We are now a full month into the season as Week 4 wrapped up on Friday.
Let’s put a bow on the week with your favorite weekend highlight – Bear Necessities.
• Max Carey‘s first-career interception at the varsity level could not have come at a better time for Bishop Dwenger on Friday. His full-extension one-handed grab sealed the win for the Saints as Homestead appeared to be on the verge of scoring and stealing the victory.
It was the Saints’ first INT of the season not by CJ Davis and capped another impressive performance out of Carey, the junior who has taken over a bigger role in the secondary after limited action as a sophomore.
• Another exceptional performance out of Charlie Stanski for Bishop Luers in its win. The senior quarterback threw just a single incompletion, finishing 14-of-15 for 231 yards and a pair of touchdowns – both to Nick Thompson.
Through four games, Stanski is completing 63 percent of his passes for 788 yards and six touchdowns.
• The most exciting stat coming out of the weekend for North Side wasn’t the gaudy numbers of Jontae Lambert, although it was impressive with 231 yards rushing and a pair of TDs, it was the fact that the Legends converted an extra point.
Coach Ben Johnson has been hesitant to try PATs over the course of the season. Blitz saw the first extra point of the year blocked in the Week 1 game against Snider.
Chasing points with two-point conversions is sometimes the right call, and sometimes the wrong one. If North can develop a consistent PAT unit – blocking and all – it will be an added tool in the toolkit.
The successful PAT was nailed by senior Fernando Ramirez.
• How dominant was Snider on Friday night in its rout of South Side?
The Panthers never punted. It faced just four third downs – converting three of them. The one they didn’t, they converted one down later on fourth.
Conversely, the Snider defense held the Archers to five first downs and barely 2.5 yards per play.
• There may be better pure running backs in the SAC than Homestead‘s Brett Fuchs, but no one is more versatile than the junior.
Fuchs was the centerpiece of the Spartans offense once again on Friday, amassing 182 total yards on the night – including 100 yards on a season-high 10 receptions.
Fuchs has at least 125 total yards in each of Homestead’s games this season, even when he was held to minus-five yards rushing last week against Bishop Luers.
The junior is a punishing runner for his 5-foot-9, 150-pound frame. He does a great job at keeping his feet moving upfield even after contact.
Fuchs has been a breakout talent in the 2022 season.
• Kudos to the Columbia City defense that held Huntington North to just 128 total yards in a 41-0 drubbing on Friday.
We expected a much closer game after the Vikings nearly bounced East Noble in Week 3. Instead, the Eagles notched their second-straight shutout, the first time that has happened for the program since 1992.
The centerpiece of the defense is Josh Arntz, but Easton Carnahan and Landon Timm were huge in the victory.
Meanwhile, the offense is humming as quarterback Colten Pieper has a 12:1 touchdown to interception stat line.
• Blitz cannot remember seeing more first downs in a single regular-season game than the 62 that were converted between East Noble and DeKalb.
The 56-33 Knights victory was impressive, but the stat line between the two commanded even more attention. The squads combined for 953 total yards, with Tyson Reinbold rushing for 212 yards and two scores.
Along the way, Alex Sprague completed 8-of-8 extra points for the Knights.
Tegan Irk‘s 335 total yards was exceptional and the senior quarterback has now thrown 10 touchdowns with zero interceptions this season.
• After being humbled at home by Norwell in Week 3, Leo went back to basics at New Haven. It challenged its offensive line to step up and win the battle in the trenches against a talented Bulldogs defense – and it delivered.
The Lions rushed for 325 yards with a pair of players – Max Loeffler and Brett Fuller – rushing for more than 125 yards. Aidan Monds ran for a pair of touchdowns as well.
This is definitely a learning season for the Lions under new coach Jason Doerffler. But Doerffler is getting acclimated to his personnel as well.
Sometimes, the old offensive priority is the best way to go in certain matchups.
• Another week of dominance out of Adams Central as the Flying Jets rushed for over 400 yards in the win over Jay County.
While Keegan Bluhm gutted out 119 yards rushing, it was Gavin Cook who had the most interesting stat line of the night.
Cook rushed for 130 yards on just three carries, highlighted by a 65-yard touchdown run on the final play of the third quarter. He broke off a 53-yard score in the first quarter as well.
