Mud, mud and more mud. That was the theme of Week 9, though not if you had turf. Still, there were some really brown and mucky games including at Bishop Luers, Central Noble, DeKalb and more.
In the end, we’ve got our full list of champions for 2021 as we have officially wrapped up the regular season.
Congrats to our area conference champions: Snider, Bishop Luers, Carroll, Leo, Adams Central, Eastside and Fairfield.
Let’s close out Week 9 and the 2021 regular season with some Bear Necessities:
• All eyes were on Bishop Luers on Friday night as the then-unbeaten Knights hosted Snider to determine the SAC title picture and who got to have or share the Victory Bell in 2022.
BLITZ: The criticism around 2020 was transformed into fuel for Snider in 2021Blitz had plenty to say about that game in his column and on Twitter and I’ll stand by it all, but on Sunday we need to take the time to praise Tyrese Brown.
As Snider has been right there in our collective minds as a contender all year, Brown has been the engine that could making sure their offense always continued success. Everyone should look at his 202 yard, three touchdown effort in the mud in week nine with high praise. The kid didn’t seem to have a single inch of clean on his entire body as he bodied through the Luers defense.
With Luers looking like maybe they could contend for the lead in the fourth quarter, it was Brown who worked his way 35 yards to the end zone to push the Panthers lead to 12 with less than two minutes to play. Heap the praise on the kid and as soon as the bell first arrives at Snider, make sure Brown is there and let him ring it loud.
What should also be remembered is that Brown has now bookended the regular season with big runs. Take a trip back to week one when Snider made the bold call of running a rushing play in the closing seconds against North Side to get the extra yardage they needed for the eventual game winning field goal. They didn’t put the ball in the air at the sideline, they handed it off to Brown and had the confidence he would get the yardage and get out of bounds with the clock ticking away. Coach Kurt Tippmann has trusted Brown all season and it seems fair that the was the one that closed out a share of the SAC title on Friday.
• It wouldn’t be fair to ignore the other two teams that will share the SAC title as the Victory Bell travels to three different schools next season.
Carroll beat Wayne soundly to extend its winning streak to eight games. The Chargers are now winning by an average of 30.3 points per game and haven’t given up more than 10 points in a game in the last four weeks.
Quarterback Jeff Becker moved within 176 passing yards of second place in SAC history on Friday as his connections with Jameson Coverstone, Hansen Haffner and AJ Lazoff gained big yards. The Chargers get to claim a piece of the SAC for the first time in school history with their last conference title coming in 2014, the last year of the Northeast Hoosier Conference.
Bishop Luers has their first share of a SAC title since 2014, a year that it was also shared three ways with Wayne and Snider. The Knights fell short on Friday, but still had a solid game with Sir Hale handling the ground game strong and Carson Clark finding some success in the air. This is Bishop Luers’ 13th conference title.
Also, kudos to Aden Dennis from Bishop Luers in his return game Friday. He doesn’t look like he missed a beat and even laid down a big hit stick moment. The Knights lost Friday, but they are far from done this season.
Has Bohde Dickerson fully settled in at quarterback for Bishop Dwenger?
After a lot of flip flopping in that area early in the season, Dickerson became the Saints’ guy and is starting to show more confidence and comfort under center. His completion percentage was solid in a week 8 loss to Snider and this Friday, he moved the ball through the air well and was able to take the ball on the run.
For Dwenger’s future to be as good as their past, it is important to have a solid young quarterback that the team can build around for years to come. While not the entire feature, the fact that Brenden Lytle was able to do that for many years before graduating in the spring of 2021, was important for the big picture at Dwenger.
Dickerson is really starting to look the part.
• Judging from pictures, the only thing two differentiate Leo and DeKalb visually on Friday was that fact that there was a lot of white showing on Leo quarterback Jackson Barbour‘s jersey. Other than that, straight mud in what looked like it may have been one of the nastiest affairs on Friday night.
Leo has another NE8 title, their second straight year being unbeaten in the conference. Leo has now won at least a share of the NE8 title four times in the conference’s seven years of existence. Before their joined the new NE8, Leo won at least a share of six straight ACAC titles. Do the math: in the last 13 seasons, Leo has been a conference champion 10 times.
The dueling run game again was shared by Mason Sheron this week. After winning the last three OTH FAN VOTE Player of the Week honors, Sheron went for 132 yards on 19 carries in week nine. He shared the heavy back work with Carson Hoeppner and his 126 yards.
And next for Leo comes East Noble, again.
Their last game was one of, if not the very best, area game of 2021. Immediately after East Noble’s comeback attempt fell short to Leo, it looked like that game may have broken them. They got shut out by Norwell and then barely edged out Columbia City. But the last two weeks have been a significantly different story for East Noble.
