The majority of humans have spent the last few days eyeing projections, predictions and polls, hoping their presidential candidate is declared the winner.
Just like in politics, we see a lot of foreshadowing in high school football based on what we know, as well as educated guesses.
In the spirit of the election season, Blitz has looked and identified three local teams he believes have the best shot at reaching Lucas Oil Stadium on Thanksgiving weekend.
When the Saints moved up to 5A due to success factor, Blitz didn’t see that being much of a factor when it came to making deep runs in the tournament. After all, they breezed to a sectional title last year and fell to a tough Valparaiso team in semistate action, the very team that nearly knocked off New Palestine in the 5A title game.
So, here we are again. Bishop Dwenger takes on a North Side team that it made completely one-dimensional in Week 2, forcing Duce Taylor to do it all at QB for the Legends. It was a close game at 27-14, but Blitz never felt as if Coach Jason Garrett’s team was in danger of losing. Bishop Dwenger bottled up the run game and grinded down North in the trenches.
The Saints are favored this week, and if they get by the Legends, they will face No. 11 Zionsville (5-5), which won its fifth sectional title in six years by default, with McCutcheon having to bow out of the tournament due to Covid. That game would be at Zionsville, but the Eagles have struggled against elite competition, losing by 33 to Westfield and 28 to Brownsburg.
In the semistate round, a rematch with No. 3 Valparaiso (6-0) is the most likely scenario if the Saints advance that far. Could Bishop Dwenger get revenge and return to Indy?
It is a manageable road. By no means easy, but the opportunity is there.
The Lions are surely focused on making it 2-for-2 against their NE8 rival this week as East Noble comes calling, but Blitz has the luxury to look ahead a bit.
Now, beating the Knights a second time is no guarantee. But the way in which Leo won in Week 5 (a 24-0 victory), gives it some wiggle room in the rematch.
Let’s say for the sake of argument that Rowan Zolman’s first game of the year against Leo helps East Noble limit the run game more and also allows the Knights to get some passing offense going. Is it enough to make up 24 points?
East Noble is better than in Week 5, but Blitz still says Leo is the better football team.
Let’s look further down the road. If Leo beats East Noble, it will play at either Delta or Marion. Blitz feels like Delta is the bigger threat here. However, the No. 11-ranked Eagles placed third in a Hoosier Heritage Conference that lacked much in the way of firepower outside of the top three (Delta, New Pal, Mt. Vernon).
Delta is a prolific run team, which plays right into Leo’s strength – its run defense. It is a positive matchup for the Lions.
No. 7 Hobart and ninth-ranked Lowell loom as the primary contenders in the semistate round, but the Brickies have had the benefit of a mediocre schedule. Lowell is a threat, but again, another team that focuses on the rushing attack.
It is far from a guarantee and has its pitfalls, but Leo has a path to state that isn’t exceptionally daunting, avoiding the five programs ranked above them in 4A.
The Starfires will destroy Madison-Grant on Friday in the sectional championship game, so let’s just leave that conversation behind.
It will be a battle of unbeatens in the regional. South Adams will go to No. 3 Southwood. Now, the Knights have been impressive, but that defense has not been tested the way it will be against the Starfires, who will spread the field and attack Southwood in a multitude of different ways.
The matchup issues that the South Adams offense presents are incredibly difficult to diagnose and defend, particularly at the 1A level without many bodies on the sideline.
If South Adams can beat Southwood, the northwestern part of 1A has been decimated by Covid. No. 10 North Judson is the highest-ranked potential semistate opponent for the Starfires, although Lafayette Central Catholic can never be overlooked.
South Adams has shown that if you are to beat it this year, you are going to have to outplay it. There will be no letdowns from this team as was the case in 2019.
The aforementioned potential foes are all solid, but none present the talent level and scheme advantages that the Starfires possess.
These opinions represent those of Blitz and Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Blitz on Twitter at Blitz_OTH