Wow, just two weeks remain before the end of the season, with the sectional draw coming up in just a matter of days.
Where has the time gone?
Week 7 brought us some clarity in a few conferences that are still up for grabs. Let’s break down all of the weekend happenings down with Blitz.
• Coming out of Week 7, of the top six highest-scoring teams in northeast Indiana, half reside in the SAC – Carroll, North Side and Homestead.
Conversely, just one of the top 50 defenses in the state by average points allowed is an SAC squad – Concordia Lutheran.
Is this a case of dynamic offenses in the league in 2020 or sub-par defenses?
We may not truly know the answer until the postseason when the SAC begins playing non-conference teams, but it does seem as if we have traded the SAC in for the Big XII when it comes to offensive shootouts.
There was next to no defense in the game between North Side and Carroll earlier this year, same going for Friday’s rivalry showdown between the Chargers and Homestead.
In all, half of the SAC programs are allowing 30 points or more per contest.
• While talking Homestead, it is only fitting to remind everyone of the offensive records they broke on Friday while possibly securing a second straight SAC title.
Evan Ormsby now has the school record for passing yards, passing touchdowns and total touchdowns in a game. Braeden Hardwick is the single game rushing yards leader. Nate Anderson now has the receiving yards in a game record. And, the team’s 765 yards of total offense is a new record by a lot.
But, while those records have been the talk of the town, it is true that Homestead’s ENTIRE offense should be considered the top performers of the week. Kudos to that strong offensive line of Sean Rice, Brady Parker, Owen Hire, Nick Schweizer and Jaden Abouhalkah for helping make so much of that offense possible.
• Kam Johnson’s continued emergence as a threat for Concordia Lutheran reached new heights on Friday with a trio of touchdowns – one receiving and a pair rushing.
Over the last four weeks, the senior has totaled six touchdowns for the Cadets.
As Blitz looks into the future, he grows ever more excited to see the weaponry of Concordia, particularly Johnson, in a potential matchup with the smothering defense of Norwell in Sectional 27.
• Congratulations to North Side in keeping the Totem Pole for the third straight year, and a special shout out to Duce Taylor, who for the first time won a game in which he threw six TD passes.
Prior to Friday, Taylor was 0-2 when throwing six scores – losses to Carroll and Homestead this year.
Taylor now has thrown 29 touchdowns against just two interceptions for the year. While the gaudy numbers are impressive, what stands out the most to Blitz are the lack of turnovers from the senior. As Taylor has grown and matured, so has his decision making inside and outside of the pocket. His accuracy has also improved, with his completion percentage up nearly 20 points from a year ago.
• When Blitz put together his list last week of top special teams players in the area, he left off a well-deserving player or two.
One of those was Tavarious Easley-Jones of Snider, who began the third quarter of Friday’s game with an 82-yard kickoff return for a score in the Panthers’ rout of Northrop.
It was Jones’ second kickoff return for six of the season for the guy that wear the No. 1 for Snider, which is an honor bestowed upon the hardest-working and most dedicated player in the offseason.
Jones is extremely dangerous and has emerged as one of the difference makers for a Panthers team that is all of a sudden a solid 4-3 on the year.
• While the fate of the SAC is out of Bishop Dwenger‘s hands, they did their part on Friday by winning the annual Battle of the Bishops against Bishop Luers. The game looked to be a tale of two halves with the Saints using a 20 point third quarter to pull away for good.
Devon Tippmann had one of his best games on the ground this season, running for three touchdowns on 11 rushes and accumulating 148 yards of the 235 that the Saints went for on the ground.
In completing his 11 passes for 124 yards, Brenden Lytle has now surpassed 4,000 passing yards for his three year career as the Saints quarterback (now 4,059 yards) as well as passing 40 career touchdown passes, now at 42.
With his two sacks on Friday night, John Michael Fabini is ranked third in the state, regardless of class, in sacks according to MaxPreps with 9.5 on the season.
• East Noble’s last four-game losing streak came in 2001, so congrats to the Knights for avoiding that in Friday’s 27-10 win.
The return of Rowan Zolman certainly buoyed East Noble, but Cole Schupbach at quarterback may have had the biggest impact.
Schupbach, who played so well against Penn on late notice when Dalton Stinson got sick, only finished with 57 yards passing, but rushed for a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns that sealed the victory for the Knights.
The senior finished with over 100 yards rushing, a key catalyst in East Noble ending its three-game skid.
• The latest eye-popping number from Leo’s defense came against Huntington North in Week 7, holding the run-heavy Vikings to just 1.3 yards per rushing attempt in a 21-0 victory.
Huntington North had been able to find running room against the likes of East Noble and Columbia City, but was never able to figure out how to move the chains against the aggressive Lions’ run D.
Leo amassed 10 tackles for loss in the dominant win, led by Tanner Jackson’s three.
