The 2022 high school football season is officially kicking off and what better way to do it than with a Week 1 matchup that has recently been a little wild.
Snider and North Side are two storied programs. The duo kick off the 2022 season at Spuller Stadium and it is the Outside the Huddle Game of the Week.
WHAT IS ON THE LINE
In reality? Not much.
But that isn’t fun. Instead, we can look at this showdown a lot of ways. The SAC is a gauntlet, so one loss is not going to be the be-all, end-all for a team (just ask Carroll after Week 1 last year). Neither team is going to be eliminated from the SAC title race with a loss here.
But two losses could do it, so the last thing either team wants is to potentially leave this game knowing their backs are against the wall the rest of the season with other conference powers still awaiting them.
There is also a lot on the line in terms of pride. We’ll touch more on that in the history section below, but for at least one of these teams, a win means a lot. Snider has an identity and it takes that identity and runs with it year after year. For North Side, it is looking to continue to find and build on an identity started last season.
Sure, Snider really wants to win this game, but for North, it feels almost like the Legends NEED to win this game to establish a big starting point for their season.
Momentum, bigger title hopes, there are things on the line here. It’s what makes this appealing as a Game of the Week. There aren’t many games in week one with as much potentially at stake, whether it is manufactured or not.
Snider is 37-10 in the last 47 meetings of the teams, including some postseason battles. That is a pretty lopsided sum for two of the SAC’s more storied programs. A lot of that has to do with the fact that Snider has been more successful in the last 20 years. North Side has had a handful of good seasons while the Panthers have often been holding onto the SAC Victory Bell.
Where do things get interesting? The last two seasons.
Two years ago was a bit different. Snider was down, going just 5-5, its first non-winning record since 1989. North Side was hitting the peak of the Mike Brevard-coached, Duce Taylor-led era. The Legends showed up to Spuller Stadium and housed Snider by 30. The Panthers had no match for North Side’s aerial assault as Taylor went over the top time and time again to his cavalcade of receivers.
Last season began a new era for North Side with Ben Johnson at the helm of a team that had to replace Taylor, but with many of the same guys back that beat Snider the year before. The Panthers too had a lot of the same guys back, but the Panthers also were a year older and now mostly juniors and seniors with experience. The game was arguably the best game in the SAC all season. Every punch had a counter punch with neither team willing to give an inch. North Side thought it had the game in hand when it scored in the final minute. But the Panthers found a way to get into range of a long field goal attempt when Tyrese Brown had one last big run where he just barely escaped out of bounds to give a timeout-less Snider one last shot.
Down 32-31, the Panthers lined up Nick Talamantes for a 47-yard field goal attempt (Important to note, his 48 yarder before halftime was short and returned by Brauntae Johnson for a touchdown). Talamantes’ near line drive was a no doubter and Snider won the game by two.
How is that for an add on to the North Side/Snider history: the son of a North Side legacy nailing the kick that ends the game in spectacular fashion for a Panthers win?
PLAYERS TO WATCH
BRASHAWN BASSETT, NORTH SIDE
Last year, Brashawn Bassett surprised some people with the plays he made as a non-traditional quarterback. He won’t be back there this year, but Bassett’s aggression and playmaking is going to help North Side in a variety of ways. He may line up wide on offense, he may be a linebacker, yet he could step back to the secondary. Bassett can play almost anywhere on the field, which makes it easier to be a game changer.
LUKE HAUPERT, SNIDER
Luke Haupert has seen North Side from multiple angles the last two seasons. He wasn’t starting at quarterback as a sophomore when the Legends last visited Spuller Stadium and put Snider down bad. Last season, he was under center, but really just starting to find himself. He made some good decisions, he made some bad decisions. Now a senior, he has to be the guy that embraces Snider football and takes the lead. Snider could go how Haupert goes, so that makes him critical this opening Friday night.
KEYS TO THE GAME
SNIDER: TEST DICKERSON
New North Side quarterback Bohde Dickerson has his own history with Snider, with mixed results. He battled the Panthers well last year in the regular season. But when it came to the postseason, Dickerson was instrumental in getting out of the pocket and finding big targets downfield.
So Snider knows what it is getting into with him and should try and test him early. Push Dickerson out of the pocket, force him into uncomfortable throws. It is kind of a no-brainer, but the Panthers need to put pressure on Dickerson to see what he is made of playing in red…something we all want to know.
NORTH SIDE: GET TAE THE BALL
Brauntae Johnson is the best player in the area. We’ve said it. Many others say it.
But last year, offensively, he did not have many receptions or yardage, compared to what you expect out of a top talent. We’ve seen this before in the city. Think James Hardy at Elmhurst, think Craig Young at Wayne. Big playmakers who are big recruits get everyone’s best game all of the time. Like those before him though, Johnson is an absolute playmaker. On defense and in the return game, Johnson has proven he can make something happen. So find a way, any way to get the ball to Tae.
SNIDER: ESTABLISH THE RUN
With the graduation of Tyrese Brown, the run game is a question that the Panthers have going into 2022. They have options in the backfield this season, but just one with really established marks. We know their receivers are speedy and Haupert should be at his most comfortable heading into his senior season at quarterback, so how can the run game accentuate that and test North Side?
The Legends secondary is good so you can’t just throw the ball every time. Snider has high expectations for Langston Leavell to be able to continue the production we saw from him and Brown last year. Can Leavell be that guy that everyone knew was getting the ball but couldn’t be stopped? The Panthers hope so.
NORTH SIDE: BLOCK YOUR VERY BEST
The Legends front line has a lot back and that is important. As noted, Snider needs to pressure North Side quarterback Bohde Dickerson, so this offensive line needs to protect the quarterback. Just as important though, with North Side needing to be multi dimensional, the Legends need to open up holes for the run game and Jontae Lambert. The skill position players get a lot of love, but reality is that this week there may be no more important players than along the offensive front, led by the size and tenacity of Jordan King.
Check back for Blitz’s picks to find out!
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