had a break-out game as he rushed for 110 yards and three touchdowns. Fellow sophomore Riley Buroff looked more comfortable at QB, throwing for 140 yards and a pair of scores.

It is going to be a development year for Churubusco, but similar to Snider in the SAC, the future is very bright.

Snider’s DJ Moore blocks Carroll’s Jordan Hixson along the line during an August 28 game. (Photo by Gary Hale)


The last time Snider lost back-to-back games by 30-plus points? Never. That’s 55 years of football folks…Churubusco’s Nick Nondorf broke a school record with his 94-yard punt return for a touchdown against Lakeland. The previous record was a 90-yard return TD by Joey Emenhiser in 2017…You know who got a good night sleep on Friday despite a loss? Concordia Lutheran coach/AD Tim Mannigel. Normally, he would awake to a mess on the grass at Zollner Stadium following a game in the wet. Saturday morning? The new turf has the field still looking pristine…The last time Fremont won by shutout by 40-plus points was a 42-0 victory over Howe Military on Oct. 25, 1980…Churubusco held Lakeland to 1.1 yards per play in its shutout of the Lakers.

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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