MULLEN MOMO: It’s Rivalry Week in the SAC

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Joining the Outside the Huddle staff in 2021 is former Bishop Luers standout Kendrick Mullen. The member of the Class of 2013 suited up for Ball State University and after college served as an assistant coach for several years with his high school alma mater. Mullen is now a football trainer and 7v7 coach at Optimum Performance Sports.

Kendrick’s weekly column goes by the name “Mullen MoMo.” According to Kendrick himself, MoMo was something late Bishop Luers coach Mike Egts used to say to players to get them going. “I’m pretty sure it just means like momentum or something,” Kendrick says.

The weeks keep blowing by.

It’s kind of hard to believe that come Friday we will be in a whole new month and heading into the tail end of the 2021 regular season.

Football in September went by extremely fast, but managed to keep all of us high school football lovers on the edge of our seats. There were games that exceeded the hype on multiple occasions, with players showcasing their special talents throughout the entire month!

October is the month where we find out what teams are truly made of. The excitement and enjoyment that September brought forth now gives way to games with even more meaning being played. Conference champions will be crowned. Sectionals will be drawn. It’s the month that leads into sectional championship night on November 5.

Every week is important. I’m not saying the first six weeks of the season were only for our entertainment. What has happened so far has put teams in position to establish themselves as the superior teams in the area. With three weeks left and conference standings as close as they are, things are sure to tighten up to close out regular season play. 

For teams in the Summit Athletic Conference, the first day of October means that it’s Rivalry Week! Bragging rights and school pride are on the line. The SAC has an even split between teams who are above .500 and below .500 in the six games thus far. 

The conference standings show four teams with 1-5 records. Interestingly enough, those four teams are paired against each other in their rivalry games. These two matchups will leave two teams at the very bottom of the conference and two attempting to fight their way into the middle of the conference standings. With only nine games in the regular season, five losses mean there is no chance of ending the conference slate with a winning record.

There is one team sitting at 2-4 that has a chance of ending their season with a winning record. Their final three games will be a tall task to complete going into a week against a team who is 5-1 on the season. I know what you all are thinking, but one has to be optimistic and play out all the possibilities, right?

That leaves us with four teams left who have over-.500 recordswho will all square off against each other this Friday. These two matchups could make or break a team’s hopes of becoming conference champions. 

Teams with two or more losses after Week 7 will very well see their conference title hopes begin to fade. Even teams with only one loss have to be sure they are sharp in all phases to not slip into that two-loss category. 

The only undefeated team in the conference has to take care of business to remain on top. Easier said than done. Any shortcomings of this team will result in an absolute frenzy throughout the conference and the race will once again be wide open. 

This week I take a closer look into these SAC rivalry games and what each game means to teams moving closer to the end of regular season action.

I begin with Concordia Lutheran @ Wayne. Both teams enter Week 7 with 1-5 records. 

The Cadets have won four of the last five games against the Generals. Also, in that five-game span Concordia has never entered the matchup being 1-5. This is uncharted territory for the Cadets being at the bottom of the SAC. They will be looking to get back into the win column and find their way into the middle of the pack by the end of conference play.

The Generals, on the other hand, believe they are not one of the bottom feeders. With only one win, the confidence that this Wayne team has does not match that of a team which has not had much success. They know they have top-tier playmaking abilities, but have not been able to put together team efforts that can keep up with the top teams. This explosive Wayne team feels it has a good chance against teams which may have a little less firepower. The Generals are playing this one for their R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

North Side @ South Side is the other game that features teams that have 1-5 records. 

Now, the Legends aren’t your typical 1-5 team. In their first six games they have struggled at times, but in the back of my mind I am just waiting for “it” to happen. Judging by the caliber of talent they have on the roster it seems to be only a matter of time before things just click. We have all seen glimpses of how lethal this North Side team can be, so we are all anticipating its coming-out party at some point. The Legends take pride in housing the Totem Pole, so this one for them is about keeping it over on State Boulevard.

