With two games down, we can start to get a better idea of where these teams stack up as it relates to conference battles.
As the dust settles from another Friday night of high school football, allow Blitz to wrap up Week 2 with his traditional weekend column.
• How about Owen Scheele?
The backup to Jeff Becker at Carroll stepped in on Friday night and got his first start of his varsity career. Many (Blitz included) wrote the Chargers off after Becker’s status began to leak mid-week. It was a blessing in disguise that the unavailability of the Carroll starter was known early in the week, allowing Scheele to get a lot of reps with the ones leading into Friday.
Carroll called a phenomenal game offensively and Jameson Coverstone was huge with 229 receiving yards and three scores, but the night belonged to Scheele. He handled the moment like a seasoned veteran, not a wide-eyed junior. He got the ball out quickly and on target and allowed his pass catchers to do the work.
In such a close game, one turnover could have been the difference between a win and a loss, with a defeat sending Carroll to 0-2 and effectively eliminated from the SAC race. But Scheele protected the football, made the plays and led the Chargers to the win.
• Remember in the preseason when Blitz mentioned that Snider’s defense could be the league’s best? Well, we may need to revisit that.
Yes, Snider has faced two of the highest-scoring offenses the SAC had a year ago, but the Panthers are mid-pack when it comes to points allowed per game. The secondary in particular looks lost, with broken coverages and missed tackles a regular occurrence through the first two weeks.
There is no doubt that the Panthers will get things tightened up, much as it did in 2020 in the second half of the season. But by then, it may be too late for their SAC chances.
• Those players that we expected to emerge on defense for Bishop Dwenger? It’s happening.
Colin Vance had a pair of INTs for the Saints in the 39-13 victory over North Side. The senior safety is stout on the back end and has the speed to stay with the most explosive receivers in the SAC.
But Vance has help with Adam Lee at corner. A physical and aggressive defensive back, Lee is sensational in single coverage with deceptive quickness.
That said, Bishop Dwenger’s biggest challenges as a defense are ahead of it.
• Wide receiver Rodney Woods was forced into a role as quarterback for North Side on Friday night. After Brashawn Bassett left the game due to injury, it was the senior Woods stepping behind center due to the back-up quarterback Donovan Williams unavailable.
Woods finished 6-of-9 for 59 yards and two INTs. But he did return a fumble 43 yards for a score on defense.
• Let’s hear it for Coach Tiny Lee and the South Side Archers.
Many believed their best shot at a win this year was Week 1 against Concordia Lutheran, but the Archers, despite battling quarantine issues, earned a 26-14 win over Northrop.
Trevor Hapner was all over the place for South Side but nothing seemed to be as impressive as hit work against the Bruin punting unit. Hapner blocked two Northrop punts and managed to tackle the punter on a different attempt, sniffling Northrop’s hopes of keeping South away from the end zone.
It is the first SAC victory over a team not named Wayne since 2017 for the Archers, and the first win over Northrop since 2013.
Words can’t express how much a win means for South. A renewed sense of pride and energy has been rewarded, which can only mean that more momentum is coming.
• Bishop Luers debuted its new “reds” uniform scheme with red jerseys and pants on Friday. Coach Kyle Lindsay said he would leave it up to the seniors/captains to decide on how often they make an appearance. Red was the original home uniform for the Knights when the school began playing football in 1960.
Expect to see red on white for Bishop Luers in the uniform rotation, and the black on black has definitely not been retired for the “reds.”
Sir Hale shined brightest in those reds, going off for 123 yards and three scores on 23 carries in the win as the Knights put up 584 all-purpose yards.
• Shawn Collins got a lot of preseason attention for Wayne and rightfully so with how he played in 2020. But in 2021, it has been Lamarion Nelson moving the needle, even for a 0-2 Generals team. His 277 yards and three touchdowns through the first two weeks has been a light for Wayne.
Nelson is averaging 67 percent of the Generals offense right now.
• Scheele wasn’t the only backup quarterback thrust into action on Friday. With Greg Bolt a late scratch for Columbia City, junior Colten Pieper started behind center for the Eagles.
Coach Brett Fox went run heavy against Delta, with 41 rushes compared to just four passing attempts with James Getts running for 93 yards to lead the Eagles. Despite that, a long pass by Pieper late appeared to draw a pass interference, but it went as a no call and was intercepted by Delta as Columbia City dropped a 14-10 decision.
• Who needs a passing game when you are averaging a first down per rush?
Norwell shut out Heritage 49-0 on Friday despite throwing for just negative-5 yards on a single completion.
The offense was led by the rushing attack, which accumulated 422 yards rushing and averaged 12.0 yards a touch. Jon Colbert and Luke Graft were the primary beneficiaries. The duo combined for 276 yards and five touchdowns on just 21 carries.
• South Adams lost both quarterback Aidan Wanner and wide receiver Trey Schoch on its first drive of the game on Friday against Bellmont. While neither returned, the Starfires were still able to rout Bellmont 34-7.
While the severity of the injuries is not yet known, the replacement for Aidan Wanner on Friday was Owen Wanner. Interestingly, the two are not related. The new Wanner still completed seven passes including a bobbled and caught effort from Jordan Hinshaw that drew some attention.
