We have reached the final week of the regular season. There are still plenty of matchups to officially determine conference champions in the SAC and NE8, but we chose to focus on a game with two teams who are trending in the right direction as we get to the postseason: Bishop Luers and Snider.
1. POSTSEASON MOMENTUM
Right now, this is where (almost) everyone is focused. But the playoffs are a very real thing to worry about at this point. How do you stay focused on this game then? You use it to prepare for the next round. Both teams can see some parallels between their opponents this week and their first-round sectional opponents. A key in this one is what can you take away from the team to prepare you for next week or two weeks from now? It is kind of like a live practice for the postseason.
2. IS SNIDER FOR REAL?
The big SAC story of the first half of the season was Snider’s slow start. It isn’t something that any of us were used to seeing. But since, the Panthers are playing really good football as younger guys have settled into roles. Make no mistake, shutouts of Concordia Lutheran and Northrop are very impressive because both of those offenses can move the needle. Last week’s control of Bishop Dwenger really opened many eyes at the right time of the season. It is almost as if too many people forgot that this is Snider we are dealing with.
3. PEAKING AT THE RIGHT TIME
Snider is the winner of two of its last three, but not easy to call them a loser in last week’s game even if the scoreboard wasn’t in its favor. Bishop Luers holds two wins in its last four, but one of those losses was another great offensive shootout with Northrop.
Both of these teams are playing much better in the second half of the season and that is why this is the Game of the Week.
FOUR PLAYERS TO WATCH
SIR HALE, BISHOP LUERS
Everyone is already watching him after last week. Hale ran the ball 28 times for 187 yards in the win over South Side this past Friday. Hale is a hard charger who makes clean slices and cuts around defenders. For the Knights to have success on Friday, Hale has to be a frontrunner and he has to make Snider’s defenders miss at every turn.
ISO ROBINSON, SNIDER
A lot of things changed for Snider once Robinson was able to take the field. His is a heavy hitter and influences opposing offenses because of that. Nobody wants to get hit by Robinson. His confidence shines, he is willing to make major plays and it shows. Last week, he moved the sticks on a fake punt and his intelligence and grit has been helpful at times on the ground game even if he is looked at as a major defender first.
BRODY GLENN, BISHOP LUERS
It has really stood out how well quarterback Carson Clark has played this year after less time last season. A big benefit is that he has been able to put the ball in Brody Glenn’s hands consistently. A good quarterback with a strong arm benefits from a level-headed receiver. Glenn has caught about one-fourth of Clark’s passes for about one-third of the yards and that is with only having receptions in five games, with four of those games in triple digit yardage. Glenn is the definition of a major target.
DERON SWANSON, SNIDER
As Luke Haupert took over at quarterback, Snider needed to find a place to plug in the senior Swanson. At 6-foot-3 with a strong pass-oriented mind, it makes sense that he moved to receiver and has made some plays for the Panthers. He had some fantastic catches last week, going for 47 yards and really stretching out Bishop Dwenger’s defense. He has great experience to still help lead the Panthers even if he isn’t under center.
KEYS TO VICTORY – BISHOP LUERS
DIVERSITY IN THE OFFENSE
If you look back just at last week, Sir Hale is your star. He bested his previous season highs by 12 rushes and 59 yards. Right now, you want to feed him the ball, but don’t be too predictable. A few weeks ago in their shootout win over North Side, the Knights thrived the best because they were not predictable at all with their offense; what they ran, who ran, who they threw the ball too. Keep Snider guessing; it didn’t have to guess much last week.
PLAY PHYSICAL, DON’T WAVER
Snider is going to bring the physicality to you so there is no way that the Knights can back down now. You have four of your top five tacklers as underclassmen who are getting used to this physicality, so this is a great time to really show out. Look at Mason Daring, Da’von Doughty and Sir Hale to lead in the aggression. When Snider hits you – and it will – you have to just hit back harder.
KEYS TO VICTORY – SNIDER
This group should be at an all-time high. They are making plays, they are being unpredictable, they are really in their best ‘Snider Football’ mode of the season. Ride it. If you are Snider, you know you just took Bishop Dwenger, a top team in the entire area, to the brink. That is something great to hang your hat on for a younger team. Ride that confidence in, know what you can do and just do it. And if you have to, feed off your coach. There are few coaches that exude more confidence than Kurt Tippmann so follow the leader.
CLOSE OUT AT SPULLER
Ignore the Bruin in the middle of the field, this is your home field too Panthers. They opened the season on the field and it was a great letdown against an early-surging North Side team. So you certainly want to flip that with the regular season closer. And how do you do that? By playing hard every single second. Snider needs to prove going into the sectional that it can close out games; it hasn’t had to much this year with mostly blowouts in both wins and losses. Last week, the Panthers failed to close out a great game. So be closers against Bishop Luers.