Outside the Huddle is breaking down every area regional matchup scheduled for this Friday.
We continue in Class 6A as Westfield (10-1) travels to Carroll (10-1).
1. STRENGTH VS. STRENGTH
Since a Week 1 shutout at the hands of Cathedral, Westfield has averaged over 35 points per game against some stiff competition in the Hoosier Crossroads Conference. The 24 points scored last week against Hamilton Southeastern tied a season low since Week 1.
Meanwhile, Carroll has pitched consecutive shutouts in three straight weeks and has surrendered just 17 points over the last six games.
So what gives on Friday?
2. FRIENDLY CONFINES
Carroll has not had to leave campus for a game since early October, having hosted all three playoff games it has appeared in thus far.
Since losing to Bishop Luers at home to open the season, the Chargers are 5-0 at their new digs that opened this season.
The environment will surely be raucous on Friday as fans hope to help boost Carroll to its first-ever regional crown.
3. FAMILIAR TERRITORY
Speaking of teams comfortable in their surroundings, Westfield is looking to capture a regional championship for the second straight year. In 2020, the Shamrocks demolished Homestead 42-9 on the way to an appearance in the Class 6A championship game.
Meanwhile, Carroll is in its first regional game since 2014. Will experience give Westfield the edge?
FOUR PLAYERS TO WATCH
JEFF BECKER, CARROLL
The senior quarterback needs just 11 yards to surpass the program’s all-time RUSHING record, so that gives you a sense of just how good Becker can be with his legs in addition to his arm.
Becker, who is headed to South Dakota St. next season to play for one of the best FBS programs in the country, is a dynamic dual-threat QB. He rarely gets flustered and isn’t afraid to throw on the run or take off for the first down marker. He has accounted for 31 touchdowns and close to 2,000 total yards this season.
POPEYE WILLIAMS, WESTFIELD
A dangerous edge rusher who is big, strong and fast on the corner, Williams has 13.5 tackles for loss and four sacks on the season.
The 6-3, 230-pound beast had an offer from Alabama at one point, but committed to Louisville last June. The four-star has a big-time motor when he is committed to being a difference maker on defense. Carroll must account for Williams at all times.
DYLAN BENNETT, CARROLL
If there is anyone on the Carroll defense who wouldn’t look out of place on any 6A defense around the Indy area, it is Bennett.
The junior has looked the part of a stud in his first full varsity season, but he has played the part as well, seemingly always coming up with a big play or key turnover to boost the Chargers on D.
In a game that will see the defense tested as never before, Bennett in the middle of the defense will need to be a playmaker once again.
ZACH WILLIAMS, WESTFIELD
The Shamrocks will look to instill its will up front against Carroll, and a big piece of that will be Williams, who is a 6-5, 275 two-way tackle.
Westfield will utilize the tackle, who has several D2 offers but may be a sleeper add for a D1 program, in all different situations, but do not be surprised if it pulls him on some plays and keeps him home on others. Get this kid out in space with a full head of steam and he is liable to pancake defenders.
KEY TO VICTORY – WESTFIELD
KEEP THE DEFENSE GUESSING
Carroll has been tremendous on defense, particularly in the second half of the season. It has flied to the ball, played sound against the pass and have finished off opponents.
Westfield can succeed where others failed by keeping the Chargers off balance, throwing a variety of looks and stunts at a unit that has built up a lot of confidence over the course of the season.
The Shamrocks have the athletes to attack via the pass and the run. Utilize that balance to force Carroll into uncomfortable situations.
KEY TO VICTORY – CARROLL
While a great defensive effort keeps the Chargers in this game, Becker is the key to a victory.
The poise and confidence of the young quarterback will go a long way towards deciding this one. His ability to make all the throws will be key, as will his scrambling ability when things break down.
Great players elevate the play around them, something Becker is certainly capable of doing. If he can make some huge plays early and position his team to have a shot in the second half, Carroll has a shot.
Coming Thursday when Blitz makes his regional picks