The Lions have now given up 55 points all season, with 34 of those coming to a state ranked Mooresville team in a late added game. Leo has shut out four of their seven opponents.
• Another name added to the list of people who wanted Blitz to know them after my top special teams player list earlier this week is Norwell‘s Isaiah Brege. He kicked off Friday night big against DeKalb by returning the opening kickoff of the game 80 yards for a touchdown.
Norwell’s 50-0 win over DeKalb is their biggest win by margin since a 67-13 win over West Noble on Oct. 19, 2007
• Aidan Wanner became South Adams’ all-time leading scorer in the 55-0 rout of Jay County on Friday with a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown.
Wanner, a do-everything player for the Starfires who kicks as well as sees action all over the field offensively, now sits at 259 points for his career, surpassing Jeff Sorg (1989-92), who was a stud running back for South Adams.
The insane thing? Wanner is just a junior, so he is on track to set a scoring record that may stand for a long, long time in Berne.
Another big stat Friday night in a route of Jay County was James Arnold‘s night. The senior quarterback went 10-of-10 throwing the ball. That puts Arnold at an even 100 completion on the year on 141 attempts. Also Friday, in an attempt, I have to guess, to add his name to the list of special teams top players, Trey Schoch returned a first quarter Jay County punt 83 yards for a touchdown.
• Adams Central had just one pass completion in its 49-29 victory over Twin Lakes, but the Flying Jets rushed for 341 yards to make up for it.
Blake Heyerly led the rushing attack with a 24-184-2 stat line, with the team averaging 6.8 yards per rush.
However, Adams Central did lose a pair of fumbles. Winning the turnover battle will be critical in a potential Sectional 44 matchup with undefeated Southwood.
• Eastside had to have earned a measure of respect by making the trip to Class 5A Concord this week, even in a tough loss.
The Blazers defense stepped up at critical times in the 21-14 loss including twice in the first quarter. The first stop came on a Carson Jacobs interception in the end zone for Eastside. Then, they slowed the Minutemen again towards the end of the quarter to force a 31 yard field goal attempt that missed.
Lane Burns ended the game with 11 tackles, Phoenix Smyth had 1.5 sacks and Jacobs added another INT. In a season where Eastside’s 6-0 start was credited to a high powered offense, this was a big win for their defense moving forward, even in defeat in the program’s first ever game against a NLC opponent.
• It took Angola an entire 10 offensive plays for pick up their first three touchdowns Friday in a 49-0 win over South Bend Clay. Tucker Hasselman scored two of those initially and ended with five total touchdowns. As Angola stays tight near the top of the NECC big division, major credit goes to Hasselman.
A year ago, he was certainly more of a pocket presence at quarterback but Hasselman has adjusted with the times. He is just as dangerous on the run as he is throwing the ball.
The win was nice too for Angola in the fact they had just 24 players dress for the game because of a COVID-19 exposure with their JV team.
• Lakeland‘s Caleb Sellers scored on a fumble recovery Friday against West Noble. The 21-yard jog to the end zone after scooping up the loose ball was a great return for Sellers, who has been out since the Lakers’ scrimmage where he broke his collar bone.
• Warsaw has the ‘W’ Trophy and still one of the most predictable but hardest to stop offenses in Northeast Indiana. In the Tigers’ sixth straight win over Wawasee, they passed for absolutely no yards while running for 439. Its like everyone knows what Warsaw will do, but nobody can stop it. Juan Antonio Jaramillo again led the way with 129 yards on 27 attempts with two scores.
The Tigers also got 77 yards out of Julius Jones, 76 yards from Aaron Greene, 64 yards from German Flores-Ortega and 57 yards from Mason Martz as they had 11 different players register carries.
Warsaw keeps on pace with the NLC lead with two games left, against teams both 2-2 in conference in Concord and NorthWood. Warsaw is 5-0 in the NLC.
For the first time ever in the rivalry dating back to 1965, Bishop Dwenger has dropped 40-plus points on Bishop Luers in back-to-back matchups…The 41 points scored by Carroll on Friday are the most in a loss in program history…Luke Amstutz notched his 100th career victory in East Noble’s win over Columbia City. He is now 100-39 in 13 years between East Noble and Angola…Cody Mittlestedt has surpassed 200 total yards of offense in each of the past four games for Bluffton…Another special teams standout Friday was New Haven. Kamari Clopton, who returned a blocked kick 95 yards for a score against Bellmont and Dre Wright blocked two punts, returning one 32 yards for a touchdown.
Don’t forget to vote in the weekly FAN CHOICE Player of the Night vote, sponsored by Craigville Appliance. This week’s vote is open through Noon on Tuesday, September 29 for you to view some of the top individual performances of the week and let your voice be heard on which one you think is the best.
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