With the Summit Athletic Conference now open for business in Week 1 and 2 for non-conference games beginning in 2023, talk has already swirled about the contests we could see on the field.
Some showdowns have already been set – a few behind closed doors and others already announced (Snider vs. East Noble).
Many ideas have been thrown out, some realistic and others a pipe dream. Over the last two weeks, Blitz has also entertained a fair amount of great matchups he would love to get.
Can they happen at some point in the near future? Here’s hoping.
SOUTH ADAMS vs. CONCORDIA LUTHERAN
A lot of people began dreaming up SAC vs. NE8 games as soon as the new SAC format was announced. But let’s not leave out the ACAC here.
What Blitz is believing you will see out of a lot of SAC teams is one out-of-area matchup and one local showdown. This would fit for the Cadets in the latter category.
South Adams has a balanced offensive attack that is going to challenge Concordia Lutheran’s pass defense. A well-rounded defense is going to be a key for the Cadets in the 3A playoffs, and a visit to Berne from a Fort Wayne program with a recent state title to its name will be big in terms of attendance.
While Concordia will be challenged, so will the Starfires against an SAC foe that won’t immediately have a huge advantage in numbers and size.
NORTHROP vs. BLOOMINGTON SOUTH
There is always discussion about the 260 being able to schedule the 317, but what about the 812?
Bloomington South had a lot of success under former coach Mo Moriarity, and current coach Gabe Johnson led the Panthers to a sectional crown in 2021.
Northrop is going to try and find some wins in the non-conference, as it needs program momentum to try and convince the athletes roaming the halls at the largest high school in Fort Wayne Community Schools by enrollment to come out and play.
That said, the Bruins also need challenges that are going to help them in the SAC and beyond. South is a consistent program that is always going to be a challenge, but not a Herculean foe.
The game also gains Fort Wayne some looks from the Bloomington area, and vice versa.
SOUTH SIDE vs. WHITING
OK, maybe this is purely wishful thinking from Blitz. The locale of Whiting’s football field is literally feet away from Lake Michigan. The skyline of Chicago can be seen in the distance, and the incessant passing of METRA trains between the field and the water adds to the atmosphere.
Whiting isn’t above playing up despite being 2A. In 2022, it has 4A Highland on the schedule. In 2019, it went all the way to Evansville to play Mater Dei.
The Oilers are a proud program that had a ton of success in the middle 2010s, including a win over Woodlan on a wintry November night in 2015 to clinch a spot in the state championship.
For South Side, this will be a winnable game more often than not, and during the years when this is a road game it will provide quite the unique experience. Sometimes being able to sell WHERE you play your games means just as much as wins and losses. After all, kids are weird.
CARROLL vs. MERRILLVILLE
Blitz would love to see more area teams head northwest for games or welcome those teams to Allen County. Exhibit A was above with Whiting and South, this is Exhibit B.
Fresh off three-consecutive trips to semistate, the 6A Pirates are no joke. The Duneland Conference that they call home is full of 6A programs that both Carroll AND Homestead need to be lining up against more consistently.
Andrean is locked in as a long-time rival either in Week 1 or 2 for Merrillville, leaving a single opening. We have seen in recent years the Pirates not afraid to schedule the likes of Penn, Warren Central and South Bend Clay with that opening.
This game would be a solid addition for both. Merrillville gets powerful small school Andrean and still a challenging conference schedule to prep it for 6A competition, while Carroll gets a quality foe that’s going to give it what it needs to see in the highest class in the state.
HOMESTEAD vs. COLUMBUS NORTH
South of Indianapolis and east of Bloomington sits Columbus, with an oft-underappreciated hotbed of football in the higher classes.
The last we saw of Columbus East, it was edging Bishop Dwenger by a single point in the state title game in 2013.
But Blitz has his eyes on Columbus North, a 6A program that has no qualms about scheduling tough teams. In the six-team Conference Indiana, the Bulldogs not only have the ability to protect its non-conference rivalry with East, but also step up to Indy by scheduling the likes of Roncalli, Cathedral and Chatard.
Much like Carroll, Homestead needs to find some foes that will prepare it for the postseason. If the first set of “preferred” opponents comes up empty, Columbus North is a good alternative.
BONUS DREAM WORLD MATCHUP: BISHOP DWENGER vs. EVANSVILLE MATER DEI
Even if this happened just once, Blitz would be in heaven.
This bear has never seen a game in the Reitz Bowl, a venue that many consider the top high school football stadium in the state. A battle between two highly-regarded parochial programs in Indiana would be big time, particularly since they have never met up on the gridiron.
Unfortunately, there is a huge hurdle. Mater Dei resides in the Southern Indiana Conference, a 10-team league. Much like the SAC, it is stuck in the nine-week, nine-league contest format, making a regular-season showdown in the 10,000-seat facility all but impossible…for now.
These opinions represent those of Blitz and Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Blitz on Twitter at Blitz_OTH