What better way to prepare for the start of sectional play than have Blitz break it all down for you?
All this week, Outside the Huddle will look at every area sectional in Classes 1A through 4A and preview what is on tap beginning this Friday.
We continue with Class 4A and Sectional 20.
The Eagles last won a sectional in 2016, but they are poised to end small drought this year.
Delta finished third in an underrated Hoosier Heritage Conference, losing only to Class 4A No. 1 Mt. Vernon and Class 5A No. 5 New Palestine. The Eagles opened the year with a 14-point road win at Eastbrook, handing the Panthers their first home loss since 2014.
Delta averages 271 yards rushing per game and also can go to the air with senior Brady Hunt, a senior QB who knows how to limit mistakes.
The draw is also highly favorable for Delta, as it is the lone team with a winning record on the bottom half of the bracket.
The Giants enter the sectional having won six of their last seven games under first-year coach James Bell. However, the North Central Conference is not necessarily a hotbed of top football programs, with the exception of Lafayette Jeff, which crushed Marion 43-21 in Week 6.
That said, the Marion running game can be dangerous if it is not respected, amassing 23 touchdowns on the ground through the season. The defense has the potential to create turnovers, particularly in the secondary.
NEW HAVEN (5-4)
Despite dropping four of its last six games, New Haven is still a threat in Sectional 20 to make some noise.
First off, it has a favorable draw. It opens with a beatable South Side team and then will host either Marion or Mississinewa.
Even in recent losses to East Noble and Columbia City, the Bulldogs were highly competitive, so it is not out of the realm of possibility that Coach Jimmy Linn’s team can go on a run.
HUNTINGTON NORTH (3-6)
Here is the issue with Huntington North – it is completely one-dimensional. If the Vikings can run the football, they can win. If they cannot, they can’t win, plain and simple.
Considering also that the defense has had its issues against upper-level offenses, it is tough to see Huntington North being a threat in this field.
JAY COUNTY (0-8)
The mismatches are obvious as the Patriots must face Delta to open the postseason.
Unfortunately, Jay County does not have the personnel to hang. The Patriots are easy to prepare for due to their propensity to be predictable offensively.
Jay County has just one postseason win since 2014. It will not add to that total this year.
Including a one-point loss to six-win Oak Hill in Week 5, the Indians have played some darn good football over the last month-plus. A four-game winning streak entering the playoffs is an additional indicator that this team is not to be taken lightly.
New Haven, a potential second-round opponent, beat Mississinewa 22-14 in Week 2.
SOUTH SIDE (1-8)
Remember in 2016 when the Archers entered the postseason with one win and beat down a seven-win Leo squad in the sectional opener?
That is what keeps coming to Blitz’s mind as Coach Roosevelt Norfleet’s team gets set to host New Haven this Friday. While the season record doesn’t look great, the Archers have some talent and are still playing hard. Be careful, Bulldogs.
It has been a tough first season for Sherwood Haydock after coming over from Woodlan to Winchester Road, but brighter days are ahead.
There is a wealth of underclass talent on the roster, a lot of which has shown out at various parts of the season. This team hasn’t won since Week 3, but it is not simply playing out the string heading to the offseason. In fact, Blitz thinks the Generals are capable of picking up at least one win in this sectional.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
RILEY WOODIN, SENIOR, DELTA
Delta doesn’t have what most would consider a stifling defense, but it makes plays and creates turnovers when it counts.
Enter Woodin, who is a terror inside or out at linebacker. His stat line for the season explains how disruptive he has been – 23 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks.
The senior will be a huge problem for opposing blockers over the next few weeks.
KHALID STAMPS, SENIOR, MARION
Stamps is a true scat back for the Giants, able to elude defenders and fit through the smallest of holes in the line.
The senior is only 5-foot-7, but is underestimated with his strength on a thin frame. He has rushed for close to 850 yards and nine touchdowns for the Giants while averaging 9.7 yards PER CARRY this season.
JAKAR WILLIAMS, JUNIOR, NEW HAVEN
When Williams is on, there is no more dynamic offensive player in this sectional than him.
The quarterback has thrown for 1,500 yards and rushed for 450 more this season and is at his best when he can create, both in the passing game and with his legs.
If Williams is able to break contain and be a problem outside of the pocket, it bodes well for New Haven.
CHRIS THOMAS, SENIOR, WAYNE
Kind of lost in the discussion of top running backs in the area is Thomas, who despite being keyed upon a lot has surpassed 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground this season.
Thomas is as quick as they come out of the backfield and has shown the propensity to turn it on as he gets to the outside, turn the corner and break loose. That is an issue that could be a problem for Huntington North in the opening round.
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