Another week of football is in the books, and with it some clarity in the SAC.
Meanwhile elsewhere, the conference races begin in earnest next week as league play begins.
Blitz is here to break it all down.
• Blitz knew that quarterback Jimmy Sullivan was going to be good. But the sophomore exceeded this bear’s expectations against Snider in Carroll‘s 28-21 victory.
The Panthers did a great job showing different looks in coverage to Sullivan and forcing him to adjust on the fly. Coach Kurt Tippmann – who is serving as defensive coordinator this year in addition to his head coach duties – also did not hesitate to mix up packages bringing pressure, so Sullivan always had to account for that from different positions on the field. Sullivan rolled with it and kept the mistakes to a minimum.
In a game that could have switched on a dime with one turnover or miscue, Sullivan knew when to throw it, where to throw it, when to take off and run and when to eat it and take a sack. He finished with 254 yards and three TDs on 20-of-24 passing.
When’s the last time a sophomore QB took down Snider in the SAC?
• While Sullivan shined, the running game did enough to grind out yards and keep the Snider defense honest. The numbers were not eye-popping, but junior Ashton Pesetski was huge in the lead blocker in several instances on short yardage out of the T formation, including a Braden Steely touchdown that put Carroll up 14 in the fourth quarter.
Speaking of Steely, he was flagged for a vicious hit on a short passing route in the second half – a personal foul for the hit and a taunting call for standing above the player after the whistle.
The taunting call was warranted. The hit though, was completely legal. You can throw out the whole “defenseless player” argument but what is Steely supposed to do? Stand there and wait for the completion THEN initiate contact? He did not lead with the head, he did not launch himself or otherwise display targeting. It was just a damn good football hit.
Blitz was informed on Saturday that officials told Carroll that the hit was legal, but the flag was thrown “because the hit looked so bad.” What?
• In recent years, once you got North Side down, especially by double digits, the Legends would fall apart.
So when Bishop Dwenger went up 20-6 when Sam Campbell hit CJ Davis for a 19-yard touchdown in the second quarter, Blitz thought the writing on the wall.
But kudos to Coach Ben Johnson and the Legends, who fought back to tie the game by halftime, then scored the final two touchdowns of the game to capture the program’s first win over Bishop Dwenger since 2013.
That’s a “buy in” victory for the Legends. You can sell your program with words and swag, but those are short-term bumps unless you produce results. But with great games from the likes of Bohde Dickerson, Jontae Lambert and Brauntae Johnson, North was able to get that elusive marquee victory.
• How can you not feel good for Charlie Stanski?
The Bishop Luers quarterback sat behind Carson Clark for multiple seasons and looked lost in limited snaps as a backup last year. There were even questions preseason on if Stanski would even win the QB battle.
Yet through the first two weeks Stanski has been pretty solid. in Friday’s victory over Wayne, the senior threw for 193 yards and three touchdowns to three different receivers on 15 of 21 passing. Stanski is an unassuming kid that has waited for his time and he is taking an advantage of the opportunity. Nick Thompson led the receiving group of Luers with seven catches for 86 yards and a score while totaling 156 all purpose yards.
• Despite a 21-14 road loss, Columbia City continues to see Stratton Fuller emerge as one of its top playmakers.
The sophomore saw playing time last year as a freshman, which has served him well as he looks like a veteran now. He hauled in six receptions for 75 yards on Friday while also picking off a pass on defense.
• Speaking of sophomores, Leo has a few gems of its own that showed out in a victory over Angola.
Sophomore Brock Schott had a coming-out party of sorts with five catches for 132 yards and a pair of TDs. The big and sleek target continues to see action inside and out as a receiver.
Meanwhile, fellow sophomore Luke Collins grabbed three receptions for 31 yards and a score.
With quarterback Kylar Decker being a junior, there is a lot of production with years of eligibility remaining for the Lions.
• Do not discount New Haven‘s ability to battle Eastbrook for four quarters on the road.
The Panthers are an exceptionally difficult to play – as its pack-it-in style and intense physicality make them a worthy challenger each and every year.
The Bulldogs had to play the first quarter without several players who had to sit out due to missing a day of school during the week, even though it was excused (explain that to Blitz), including starting quarterback Donovan Williams.
Despite the adversity, New Haven had a shot at the end to pull out a huge road win against the second-ranked team in Class 2A.
The ‘Dogs could definitely make some noise in the NE8.
• After being shut out to start the season, what a bounceback performance out of Bluffton, dropping a 42 spot on Manchester.
The key was offensive balance, with Anthony Cruz, Braxton Betancourt and Khamel Moore each scoring rushing touchdowns, while AJ Streveler had a TD reception.
Coach Brent Kunkel‘s squad needed a get-right game as it heads to Berne to take on South Adams next Friday.
• Speaking of South Adams, they dominated in county opponent Bellmont behind a big night from Owen Wanner to set up that battle with Bluffton.
It is funny, South Adams versus Bluffton has been a featured game the last three seasons in week three. It may not be the same this year, but when you get the two friends in Grant Moser and Brent Kunkel together to coach against each other, it is always going to be fun.
• Kudos to the Woodlan Warriors and their first win of the year. The offense has been strong through the first two games, with the 55 combined points the most through the first two weeks since 2017.
It was the Fleek show with Drew Fleek going for 182 yards and two TDs on 20 attempts while cousin Carter Fleek led the team in tackles with 12.
An overlooked game in Week 3 will be Woodlan and Heritage as both vie for position in the ACAC.
• For the second-straight week, Warsaw dominated a top-10 ranked Class 5A team.
This time, it was Chesterton as the Tigers earned a 24-7 victory.
While the offensive performance was exceptional, the true kudos need to go to the defense as Chesterton runs a very diverse, unpredictable offensive schemes with stunts, misdirections and funky formations.
Could the Tigers be in the mix in the Northern Lakes with the likes of Mishawaka and NorthWood for a league title? Blitz will need to get up to Warsaw at some point if so.
• There is nothing more valuable than an experienced QB who knows the offensive system inside and out.
While Riley Buroff rarely posts gaudy stat lines due to the system at Churubusco, his presence is invaluable.
The senior threw for 215 yards and a pair of touchdowns – both to Gavin Huelsenbeck – in the Eagles’ win over Lakeland. Buroff also picked off a pair of Lakeland passes defensively.
Buroff is one of those two-way studs on a small school’s roster that is truly essential, more than most from the big city used to huge rosters really understand.
• Hey, here is the answer to a question going into this week: Briar Munsey isn’t a one hit wonder. Eastside looked tremendous at times on Friday in a loss to Adams Central and Munsey was again an impactful player in that.
Munsey ran for a team second best 82 yards while co-leading the team with five tackles. It wasn’t quite what he did in week one and the Blazers didn’t get the win, but it shows that even with attention on him from everyone, Munsey can still shine.
The Blazers are still very, very good despite that loss on Friday.
Carsen Jacobs deserves some breakout credit too, running for 108 yards himself from the QB spot, adding 30 yards and a touchdown through the air, matching Munsey with five tackles and adding on an interception. Oh yeah, he also netted 47 yards on his one punt of the night so he’s got a leg too. Jacobs is a big two way player who could prove to be the difference in a lot of Eastside games from here on out.
Fremont is 2-0 for the first time since 1997…East Noble trailed NorthWood by just one late in the third but surrendered the final 20 points of the game…Norwell went a combined 10-of-13 on third and fourth downs in its blanking of Heritage…South Adams averaged 9.4 yards per play in its win over Bellmont…Fairfield amassed 335 yards of total offense in its win over South Bend Adams, all on the ground.
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