Week 5 is headed your way tonight (and one game Saturday) and as always, each Friday we talk about five different players that you should keep an eye on. Maybe they did well last week? Maybe they have a favorable or intriguing matchup?
Here are the players to keep an extra eye on tonight:
HUNTER MERTZ, CARROLL (vs. Bishop Dwenger, Saturday)
This is a big game coming on Saturday night as the Chargers will host Bishop Dwenger in a game that was originally supposed to be at Lucas Oil in Indy. Luckily for fans that can attend, it will stay in Fort Wayne instead. As multiple Carroll players show their worth each Friday night, Mertz (pictured) came out of last week as the one in the forefront of minds. His defensive prowess, and more importantly, his grit was on full display in a win over Northrop. Mertz is flat out aggressive and had seven solo tackles and eight assists against the Bruins, also recovering a fumble. How big of a role can he play in stifling a strong as usual Saints offensive flow? Offensively, don’t forget that Mertz is one of those many targets for Carroll on the ground and in the air.
TANNER JACK, DEKALB (vs. Columbia City)
Is DeKalb football forgotten about. Due to quarantine procedures, we haven’t seen the Barons since a week one loss to Angola. They return tonight with a big challenge against unbeaten Columbia City. To get rolling quickly, they need to lean on leaders and Jack has been a constant for the Barons for years so lean on him they must. He was handed the ball just twice in the loss to Angola, but broke off for a total of 63 yards and a score in those two carries so we know how dangerous he is when he starts churning his legs up field. DeKalb has always been able to rely on Jack to make plays and tonight they need a fire starter.
WILL HOOVER, CENTRAL NOBLE (vs. Fremont)
The Cougars are improved in many areas this season and Friday could be a big showcase for them in Albion. One of the big reasons, again in multiple areas, that they are better is Hoover. The junior has been changing things on both sides of the football. Offensively, Hoover is second on the team in rushing yards with 158 and among four different Cougars with over 35 carries (Hoover, at 36, has run a team best three into the end zone). But it is his defense that has to be of biggest concern to Fremont tonight. Hoover has been a man with a team high 10 tackles per game and 40 total tackles on the season.
DAMARIUS COWEN, NORTHROP (at Concordia Lutheran)
For most, this is a no brainer. If you are watching Northrop then you should absolutely be watching Cowen, who’s run game has been at a high level consistently weeks one through four. Do not expect that to change much at Zollner Stadium on the turf tonight. So why is he a highlighted player? There is a group that runs with a school of thought that Cowen is being overlooked going into this game. With Concordia’s defense being so strong more often that not and the return of their quarterback, some Northrop faithful believe Cowen is overlooked this week. Don’t think that is so. Cowen has run for 733 yards on 108 carries with nine touchdowns in 2020, priming himself for a big 1,500 yard season.
AARON GREENE, WARSAW (at Northridge)
The legs of Greene have been big in the success of ‘Bart Ball’ this season, but a big challenge awaits at Northridge, another top NLC team. Greene was 3-of-5 passing the ball last Friday in a win for 44 yards. Some may say that isn’t impressive at all for a quarterback. But in a run heavy Warsaw gameplan where Greene completed just two passes weeks 1-3, him putting the ball in the air 5 times in a week is a dangerous turn for opponents. Once you think you have Warsaw figured out, if Greene can find success in the air, he spreads everything out and gives the Tigers another significant weapon. And lets not forget that Greene himself can take off running for big yardage, so he certainly is looking the most like a duel threat QB as he has all season.