• While South Adams didn’t have the juice to ultimately pull off the win Friday against Heritage, for 12-14 minutes they did look like world beaters.
To start the game 13-0, South Adams utilized a hurry up offense and it really took Heritage out of the game. During the game, one of their assistants asserted in the huddle that if the Patriots didn’t figure something out, it was going to be 35-0 very quickly. Owen Wanner did a lot of things really well in that run and the one late in the fourth quarter. He diversified his receivers and worked the levels of the field really well. All while making the reads that allowed him to take off for runs.
Sure, nobody wants to take the loss the Starfires did, but there were a lot of good things. The hurry up offense is intriguing. As Heritage coach Casey Kolkman put it, the Starfires weren’t doing anything they didn’t always do, they were just doing it faster. But it worked and it was efficient those first two scoring drives.
Two other standouts for South Adams: Isaac Dee, who made some nice plays down the stretch, including a clutch two point conversion to extend South Adams’ lead in the final couple of minutes to 27-21. Also, Silas Loshe made a couple of really nice grabs as he continues to show off his athleticism.
• Kobe, Kobe, Kobe.
In case you were wondering, Blitz is kind of smitten with the work of Heritage quarterback Kobe Meyer after the report given by the OTH correspondent that covered Friday night’s game in Monroeville.
The kid handled the pressure well. The class of 2024 is good in the area, but Meyer has asserted that he is a major name to continue to watch for the next season and a half.
Patriots coach Casey Kolkman is one who will throw some caution to the wind at times to get results and with a quarterback that plays the same way, it seems like a good match. Meyer made some mistakes, that goes with the territory of being a “gun slinger” as Kolkman put it, but when you make 3-4 bad plays and 6 really good ones, it balances out the right way, hence a Heritage victory.
The Patriots haven’t gotten a lot of love in recent years with some downtrodden times. But we are paying attention to them now and especially too Meyer.
• Heritage‘s longest drive of the night against South Adams was its last. Despite matching South Adams blow for blow on the scoreboard, the Patriots had put together just one drive greater than 40 yards all night prior to the final possession. That was a 54-yard drive in the third quarter.
The 10-play, 76-yard drive that resulted in the game-winning score was the longest of the night in terms of plays and yards.
Clutch play when it counted the most.
• Senior Tyler Call has been a calming presence for Angola at the quarterback spot this season. He has also made some big-time plays.
Call threw for a pair of touchdowns against West Noble as the Hornets handed the Chargers their first loss. Call also rushed for a team-high 140 yards.
Call is arguably the quickest and most athletic player on the Angola roster. He is proving to be the difference on offense as well.
• Fairfield did give up 279 yards passing and over 300 yards of total offense to Southport, but the Falcons’ ability to get stops on third down may have been the difference.
Southport converted only 2-of-12 third downs and added a fourth-down conversion. Still, it was forced to punt five times and was held scoreless in the second half.
Fairfield may be the best team in the NECC.
• Starting a freshman quarterback means you’re gonna take the good with the bad over the course of a season.
For Lakeland on Friday, it was the good as rookie QB Brayden Holbrook hit Owen Troyer for an 84-yard touchdown that lifted the Lakers to a 20-16 win over Garrett.
Holbrook has thrown five INTs on the year, but he has also thrown five TDs and is completing 60 percent of his passes.
The freshman is definitely a prospect to watch as he is surviving being thrown in the deep end of varsity football.
Carroll leads the SAC in offensive (34 points) and defensive (11 points) scoring average…Norwell has allowed just seven points total through its first four games…Central Noble has shut out Prairie Heights for three-straight seasons…Southern Wells has lost 16 straight games and has been held to single-digit points in 10 consecutive regular-season contests…Woodlan took a loss to Bluffton on Friday night without head coach Mike Smith on the sideline. Blitz has been informed that Smith was serving a suspension that was handed down by administration…Blackhawk Christian won their home opener in 8-man football on Saturday with a 65-22 win over Rock Creek Academy at Snider’s Bowser Field. Gage Bennett, Isaac Alexander, Jon Overholt, Aiden Muldoon, Victor Hoya and Owen Saleik were among those who scored touchdowns for Blackhawk Christian. Aidan Gansert hit a 49 yard field goal for the Braves as well.
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