It was largely a weekend to forget in the SAC, but elsewhere we saw some interesting results, especially in the NE8 and ACAC.
With just three regular-season weeks left this season, teams are running out of time to get things right before the playoffs.
Let’s finish Week 6 in style with Bear Necessities.
• The average margin of victory in the SAC in Week 6 was 45.6 points with the top five teams in the standings destroying the bottom five squads, each in convincing fashion.
It begs the question, would the SAC as a whole benefit more from adjusting the schedule so teams can play a few non-conference teams instead of beating up on inferior opponents or, for the lower-tier squads, finding opportunities for wins outside the league?
It has been an oft-discussed topic, especially from this fuzzy bear. The SAC is making adjustments to the schedule as beginning in 2023 the conference slate will go to a two-year rotating schedule, but it does not present the opportunity of out-of-conference games.
The topic of splitting into two divisions has been discussed within SAC circles, but has not had the unanimous support needed to be passed.
Until then, we are stuck with having lopsided matchups that, quite frankly, don’t help anyone.
• Following his 199-yard, two-touchdown effort in a rout of Northrop, Bishop Luers quarterback Carson Clark is now just 279 yards away from the SAC passing record of 5,983 career yards currently held by Knights assistant coach James Knapke.
Interestingly, Outside the Huddle reached out to Coach Kyle Lindsay last week to do a story about the fact that the soon-to-be all-time passer in the conference is being coached by the current record holder.
But Lindsay politely declined the request, citing 2015.
Six years ago, Noah Wezensky entered the season with a great shot at breaking the record. Much was made about the senior QB’s chances, but he suffered a broken bone in his foot in Week 1 then tore his ACL when he returned, finishing well short of Knapke’s mark.
Call him superstitious, but Coach Lindsay doesn’t want to chance a repeat with a star QB.
Clark is not just chasing the passing yards record. He is 16 completions away from Wezensky’s program-record completions mark and 18 touchdowns short of Knapke’s record for career passing touchdowns.
• It was Bohde Dickerson behind center for Bishop Dwenger in Friday’s win over Concordia Lutheran, the latest update at the position for a team that has struggled to identify a consistent QB1 in 2021.
Dickerson showed out, completing 16-of-22 passes for 181 yards and three scores while also adding a pair of rushing touchdowns. It was the junior’s most extensive action of the year and it was definitely impressive.
Could Coach Jason Garrett go with Dickerson for the Battle of the Bishops next Friday? Has the junior done enough to lock down the spot? We will find out in Week 7.
• One week after East Noble struggled to contain Leo’s monstrous offensive front and, by effect, the rushing attack, the Knights surrendered 262 rushing yards to Norwell.
The 17-0 victory for the Ossian Knights is the second in two years over the Kendallville Knights, indicative of how Coach Josh Gerber’s team has figured out the formula to down one of the NE8’s best.
Luke Graft continues to dominate, with 163 yards receiving and a pair of scores while also forcing a fumble defensively.
East Noble struggled offensively, with three turnovers not helping the cause. But even with Brazel, it is tough to see a path of victory for a team that just couldn’t contain Graft and Norwell on the ground.
• At this point in the season, we tend to ignore games that do not have a direct impact on the league championship races.
But DeKalb’s 50-49 win over Huntington North was epic. The two squads combined for 1,033 total yards, 52 first downs and 148 plays.
It was the connection of Tegan Irk to Donnie Wiley that turned out to be the winning formula, with the duo hooking up for a pair of touchdowns and Wiley’s rushing conversion of the two-point conversion for the win late.
Interestingly, while Huntington North was able to move the ball at will through the first three quarters, the Barons held the Vikings scoreless in the fourth to help propel DeKalb to its first victory of the season.
DeKalb showed a lot of guts to fight at the very end. The Barons trailed 49-35 after three quarters but pushed through in the fourth. Irk and Wiley connected twice down the stretch with Dekalb making a bold choice at the end of the game. Down 49-48, the Barons chose to go for two with Wiley running it in to take the lead and the win.
Irk ended up throwing for 308 yards with 160 to Wiley. Mitch Snyder ran the ball for 119 yards for DeKalb in the win.
I’m not saying that Leo was going to need any help to win the NE8, but they got their cushion on Friday with New Haven’s win over Columbia City and East Noble collecting their second conference loss.
The Lions are in great shape and they sure aren’t taking it easy on anyone. Through 6 weeks, Leo has scored 40 or more points every time. They had only surpassed 40 points on five occasions in the last two seasons. They had not scored 40 or more points in more than two consecutive weeks since 2015 when they did it three times. The Lions scored 40 or more points on five straight weeks in 2011, a year they went to the semi state round.
Those are big points for this dominant run team. Kudos continue to go to the offensive line, many of whom don’t think Blitz gives them enough credit with my predicted points spreads. But they line helps open up for games like Friday’s win over Bellmont where Mason Sheron had 127 rushing yards, followed by 74 each from Jackson Barbour and Carson Hoeppner.
Oh, and Barbour not only threw a pass this week, he completed it and it was for a touchdown. So…diversity?
