Outside the Huddle is breaking down every area regional matchup scheduled for this Friday.
We conclude with the Class 6A showdown down in Hamilton County as Homestead (10-1) battles Westfield (10-1).
1. LACK OF SUCCESS
Since the inception of Class 6A in 2013, no northeast Indiana team has captured a regional title in that class.
Can Homestead buck that trend tonight?
The Spartans have size, talent and experience. But can they hang with Westfield?
2. AT LEAST IT ISN’T CARMEL
The last four times that Homestead has won a sectional championship, it saw its season end at the hands of the Carmel Greyhounds, including three of the last five seasons.
This year sees Carmel stay south, but Westfield is the new Carmel…at least for this year.
The second-ranked Shamrocks have just one loss – to the second-best team in the state, Cathedral.
3. OVERCOMING ADVERSITY
Between Covid issues and injuries, Homestead has been through a lot behind the scenes this season that has affected it on some game days. Yet the Spartans have persevered, securing the SAC Victory Bell for the second-straight year and winning its fourth sectional crown in six years.
Homestead is not favored in this game, but it has overcome doubts all season. Can it do so again?
FOUR PLAYERS TO WATCH
MAXIMUS WEBSTER, JUNIOR, WESTFIELD
This dual-threat quarterback not only has an amazing first name, he has also a prototypical body for the position. At 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, Webster is a strong, athletic signal caller that can evade tackles and run over tacklers.
Webster has thrown for 1,667 yards and 21 touchdowns with just three INTs. He completes 67 percent of his passes and also has rushed for nearly 600 yards.
LUKE PALMER, SENIOR, HOMESTEAD
How do you combat a guy like Webster? You counter with a player like Palmer.
The Spartans’ middle linebacker has over 100 tackles on the year and has been a consistent thorn in the side of opposing offenses. His lateral quickness and ability to close makes him one of the top linebackers in the SAC.
POPEYE WILLIAMS, JUNIOR, WESTFIELD
It is not every day you get to go against an edge rusher the caliber of Williams.
Just how good is the junior Shamrock? Well, he counts 15 scholarship offers from FBS schools, headlined by the Alabama Crimson Tide.
So, the challenge that the Homestead blockers will have with Williams and the rest of a stout defensive front will be the biggest of the season.
Williams oozes plenty of potential and can lull an offense into a false sense of security before blowing up a play in the backfield. He is a dangerous playmaker.
NATE ANDERSON, JUNIOR, HOMESTEAD
The Spartans’ top playmaker enters Friday with 1,090 yards receiving and 17 touchdowns. No matter the coverage, the senior has been able to get open and make plays downfield.
Can he do it against the Westfield secondary? Big plays have paced Homestead all year long. It will need them again against the ‘Rocks.
KEYS TO VICTORY – HOMESTEAD
1. WIN UP FRONT
The Spartans have won a fair amount of battles in the trenches this year against SAC foes, but can they elevate their play to the level of Westfield?
This is the greatest challenge that Homestead will have faced all year up front, can they gain the edge?
2. BIG PLAYS
As mentioned above, Homestead’s offensive success has come from being able to carve out large amounts of yards in chunks to score. Westfield’s defense may limit those opportunities, but the Spartans should have some plays in which it has a good matchup downfield. They must convert.
KEYS TO VICTORY – WESTFIELD
The ‘Rocks have given up just six points total over the last four weeks, and have shut out their last three opponents.
It is tough to envision Homestead ending its season without a point in the regional, but this Westfield defense is extremely difficult to move the ball against.
2. MAXIMUM MAXIMUS
Not only is Maximus Webster a stellar quarterback throwing the ball, he is also Westfield’s second-leading rusher behind junior Micah Hauser. Homestead has faced off against a fair amount of dual-threat QBs, so it has experience in defending them. But if Westfield can keep Hauser upright and able to make plays, it bodes well for the ‘Rocks.