After beating New Haven 45-13 in week eight, they trounced Bellmont by 49 points this week.
If anything, their first two games after Leo were a bit of a hangover, coming down from the adrenaline that lead into their showdown with the Lions.
Nick Munson continues to be underrated for the Knights. On Friday against Bellmont, he ran for 25 yards, he caught a couple of passes for 46 yards, he scored a touchdown and he had an interception. With athletes like that in the fold, look for next week to be another classic.
• An outright title belongs to Adams Central and I am not sure there was any doubt about it not going that way. Despite some really big performance in the mid point of the season, Woodlan just wasn’t on the same level as the Flying Jets. Don’t feel bad, very few people are. 55 of Adams Central’s 62 points came in the first half.
And with that, AC has won the ACAC outright three of the last five seasons after not winning the conference for 18 years before that.
But Blitz wants to take this time talking about Adams Central to take you back to August 25, 2019. That day, Flying Jets great Drew Schultz slid into Blitz’s Twitter DMs to tell me that current Flying Jet senior Blake Heyerly, then a sophomore “will be an absolute animal if he stays healthy.” It was the first real intro for yours truly to Heyerly and like always, Schultz’s opinion was a winning one.
That is because Blake Heyerly is a winner. For three straight seasons, Heyerly has been a major, hard charing constant for Adams Central. Heyerly has only lost six games in those three seasons and he capped off the 2021 regular season with a team high 158 rushing yards and 5.5 tackles (4 solo) on Friday night.
Schultz was right: Heyerly was one to keep an eye on and he still is. As impressive as Adams Central is, we have to give major credit to Heyerly for making plays and we have to give credit to at least one AC alum for showing early and educated support for what was the future of Adams Central football.
• Down year for South Adams? Ha.
We got to see a lot of names pop off for the Starfires on Friday in a win over Southern Wells as they improved to 7-2 in this rebuilding season. Credit to Conner Fear, who may have done everything on Friday as he completed a pass, he ran for a touchdown and he led the Starfires with seven tackles.
The most fun part about South Adams on Friday is that Aidan Wanner helped lead them out onto the field on senior night. No, it wasn’t fun because he was back dressed to play. It was fun because the Starfires took the field on senior night at Bluffton High School.
South Adams beat the system as other games were played in the sloppiness that was natural grass. Coach Grant Moser and company got to call in a favor to friendly rival Bluffton and take two the turf in Wells County instead of the lake that probably awaited them in Berne.
Good call by Moser and company, great assist from Brent Kunkel and the Tigers.
• One of the more odd games in mud was at Central Noble where the host Cougars got an 8-0 win over Garrettt with a single touchdown coming in the second quarter. Tyler Shisler‘s 57 yard run and Will Hoover‘s two-point conversion were all the Cougars needed to end their regular season on a positive note.
Add in Churubusco‘s 26-0 win over NECC Big Division champion Fairfield. Where teams in the big division couldn’t slow Fairfield, Busco essentially stopped them. Wyatt Marks (125 yards) and Nick Nondorf (91 yards) handled the offensive load while everybody just tackled their butts off. Sophomore Weston Rinker had 17 tackles, Cullen Blake added 14 and Gavin Huelsenbeck had nine to go with two sacks and fumble recovery.
It was a very impressive performance from Busco with a big Sectional game forthcoming.
And finally, Eastside beat Angola in a win that was clearly expected butt a great exclamation point to the Blazers’ undefeated regular season. Laban Davis does Laban Davis things…again. He ran for 207 yards and five touchdowns and was unstoppable against an Angola team that has always prided itself on a strong defense. That Angola team really doesn’t exist this season, but Davis deserves his props every week despite what some Twitter keyboard Warriors may think.
What do all of those add up to: that the NECC Small Division was much superior to the Big Division this season. The top three teams in the small division got those wins on Friday over the #1, #2 and #5 teams in the Big Division making the small division 3-1 against their conference opponents Friday. The Big Division’s only win came as West Noble beat Prairie Heights. Even small division last place Fremont picked up a win this week, beating Lake Station 68-16 on Saturday afternoon.
Next up for the history of great Snider defensive players? Could be Lukas Rohrbacher. The sophomore registered a team high 14 tackles on Friday in the win over Bishop Luers…With their JV in quarantine, Bluffton beat Lakeland on Friday night with just 19 players…Northrop‘s Roosevelt Noorfleet III had a breakout game Friday in a loss to Homestead with 223 yards passing, 57 yards rushing and three total touchdowns…Leo finished the regular season 9-0 for the first time since 2013; Eastside finished the regular season 9-0 for the first time ever…Snider‘s 18th conference title comes in a season where both their JV and freshmen teams went unbeaten.
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