The sectional draw for the 48th annual IHSAA Football State Tournament was held on Thursday night.
While the debate between a blind draw and seeding once again dominated social media (like usual), Blitz made a list of the winners and losers out of the draw.
Let’s take a look.
WINNER: FANS OF SEEDING
The ping-pong balls bounced the right way for people clamoring for the seeding of the tournament, at least in local sectionals.
Adams Central and Southwood will not meet until the sectional finals in Sectional 44. Same goes for Eastside or Bluffton against either Luers or Fairfield in Sectional 35 and Concordia and Norwell in Sectional 27.
So by pure luck, we are set up to have some big-time matchups on sectional final Friday.
It is next to impossible to get a favorable draw in a stacked Sectional 19, but it is fair to say that the Lions got the toughest test out of the gate.
Leo will travel to Northridge to begin the postseason, a team that is similar to the Lions in that its defense is incredibly stingy.
The Raiders have shut out four opponents this season, including on the road at NorthWood, a program that is in a rebuilding season but still is a tough out in any year.
Coach Tom Wogoman’s team is a near-mirror image to Leo, a squad that grinds out wins with a running attack and a stifling defense.
Blitz isn’t saying Leo loses in the opening round, but it is an extremely tough test out of the gate.
WINNER: THOSE WHO WANT A NORTH-BISHOP DWENGER REMATCH
As soon as the scoreboard reached zeroes in Bishop Dwenger’s 27-14 win over North Side in Week 2, people were already talking about a potential rematch in the playoffs.
Well, the Sectional 11 bracket sets up to give us North v. Dwenger Part II for a sectional title if both are able to advance in Round 1.
North Side has the tougher challenge in dealing with Northrop, but the Saints will be able to dispatch of one-win Anderson quite easily.
As it stands, the North-Bishop Dwenger postseason showdown will be at Shields Field, so mark your calendars.
There is no doubt that the Chargers want another shot at rival Homestead after the Spartans dropped a 70 spot on them last week.
But before that can happen in the postseason, Carroll is going to have to go to Warsaw and beat a very solid Tigers team that enters Week 8 with just one loss.
Now, many will point out that the SAC is a tougher conference than the NLC, particularly this year, but Warsaw is no joke, in no small part to Coach Bart Curtis and his “Bart Ball” style of controlling the clock and grinding down opponents.
Similar to Leo, Blitz doesn’t feel Carroll loses, but Coach Doug Dinan has to guard against looking ahead to a Homestead rematch, because Warsaw is fully capable of knocking his team off.
There are four teams in Sectional 27 that entered Week 8 with winning records, and three of them are on the top half of the bracket.
And then there are the Knights, who will open with Heritage and then play the winner of winless Northwestern and two-win Maconaquah.
So while the trio of Oak Hill, Peru and Concordia Lutheran fight over the course of two weeks to get to the finals, Norwell has a much easier road.
Considering Norwell has flown under a lot of people’s radar, the Knights being a decent pick for a sectional championship could surprise some.
LOSER: TO BE ANNOUNCED
To be announced? Weird yes, but hear Blitz out.
This week has seen two teams – Adams Central and Heritage – sidelined due to Covid outbreaks. Neither will play in Week 8 and Week 9 is in jeopardy.
Luckily for both, they will in all likelihood be ready to play when the postseason starts.
However, there is a good chance that something similar happens to a school or schools in Indiana in the playoffs. How will the IHSAA treat a team that has yet to be eliminated, yet is sidelined for two weeks due to quarantine.
Will that team be able to play when it is healthy again? Will they have to forfeit?
Unfortunately, Blitz believes that there is a real possibility that a team or teams will see their season end not at the hands of an opponent, but due to Covid and the quarantine protocols.
If/when that happens, that entire program – coaches, players, fans – will be on the losing end of things.
So, to be announced…
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