The annual Optimum Performance Sports 7v7 Summit City Shootout has become a tradition of sorts for area programs and Blitz alike. For this fuzzy bear, it is the unofficial kickoff of the upcoming season as coaches and kids continue preparations for the fall.
The event also allows Blitz to see a multitude of area squads in one place – complete with old faces in new faces and emerging talents ready to step up and show out come August.
Last week we looked at the large school division. Today, we take a glance at what Blitz picked up on at Carroll last Wednesday amongst the small schools…
There was no team – small or large – that impressed more people last Wednesday than the Starfires. Throughout the day, Blitz had several players and even a few OPS folks ask him who the team was that was slinging it all over the field piling up points.
Junior Owen Wanner had himself a day, pinpointing throws throughout the event to the likes of Silas Loshe, Maverick Summersett and others. From quick outs to deep posts, Wanner, who threw for over 1,600 yards and 20 touchdowns last season, looked the part of the best QB1 in the Allen County Athletic Conference.
The defense made its mark as well. Even without pads, South Adams was physical to the point that Blitz overheard opposing players commenting on how hands-on and tough the Starfires were being.
Once again, the ACAC this fall is going to come down to Adams Central and South Adams. The line play will be the difference, as SA looks loaded again and AC’s rushing attack is expected to be exceptional per usual.
Over the years, Blitz has come to expect as little hype as possible from Coach Tim Mannigel when talking about his team. Even when Concordia captured the 3A state championship in 2016, Mannigel attempted to temper expectations at every opportunity.
Mannigel was up to his old tricks last week when the Cadets took the field at Carroll. With minimal practices together and QB1 Eli Mattox not available, Concordia was still able to make enough plays to get to the championship game of the small school division.
As Mannigel settles back in on the sideline with the Cadets after a one-year hiatus, there will be a bit of a learning curve, but also the familiarity is there as most of his players have been coached by him at one time or another.
There are pieces at Concordia. It just needs time to mature.
The Railroaders are entering Year 3 of Aaden Lytle at QB1, and we continue to see flashes of brilliance along with flashes of sketchy decision making.
Lytle has all the tools to be one of, if not the best quarterback in the entire Northeast Corner Conference. He is that good. But through two years, he has thrown over twice as many INTs (19) as he has touchdowns (nine).
The good news is that Lytle’s completion percentage went up 12 points from his freshman to sophomore year and his overall completions per game doubled.
A lot of the misfires that Lytle has made over his first two years can be chalked up to inexperience, but Blitz still saw him make some ill-advised throws last Wednesday. Now a junior, mistakes now to be minimized and Lytle needs to emerge as one of the top players at his position in the conference, both in his skill set and decision making.
Following an eight-win campaign that included a 6-0 start, Central Noble needs to replace Will Hoover, who accounted for 1,500 all-purpose yards last year. Tyler Shisler may be that guy, as he has shown signs of building upon his 881 passing yards and 420 rushing yards from last year as a sophomore…The fact that East Noble’s junior varsity team was one score in OT away from advancing to the small school championship game shows the depth in which that program is built upon.
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