We are breaking down every area sectional this week as the postseason kicks off this Friday.
Next up is Sectional 19 in Class 4A.
DeKalb (1-8) at Wawasee (1-8)
Leo (9-0) at East Noble (6-2)
Northridge (5-4) at NorthWood (5-4)
Angola (2-7) at Columbia City (4-5)
The Lions are described as “run heavy” but you may as well describe em as “heavy heavy.”
Leo’s biggest asset are its offensive and defensive fronts. They are massive, physical and display sound technique. The result? A rushing attack that has yet to be slowed down this season and a defense that is holding teams to 11 points per game.
The draw did not do Leo any favors, at least in the initial round with a revisit to Kendallville. But the winner of that game will take on a team that has one victory entering the playoffs, so the road to a sectional final game is relatively clear.
People will point out that Leo has not proven that it can consistently pass effectively enough to beat a good team. It’s not that it can’t, it just has yet to display it because the run game has been so dominant.
Will Jackson Barbour rise to the occasion when he needs to? That time may be as soon as Friday at East Noble with Leo in search of its first sectional crown in a decade.
EAST NOBLE (6-2)
Does that mean Coach Luke Amstutz’s team is ready for Round 2 against Leo?
The big challenge for the Knights is going to be limiting the Leo offense, which tore up the defensive unit on the way to 40 points in Week 4.
Are the Knights back on track? After consecutive losses to Leo and Norwell mid-season, East Noble has won three straight.
East Noble fans are going to put to how the team turned the tables on the Lions last year with a win in the postseason after being shut out by Leo in the regular season, but Blitz is confident in saying that this Leo squad is better than a season ago.
To advance in this sectional, the Knights need their defense to be stout. It showed progress over the final three games against the likes of Columbia City and New Haven, but they need to be able to win the point of attack up front. If they can’t, they won’t be able to slow down Leo.
Overlook NorthWood at your own risk. This team has four losses, but all four came to teams with two or less losses on the season.
This is a team with a pair of prolific passers in junior Kaden Lone and sophomore Owen Roeder, who have combined to throw 20 touchdowns. There are multiple pass-catching threats that are all capable of making the big play.
Defensively, NorthWood has struggled to contain the run game, which is a big red flag if it does match up with Leo in the sectional final.
It has been a solid year for first-year coach Chad Eppley, but a first-round draw against NorthWood, a team that beat up on the Raiders 42-8 in the regular season, is not the best draw.
COLUMBIA CITY (4-5)
Four straight losses have the Eagles looking to hit reset for the playoffs. The draw is favorable as Columbia City could end up hosting the first two rounds if NorthWood gets by Northridge in the first round.
This is a team that has the capability to play with anyone in this sectional, but physical play gives them problems, and lack of execution at key moments has been a crutch all season long.
This isn’t the Angola team from a few years ago. Five straight losses to end the season has Coach Andy Thomas truly thankful for starting from scratch for the playoffs.
A defense that has allowed 33 points per contest must do better to have a shot at a win or two.
Can the Barons get a dub in the playoffs? You have to like their chances with a road game at Wawasee on Friday.
The Northern Lakes Conference is no joke, so look past the Warriors at your own risk. But that’s a defense allowing 36 points per game, so…
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