Week one: 5 Players to watch on the gridiron tonight

Bishop Luers’ Gio Jimenez works his way through the Heritage defense during an August 12 scrimmage. (Photo by John Felts)

Week 1 is upon us and there are five players that you should keep an eye on to make several big plays throughout the course of the night. 

Here are the players to keep on watch:

Riley Buroff, Churubusco vs. Columbia City

The Whitley County rivals will open the season against each other for the third consecutive season, and Columbia City has had its way with its smaller, county foe. But if Churubusco is going beat Columbia City for the first time, Buroff will definitely play a large part in doing so. As Mr. Everything for ‘Busco, Buroff is going to have to keep the offense moving. The Churubusco offense has only mustered up seven points combined in the last two matchups.

Gio Jimenez, Bishop Luers vs. Carroll

Last year’s battle between the Knights and Chargers went a long way in the race for the SAC. This year’s game could do so as well as both teams are breaking in new quarterbacks. The most experienced and talented group on the field tonight will be the Carroll defense. That’s where Jimenez comes in. He’s going to have to a breakout night for Luers to make a statement in Week 1. He had 18 rushes for 164 yards and two scores during 2021 and will share carries with R.J. Hogue. To withstand a long evening running into the deep Carroll linebacking corps, led by Dylan Bennett, Jimenez will need to break off a few big ones.

Kylar Decker, Leo vs. Kokomo

This season the Leo offense will look a lot different and will have a new signal caller. Decker will be leading a new group of playmakers and an offensive line that will replace three all-conference starters from a year ago. It will be up to Decker to find a nice blend of run and pass to keep pace with a Kokomo offense that knows how to score. The Wildkats were 8-3 in 2021 and return several of its top performers. 

Keegan Bluhm, Adams Central vs. Garrett

Bluhm’s role might become bigger for the Flying Jets offense this season, but there’s no doubt that he’ll shine on the defensive side of the ball. After piling up 105 tackles last season, expect Bluhm to be around the ball nearly every time the Railroaders take an offensive snap tonight. Garrett returns a lot of offensive production from last year’s team, including leading rusher Robert Koskie and quarterback Aaden Lytle. I’d anticipate Bluhm meeting those two a few times throughout the game.

Dalton White, Heritage vs. Bellmont

The Patriots haven’t won a season opener since 2009, which is also the last year they played the Braves. The senior linebacker has been a key piece in the rebuild process under head coach Casey Kolkman. White has a nose for the ball and can be counted on to make a few impact plays. 

Brice Vance is excited to be a new contributor to Outside the Huddle. He’s previously covered high school sports in northeast Indiana with KPC Media Group for six years. He will cover games, write columns and other various things during the high school sports season.

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