We continue our look at every area sectional field as Classes 5A and 6A kick off postseason action this Friday.
Today we look at the unique three-team Sectional 11 in Class 5A.
Northrop (3-6) vs. Snider (7-1)
North Side (2-6) at Bishop Dwenger (5-4)
The Panthers enter this sectional as the heavy favorites, with their body of work over the course of six straight weeks including victories over both Bishop Dwenger and Northrop by double digits.
Throw in a Week 1 victory over North Side in the closing seconds and Coach Kurt Tippmann’s squad is perfect against sectional foes.
A double dose of Tyrese Brown and Langston Leavell make the Snider rushing attack tough to stop, compounded by the fact that the offensive front has grown over the course of the season to become a physical, aggressive unit.
Defensively, the players up front command respect and open up opportunities for linebackers, the deepest unit on that side of the ball for Snider. The secondary doesn’t have a lot of elite guys, but it is full of hard-nosed defenders who can stay with receivers downfield and break up throws underneath.
Perhaps most importantly, this is a well-coached football team that has had two weeks to prepare for its first foe and is familiar with whomever it will take on in the final.
BISHOP DWENGER (5-4)
With some stability on offense with quarterback Bohde Dickerson settling into the starting role and the threats of K.J. Tippmann and Rocco Ciocca every time they touch the ball, Bishop Dwenger is not in bad shape entering the playoffs in terms of scoring points.
What is alarming is a defense that is surrendering over 26 points per contest. The Saints did not hold a single regular-season foe below 10 points in a game for the first time in program history.
The biggest issue has been the big play. While the Saints can limit an offense here or there, it tends to allow opponents to strike with chunk plays and move down the field.
Blitz feels Bishop Dwenger has the second-best chance in this field to emerge with a trophy, but the defense has to be much, much better.
NORTH SIDE (2-6)
It will be three weeks between games for the Legends when they take the field against Bishop Dwenger on Friday. Has the team used that time to get past quarantine and re-energize for the playoffs?
If the answer is yes, North Side could be a dangerous foe. But we haven’t seen the Legends anywhere close to full strength over the last month or so, and blowout losses to Bishop Luers, Homestead and Northrop since early September haven’t been kind.
That said, the Legends remain dangerous if they are locked in due to their personnel – including wideouts Brauntae Johnson, Jordan Turner and Robert Woods as well as running back Jontae Lambert.
If the offense can get going, a defense allowing 36 points per game will still need to get stops if North Side is to be able to get a pair of dubs over the next two weeks.
The matchup isn’t good, with the Bruins taking on a Snider squad that pushed it around in Week 7 in a 42-12 rout.
The hope for Northrop is that Snider comes into the game lacking focus after a long layoff and the fact that the Panthers earned a share of the SAC crown the last time they were on the field.
The Bruins have to score more points to have a shot against Snider, while the defense cannot surrender its average 32 points per game. Linebacker ulante Hinton needs to be a one-man wrecking crew and the secondary of Northrop, while has some dogs, needs to create turnovers when given the opportunity to in the pass game.