Despite the injuries, the Starfires kept their regular season winning streak intact. South Adams has now won 20 straight regular season games and has not lost a home game since September 21, 2018.
Mav Summersett ran for 113 yards and two scores in the win.
• After week one’s tough loss, Woodlan looked inspired in parts of their loss to Central Noble on Friday. In fact, the Warriors led 9-7 after the first quarter before their defense gave up big yardage and scoring in the second.
While their offense is still working through growing pains, Woodlan’s defense deserves some respect. Down 7-0 and looking like they were going to let Will Hoover run all over them, Woodlan stepped up to hold the Central Noble running back very well in the first quarter after that initial score. It wasn’t sustained but it was a ray of sun shining through for this group.
And it was the defense that put Woodlan on the board and up in the first quarter. With 6-foot-7 Joe Reidy frantically rushing the Central Noble quarterback, the pressure forced a throw that was picked off by Landin Golden and returned for a Woodlan defensive touchdown. They added to their score by pressuring Central Noble on a mistimed punt snap to force a safety and give them an early 9-7 lead.
Ultimately, it didn’t work out for Woodlan in week two either, but there were some good things that had their defense more confident. Reidy led the Warriors with 9.5 tackles while Jake Roemer added nine of his own.
• Bluffton hung right in with Hamilton Heights, a late week replacement for Manchester. The Tigers actually held the advantage early but couldn’t find the endzone in the second half, hampered throughout the game by some untimely penalties.
But the bright side as they prepare for the friendly rivalry game with South Adams next week is that Lukas Hunt had his best game at quarterback, throwing for 217 yards on 14 of 22 passing. Alec Reiff was his favorite target, getting six catches for 117 yards.
• Further cementing himself as one of the top two-way players in the region, Central Noble senior Will Hoover rushed for 238 yards and four touchdowns on 19 touches in the Cougars’ 42-16 win over Woodlan.
Hoover also added seven tackles for Central Noble, which is 2-0 for the first time since 2015. His next level effort was on full display against Woodlan. Save for a 40-plus yard game opening touchdown, much of the first quarter saw Woodlan’s defense look like they had a great game plan for slowing Hoover but it turns out it wasn’t sustainable. Hoover showed excellence in breaking away from Woodlan defenders in a diversity of plays, cutting left, right and powering through the middle. Hoover is now averaging over 11 yards per carry on the season and 217.5 yards per game for the Cougars.
The Cougar seniors continued to be a driving force against Woodlan that has them 2-0 to start the season and still in the NECC Small Division conversation with their play, even pre-NECC division games. Preston Diffendarfer picked off two passes against Woodlan, giving him three on the year (equal to the passes he has caught from his own QB on offense).
Meanwhile six different Central Noble seniors picked up seven or more tackles in the win over Woodlan, led by eight from Ashton Dunlap. The Cougars are looking like a threat again.
• Kudos to Churubusco for getting its first win of the year, narrowing holding off Lakeland 21-20 on the road.
Last week, Eagles coach Paul Sade told Blitz that the fact that his team dressed only 27 players in the season opener was “not sustainable.” At Lakeland, Churubusco had just 23 in uniform, yet was still able to earn a win.
Senior Hunter Bianski was a monster, amassing 15 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. Riley Buroff helped himself a lot; the quarterback had no throwing scores but did return a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown in what ended up being a one point win.
But how long can Churubusco last with little to no depth?
• Garrett sophomore Aaden Lytle was thrown into the fire as a freshman to learn the ropes at the varsity level. Those growing pains are already paying dividends for the Railroaders.
Through two games, Lytle is completing 67 percent of his passes for 229 yards and a touchdown. He has also rushed for a team-high four touchdowns.
While the numbers aren’t eye-popping, the progress has been enough to help Garrett knock off a pair of NE8 teams to open the 2021 campaign. As your quarterback gains experience and confidence, it is infectious through the rest of the offense.
There is no doubting that Lytle is more comfortable behind center in Year 2, and Garrett as a whole has been the beneficiary.
• Fremont looked like they could improve to 2-0 through much of the first half of Friday’s home game against Osceola Grace but struggled to move the sticks as well in the second half.
Wyatt Claxton showed out for the Eagles though with a 99 yard kickoff return and a 90 yard reception, both for touchdowns. Fremont also got a highlight reel moment with a big time hit from Gage Cope on an Osceola Grace receiver that knocked the ball loose and forced an incompletion.
Homestead’s Peyton Slaven has thrown for 318 yards and five touchdowns without an INT in his first two career starts…New Haven is 0-2 to start the season for the third time in four years…DeKalb was held to 1.7 yards per carry in Friday’s loss to Garrett…Huntington North is 4-0 against Jay County in the last four seasons and 7-22 against everyone else…Leo has attempted just four passes in the first two weeks, completing one…Heritage has been shut out in three straight games dating back to last year’s sectional loss for the first time in school history…Prairie Heights has scored 35-plus points in two straight games for the first time since 1971. Their win over Bronson (MI) makes Heights 2-0 for the first time since 1986.
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