The South Side Archers have not hoisted the Totem Pole in three years and feel they have a legit chance of bringing it back on Calhoun Street this year. The anticipation of a new era of Mean Green football starts with a win against their foes from the north. They certainly have talent of their own to make this an exciting showdown. In a rally to bring back old South Side tradition, the Archers will be playing to bring a spark back to a rivalry that has seen some high-level playmaking over the years.

The Battle for Spuller Stadium is Snider @ Northop as the two teams alternate each season on who will be considered the “home” team at the stadium. This is arguably the most lopsided of the five games in the Summit City with Snider coming in at 5-1 and Northrop sitting at 2-4. 

The Bruins have had moments that have shown some potential. In Week 1 they went toe to toe with Homestead in the first half before the Spartans eventually took command of the game. We all know Northrop has unique weapons, but it has yet to be able to put together a complete game plan against the elite teams.

In all five of the rivalries in the SAC there’s only one as completely one-sided as this one. The Panthers have controlled the rivalry for an unspeakable amount of years. This appears to be a game to write off in favor of Snider once again. Whether it be its well-established run game or a defense that hasn’t given up more than 14 points since Week 2, this Snider team has found its groove. While Spuller Stadium holds dear value to the Panthers, this game is just another stop on the way towards a potential SAC championship. They are playing to keep things rolling with their title ambitions.

My Game of the Week is Homestead @ Carroll. There is so much that goes into this matchup besides Homestead entering at 4-2 and Carroll at 5-1. This rivalry goes beyond both teams joining the SAC back in 2015. The Spartans have not lost the rivalry since their inaugural season in the league.

The Homestead Spartans have two losses, both of which came at the hands of teams in the top 3 of the league. To give you even more perspective on just how close the Spartans are to being amongst the best, both losses were decided by three points. This is a team that is capable of beating any team in the league. They have scored 30-plus points in all but one game. Their defense is always swarming around to make plays. I think this game for the Spartans is to make a statement to everyone that they are still one of the premier programs in the conference despite some close losses.

The Chargers are looking to end a six-year drought to the Spartans. Carroll is a team that has been one of the most exciting to watch on both sides of the ball. Scoring 40 or more points in its last four contests, it lights up the scoreboard every night. The defense is putting points on the board as well. Turnovers that result in touchdowns is another way this team has been unstoppable in recent weeks. This rivalry game is at home for the Chargers so I see this game being a must-win in their new stadium and a return back to the win column in this great rivalry.

The rivalry is also a preview of a potential rematch in Sectional 3 between the two teams in postseason action.

Bishop Luers @ Bishop Dwenger, most commonly known as the “Battle of the Bishops.” To some this game is just an annual matchup between two parochial schools. To others such as myself, this one holds meaning almost to the magnitude of a conference championship. This is where all the bragging rights in the diocese take place. Am I biased on this one? I’ll never tell.

The Saints have lost two games this season against teams with winning records. Coming in with a 4-2 record, this team is looking to not only get back on track in the conference standings, but also take down Bishop Luers as the only unbeaten team. As far as the rivalry goes, Bishop Dwenger is 5-0 against the Knights since 2016. The last two seasons the Saints have outscored the Knights 90-6. If history repeats itself, the Saintuary will be adding another “D” to the Bishop Dwenger side of the Bishop’s Trophy. The Saints are playing to send a message to the Knights that they are still on top in the diocesan rivalry. 

The Bishop Luers Knights enter the final trimester of the regular season sitting at a perfect, unblemished 6-0. The Knights have made their intentions very clear: they are here and they are for real. Their lowest-scoring game of the season is 38 points. The amount of weapons the Knights have at the skill positions and in the trenches are the perfect balance needed in a conference as tough as this one. Despite being on a five-game losing streak against the Saints, the revamped Luers Spirit is ready to fearlessly go into battle. The Knights play this game looking to continue on with a perfect season as their goal and for their pride in Bishop Luers tradition.

Following a week that ended with running clocks in all five SAC games, this Rivalry Week is destined to be much more enjoyable for fans. Teams are more evenly matched and there is more at stake in terms of school pride. This is the opportunity for every student-athlete to go out and represent their school. These are the games that have memories that will last a lifetime. 

Mullen MoMo appears every week during the prep football season. These opinions represent those of the writer. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. 

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