• Blitz felt like Adams Central was going to take care of business against South Adams in convincing fashion, but it was still impressive.
After taking a back seat to South Adams in the ACAC in the last few years (although the Flying Jets pulled the upset in 2019 in the postseason), the Flying Jets have separated themselves from not just the rest of the ACAC, but perhaps the entirety of Class 1A as well.
But Indianapolis Lutheran looms, with the Saints fresh off a double-digit victory over Scecina, which is impressive in itself.
AC looks phenomenal, but it is by no means a cakewalk to a state title.
• After two straight losses, Bluffton was able to get back on track with the de facto bye week against Southern Wells, earning a 62-6 victory.
The Tigers amassed over 400 yards of total offense evenly spread through quarterback Lukas Hunt and a host of rushers.
The win was much needed, but it also continues to back up the thought process regarding Southern Wells. It is a proud program with a sectional title as recently as 2009 and a state championship in 2001, but how much is too much when you are merely a get-right game for the rest of the ACAC?
• No team in the ACAC had as difficult a schedule through the first five weeks as Heritage had, with games against Norwell, Eastside, Adams Central and South Adams.
So perhaps we are judging Heritage a bit too early, especially considering one of its wins is over a Woodlan team that now sits at .500 on the year.
It was a big week for the running game that AVERAGED 8.7 yards per touch, with all six touchdowns scored coming on the ground. Eric Rogers led the Patriots with 149 yards and three scores.
Watch out for Heritage the rest of the season.
• Laban Davis hit one of two close marks for this career on Friday in a blowout win over Prairie Heights. The Eastside senior threw for 175 yards and ran for 102. His passing game moved him over 4,000 for his career as he now sits at 4,132 passing yards over the past two seasons.
He didn’t quite hit his running mark though as his “just” 102 yards puts him at 2,982 for his career where he should surpass 3,000 this coming week.
We’ve talked a lot about Laban Davis in recent weeks and that is for a reason. In the NECC, he continue to be unmatched. While a postseason possible showdown with Bishop Luers is one most will predict Luers to win, I think we all want to see Davis opposite that level of talent. Right now, against the teams he plays against weekly, he is jus too good to slow down, let alone stop.
Julio Macias extended his state leading made field goal mark to 8 on Friday night with a pair of kicks in a West Noble win over Garrett. Macias didn’t play last year but his return to the field has helped West Noble get to a position where they can clinch at least a share of the NECC big division this coming Friday.
Based on those who report stats to MaxPreps – and if you don’t why not? – Macias sits just one make behind the top field goal maker in the country. Oddly though, Macias’ top kick of 47 yards doesn’t even rank in the top 50 nationally right now. He does rank fifth in the state for longest make but only second in the area.
Carroll‘s Sebastian Lopez has a 48 yarder to his name this season.
Macias, and kickers in general, often don’t get the credit they deserve but we have seen some major kicking nights and moments this season. Week one, Snider‘s Nick Talamantes won the OTH Player of the Week fan vote after a closing seconds game winner. Week five, Columbia City‘s Garrett Klefeker got that same honor after hitting four field goals in one game.
Macias’ 44 yard boot to beat Garrett and – almost – the buzzer on Friday deserves major credit right up there with some of the other big kicking moments this season and may be even bigger when all is said and done. Kickers matter too guys.
Who will be the biggest spoiler as we come down the stretch of the NECC? With both divisions still up for grabs, we will get some major clarity this week even.
Churubusco will visit Central Noble on Friday with the reality that the loser could be out of the small division race. The Cougars sit without a loss, but they would love to hold onto that unbeaten moniker at least until a week eight visit to Eastside. Busco sits with one loss in the division, so their best hope for a title is to keep winning. They didn’t face a big challenge in Fremont this week, but the defense was still stout.
Churubusco picked off two passes, recovered a fumble and hounded Fremont’s QB all night to the tune of three sacks. Right now, the Eagles look mighty and could play some spoiler.
In the big division, don’t be shocked if Garrett still has something to say about how things shake out. The Railroaders sit 1-1 in the division after a heartbreaking loss to West Noble in the closing seconds Friday. They will play Fairfield on Friday with the chance to end the Falcons’ title hopes will propelling theirs.
Garrett didn’t stay predictable on Friday and that is one reason why they can still make waves this season. Their opening touchdown, thrown by wide receiver Kaiden Colburn, had West Noble turned sideways. They ran the ball, but not always with power legged Robert Koskie. Keeping the playbook unique and diverse keeps Garrett a threat.
Carroll’s 59-0 rout of South Side is the 300th victory in program history…Homestead converted as many third-down conversions (eight) as North Side had total FIRST downs…Homestead coach Chad Zolman registered his 150th career win Friday against North Side; all of those have come as Homestead’s head coach…Woodlan’s three-game winning streak is the longest for the program since 2018…With its loss to Woodlan, Jay County is now 0-7 all-time against the Warriors…A 27-14 win over Lakeland gives Central Noble a 6-0 start for just the 4th time in program history.
Make sure to get your vote in today for the Week 6 FAN CHOICE Player of the Week, sponsored by Craigville Appliance.
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