Outside the Huddle is breaking down every area regional matchup scheduled for this Friday.
We continue in Class 5A as Bishop Dwenger (10-1) hits the road to battle Zionsville (5-5).
1. WELL RESTED
The last time Zionsville hit the field for a game, it was knocking off a good Lafayette Harrison team by 17 points in the sectional semifinal.
With McCutcheon having to bow out of the tournament due to Covid, Zionsville earned its fifth sectional championship in six years by default.
That said, overlook the Eagles at your own risk.
2. REMATCH…FROM A WHILE AGO
The last time these two teams faced off? Way back in 1996 when Coach Andy Johns took the Saints down to the RCA Dome to face Zionsville in the Class 3A state championship. The Eagles got the 14-7 win, capturing their second crown.
We are sure that some Bishop Dwenger faithful remember that game and would finally like to get some revenge.
3. THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Zionsville will heavily rely upon running back Colin Price to pace the offense. The senior has rushed for 100-plus yards in seven of his nine games this year, including going for 270 yards and a pair of touchdowns two weeks ago against Harrison.
Bishop Dwenger’s defense is predicated on stopping the run. So, a little strength on strength here.
FOUR PLAYERS TO WATCH
JOSH STONE, SENIOR, ZIONSVILLE
If the Saints are able to slow down Price on the ground, the onus will go on Stone to make some plays through the air.
The senior quarterback has thrown for over 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns on the year, but he has been exceptional in the second half of the year. Stone has thrown just one INT since Week 4. He will have to be strong again come Friday.
ROCCO CIOCCA, JUNIOR, BISHOP DWENGER
While Ciocca’s catches have tailed off in recent weeks, he is still one of Brenden Lytle’s top receiving targets.
If the Saints are going to make a run at another state title, Ciocca will be integral. He is as sure-handed out of any of Bishop Dwenger’s pass catchers and is looked upon by Lytle as a safety net on many occasions.
LUKE NOLAN, SENIOR, ZIONSVILLE
The 6-foot-2, 235-pound defensive lineman is a mix of power and finesse on the edge. In just eight games, the senior has 11 TFL and four sacks and will need to be on his game against the powerful and varied Bishop Dwenger running attack.
The Saints’ offensive line has had its issues at times this season, and handling Nolan will be a chore.
VINNY FIACABLE, SENIOR, BISHOP DWENGER
Whether it be on the offensive line, defensive front or as a running back (hey Coach Garrett, no carries since early October), Fiacable changes the game.
The Indiana commitment is speedier than he looks, evidenced by a long fumble return for a touchdown against Concordia Lutheran.
The senior does not take a play off, and Zionsville will be wise to keep an eye on him on every play.
KEYS TO VICTORY – BISHOP DWENGER
1. MAKE ZIONSVILLE ONE-DIMENSIONAL
The Saints are naturally a tough team to run against, evidenced week after week in the SAC against some really impressive running backs.
Zionsville wants to move the football on the ground, and Bishop Dwenger wants to make it one-dimensional and beat the Saints through the pass game.
2. FORCE MISTAKES
It was a bit uncharacteristic last week when Bishop Dwenger turned the ball over on its first two possessions against North Side. But the Saints recovered, forced some miscues by the Legends and emerged victorious.
No team is perfect, and Bishop Dwenger will surely make some mistakes against Zionsville. The Eagles MUST capitalize. North Side could not take full advantage of good field position last week off of turnovers, which is one of the reasons why it lost. Zionsville must strike when it has the opportunity.
KEYS TO VICTORY – BISHOP DWENGER
1. BE YOU
The Saints do not need to be flashy in this one. They are perfectly capable of beating Zionsville without getting crazy offensively.
Brenden Lytle should be able to have another fine night passing, while the running game has the capability of putting the Eagles on their toes.
Coach Jason Garrett’s team should advance if it plays its game.
Bishop Dwenger loves to be that blue-collar team that grinds it out, beats a team up in the trenches and wears the opponent down.
That could be the case in this one, as the Saints struggled last week before turning it on against North Side after halftime.
Can Zionsville hang around for four quarters?