Week 8 of the high school football season gave us lots to dissect. Not only do we have sectional pairings to get excited about, we also still have some intrigue in the SAC regarding the championship.
Let’s break down all that Week 8 had to offer.
• Carroll quarterback Jeff Becker was held below 200 yards of total offense for the first time this season on Friday.
Concordia Lutheran held the junior to 9-of-20 passing for 119 yards and a score, with an additional 67 rushing yards.
It was the latest exceptional performance by the Cadets’ defense that makes Coach Tim Mannigel’s team extremely dangerous in the postseason.
Concordia was also able to outgain the Chargers in total yardage, 314-293.
Despite the 24-14 loss, it was a solid night out of the Cadets, particularly considering they had a handful of players out nursing injuries.
• For 14 years, Kevin Merz sat atop the Bishop Dwenger record book as the all-time leading passer with 4,196 career yards.
Merz was toppled from No. 1 by Brenden Lytle, who surpassed Merz to become the Saints’ most prolific passer in terms of yardage.
Blitz was touched to see Merz take to Twitter to congratulate Lytle, who continues to cement himself as one of the best QBs in program history. The senior threw for 169 yards on 10-of-14 passing in Friday’s win over Snider.
• Through the first four games of the season, Bishop Luers QB Carson Clark threw just three touchdowns and seven INTs.
Over the last four games, the junior has thrown 11 touchdowns with just three picks.
Clark’s turnaround has coincided with the Knights’ improvement. Despite being just 3-5, Bishop Luers could make things difficult for the likes of Bluffton, Eastside and Fairfield in Sectional 35.
• History was made in Bishop Luers’ 41-27 win over South Side as senior Sydney Strack became the first female to score a point in the history of the program.
With starting kicker Roel Pineda sidelined due to an injury suffered in soccer, Strack, a soccer player herself, got the nod as the starting kicker.
On her first PAT attempt, a bad snap led to a miss in the first half. In the second half, Strack nailed an extra point without incident. Her teammates and the crowd went nuts following the PAT, putting Strack in the Bishop Luers record books.
• Is Evan Ormsby an OTH Player of the Year candidate?
Over the last five weeks, the Homestead quarterback has thrown for 1,402 yards, 24 TD passes and a 63 percent completion percentage.
Most importantly, the Spartans are 5-0 over the same stretch.
Ormsby is playing at an insane level, and Blitz has definitely noticed.
• Blitz has been a vocal defender of high school football officials, many of which do a very good job while being subjected to abuse from the stands.
But not every official deserves the benefit of the doubt.
The ejection of Wayne coach Sherwood Haydock was the latest over-the-top measure by a certain area official (Blitz will withhold his name) who has been deemed “out of control” and “reacting over the line” by coaches and other officials.
On Friday, Haydock was wound up after a penalty call negated a long kickoff return for the Generals in what was at that point in the first half a close game with Homestead. According to Haydock, a spirited conversation was being had with one official (but, Haydock stressed, it was not an argument) when the official in question came over and ejected Haydock.
It was, in Blitz’s mind, a significant overreaction, the latest in this unnamed official’s short history.
Blitz witnessed similar ridiculous behavior by this official in the Adams Central and South Adams game, as well as North Side and Carroll.
At least one athletic director has reported the official’s behavior to the IHSAA.
Unfortunately, in the current landscape in which officials are desperately needed, even the subpar ones are given varsity football contests. Blitz hopes that this individual soon finds himself off the sidelines, as he is hurting the product, alienating coaches and pissing off administrators with his intimidation tactics and derogatory attitude.
• Sophomore Tegan Irk has ascended to the starting quarterback position for DeKalb, and the youngster showcased his potential on Friday.
Irk threw for 269 yards and four touchdowns in DeKalb’s rout of Bellmont, helping the Barons earn their first win of the season.
It has been a rough season for Seth Wilcox in his first year at the helm. Between losing winnable games due to Covid and a roster in transition, any news is good news at this point.
While Irk will still need to show consistency against better programs, he definitely has the potential to be a multi-year starter for DeKalb behind center.
• How good was the East Noble defense on Friday?
In a word: dominant.
The Knights’ 24-13 win over New Haven was fueled by the defensive unit that held the Bulldogs to 114 total yards and just five first downs. Jakar Williams completed just five passes on 24 attempts for a total of 74 yards.
Since ending a three-game losing streak, East Noble has held a pair of above-average offenses to just 23 total points in victories over Columbia City and New Haven.
• It was a record-breaking night for Hayden Nern on Friday in a 64-13 Bluffton rout of Prairie Heights.
The senior quarterback set program records of career completions (311) and career passing yards (3,311) in the victory. Both records were formerly held by Ben Karas, who quarterbacked the Tigers from 1984-86.
Nern has been an integral part of Bluffton’s five-game winning streak, the longest for the program since 1989.
Also on Friday night, Bobby Malcolm set the single game receiving record with 279 receiving yards. He also hauled in four touchdowns while breaking that receiving yardage record set just last season by Kain Thornton.
• Kudos to Heritage coach Casey Kolkman for opening up about he and his team’s handling of a Coronavirus outbreak that has sidelined the Patriots.
Heritage had to postpone its Week 8 game and it isn’t looking good for Week 9 either, but the Patriots should be good to go for the playoffs.
On the Heritage football podcast, Kolkman spoke off the cuff about the struggles of dealing with the virus, from the stresses of quarantine to the worries of infection. It is a great listen and worthy of your time.
• Tucker Hasselman continues to be a stud quarterback for the Angola Hornets, scoring five more touchdowns on Friday.
In five victories this year, Angola has scored 41 or more points in each. In the Hornets’ lone loss, Hasselman was hounded and struggled under pressure.
Can Hasselman show out against Eastside in Week 9? That will be the final tune up for a player who may be the key for Angola in a difficult Sectional 19.
Despite being the focal point of opposing defenses, Northrop running back Damarius Cowen continues to put up huge numbers. Through eight weeks, he is averaging 6.5 yards per attempt and now sits at 1,408 yards and 13 TDs for the Bruins…Norwell has won five straight regular-season games for the first time since 2009…South Adams scored 61 points against Woodlan, many of which came in quick fashion. In fact, the Starfires possessed the ball for just 14 minutes compared to 30 minutes for the Warriors...Chad Zolman became Homestead‘s winningest football coach Friday with his 143rd win, passing Cary Cavacini. Zolman is now 143-43 in his 17th season with the Spartans…With Eastside‘s 6th NECC title in seven seasons, they have tied West Noble for most all time NECC football titles at 15…North Side‘s Duce Taylor became the school’s single season passing leader on Friday. Taylor now sits at 2,261 yards on the season.
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, October 13 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.
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