Week 6: Five area players to watch tonight on the gridiron

Lakeland’s Caleb Sellers works to get away from the Angola defense during a September 17 game. (Photo by Steve Bowen/Bowen Arrow Photography)

Week 6 is headed your way tonight and as always, we talk about five players that you should keep an eye on. Maybe they did well last week? Maybe they have a favorable or intriguing matchup?

Here are the players to keep on watch:

Caleb Sellers, Lakeland vs. Central Noble

The win over Angola makes people wonder: can Lakeland also throw a wrench in the momentum of a NECC small division team?

While Lakeland can’t alter those standings, it can throw Central Noble’s momentum off. Caleb Sellers is one of the Lakers’ more diverse players on both sides of the ball.

Offensively, he is used heavily in the run game, where he has 227 yards on 31 carries, used for power as RB2. But on defense, he can really get into the rushing and passing games from his outside linebacker position. He has a single interception, but three pass deflections and moves well enough to give other teams pause when throwing his way. Sellers also has 24 tackles on the season with five coming last week against run heavy Angola, which is good to know going into a game with run heavy Central Noble.

Nick Nondorf, Churubusco vs. Fremont

Nondorf’s size can be a problem for a lot of teams in the NECC and Fremont, who on average isn’t very big, could struggle against it. The fact that Nondorf is well over six feet, is deceptively quick and has really good hands to boot, makes him a target to be a big playmaker against a team that is giving up 36 points per game, but 53.5 on average over the last two weeks. Nondorf is averaging 14.9 yards per catch and 10.5 yards per run while leading Churubusco with 506 all purpose yards. His defensive prowess will be big in cutting down Fremont’s options, with going over the top going to be a struggle against Churubusco as a whole, especially with Nondorf patrolling; he has two interceptions on the season.

Quinn Faulkner, Jay County at Woodlan

After last week’s effort, where Faulkner became one of Jay County’s most prolific single game rushers ever, how can he not be one to look at this week. Woodlan and Jay County are really battling for higher ACAC rankings, so expect this to be a full effort game. Woodlan has struggled with big rushing games already this season so Faulkner is going to be one to key in on Warrior weaknesses. He ran the ball for 253 yards last week, averaging 8.4 yards per carry while scoring five touchdowns. Can Woodlan close the gaps that Faulkner is going to attack?

Josh Arntz, Columbia City at New Haven

We can start with the fact that his six interceptions is tied for fourth nationally four teams reporting to MaxPreps, which is also top in the state. He doesn’t factor in to the offense much for the Eagles but as they look too clamp down on the amount of points they are giving up per game, he is a great leader for this defense. He leads the Eagles with 38 tackles (7.6 per game) and obviously the interception game is huge against a team like New Haven. Averaging 1.2 interceptions per game, the odds are that he is going to take the ball away at least once. He averages over 20 yards per interception return too, so he is able to parlay those picks into positive yardage for the Columbia City offense. Arntz also has a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Henry O’Keefe, Bishop Dwenger at Concordia

Possibly more than any other team in the area, the Saints need a big bounce back to get back into the conversation of a top area team this season. One of the knocks has been inexperience in key positions but that doesn’t apply to O’Keefe. Anytime your team is down, you look to some veteran experience to build you back up. Bishop Dwenger has had some struggles in the air, trying to find the right mix to get things going while also seeing added attention to Rocco Ciocca. That has allowed O’Keefe to be critical in helping Dwenger move the ball. His 10 catches on the season are second to Ciocca, but he does lead the team in yardage with 158 receiving yards.

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