While Classes 1A through 4A got the postseason started last week, 5A and 6A start the road to Lucas Oil Stadium this Friday throughout the area.
Blitz is here to break down down Sectional 3.
As SAC regular-season champs for the second-straight year, the Spartans have firmly cemented themselves as the new rulers of the conference…at least for now.
But how does that translate to the playoffs? Well, it did last year as Homestead is the defending champions of this sectional.
This year has seen a new cast of characters fill big roles, from Evan Ormsby at quarterback to Nate Anderson at wide receiver to guys like Andrew Bear and Isaac Parrish on the defensive side of the ball.
The Spartans have not lost since Week 1, but their biggest foe over the course of the season has been Covid. Various players have missed time due to quarantine at one time or another, yet Coach Chad Zolman’s team has overcome.
While there are talented teams in this sectional, no one has the balance that Homestead does – a dangerous offense coupled with a solid defense.
Coach Doug Dinan’s squad finished the regular season as the top-scoring offense in the SAC – nearly 100 points more than Homestead, the No. 2 offense.
The Chargers’ strength is passing, passing and passing some more. The run game is merely window dressing for a team that wants to push the ball downfield as much as possible and keep opposing defenses off balance.
Jeff Becker is the story here. Between passing and rushing yards, Becker is responsible for 94.6 percent of Carroll’s total yardage for the season – 2,828 yards out of a total of 2,989.
That is insane.
Becker has plenty of help, from a solid offensive front to talented wide receivers, but as the junior QB goes, so goes Carroll.
The problem with the Chargers may be its defense, which gave up 70 to Homestead in Week 7, 48 to North Side and 31 to Bishop Dwenger.
Has Carroll shored up that side of the ball enough to knock off two solid teams and win a title?
After an unprecedented regular season that saw the Panthers lose three league games by 30-plus points for the first time ever, some will count out Snider in this field, especially being matched up against a Homestead team that rocked them 33-3 in Week 5.
But overlook this team at your own risk. It enters the playoffs winners of three of its last four, with the defeat a hard-fought 17-7 affair against Bishop Dwenger, a game that the Panthers led at halftime.
Snider has playmakers, albeit young playmakers, in all three phases of the game. The line play has steadily improved, with Iso Robinson having proven his destructive capability on the defense line and DJ Moore expected to return on the offensive front.
The question is, has this young group come far enough to challenge Homestead? Can it really be a contender to win this sectional?
This is Snider, anything is possible.
Yes, even the Tigers are considered a contender by Blitz.
Juan Jaramillo and Julius Jones are dangerous rushers, while Aaron Greene is a threat at quarterback that can catch defenses off guard.
The champions of the NLC have done some big things under Coach Bart Curtis, including capturing a sectional crown last year for the first time in school history.
Carroll would be wise not to overlook the Tigers in the first round. While not overly dominant on either side of the ball, Warsaw is disciplined and talented enough to be a thorn in the side of any team in this sectional.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Nate Anderson, junior, Homestead
Last year, Anderson hauled in just two passes all season long, lost in the mix at wideout with a host of talented seniors.
But in 2020, Anderson has made the most of his opportunity to shine – leading Homestead in receptions (35), receiving yards (864) and touchdowns (16).
The junior is as quick to get down the seam as anyone in the area, and he is deceptively speedy with great command of his body.
Jorge Valdes, sophomore, Carroll
A hard-hitting safety who plays the ball in the air very well, Valdes is one of the keys for the Chargers in the playoffs.
Too many times in the regular season, Carroll saw opposing wide receivers run wild deep downfield for big plays. The safety play has been on at times and off at others. But Valdes is a guy who can make a lot of heads turn in help coverage.
Luke Haupert, sophomore, Snider
In a sectional field with some impressive offenses, the Panthers are not going to pull a surprise if they cannot put some points on the board.
It has been a learning year for Haupert, who was handed the quarterback reigns during the course of the season. He has been shaky and lacked confidence at times, but the latter portion of the season saw Blitz witness a kid who looked poised to lead the Snider offense into the future.
Can Haupert make plays in the passing game over the next two weeks?
Luke Adamiec, senior, Warsaw
Adamiec is known more for his prowess on the basketball court, but he has developed into a solid wide receiver for the Tigers.
In the final regular season game, a win over Concord, Adamiec grabbed two touchdown receptions.
Blitz does not think Warsaw is going to have the horses defensively to completely shut down Carroll in the semis. So, it is going to have to keep up on the scoreboard. Adamiec could be integral to doing that.
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