Five weeks through the football season there is enough of a sample size to determine who is good and who isn’t.
We have crossed into the second half of the season, with every team guaranteed 10 games.
As we prepare for the final month of the regular season, let’s look back and give out some first half awards.
MVP – Jimmy Sullivan, Carroll
Is Carroll undefeated and in control to win the SAC if Jimmy Sullivan isn’t under center? Probably not. The Chargers are clearly the best team in northeast Indiana and Sullivan has played a big role taking them to this level. Sullivan has played with poise and knows to make the right play so far this season.
He’s completed 64 percent of his passes (70 of 109) for 901 yards, 12 touchdowns and three interceptions. Sullivan has shown he’s a threat to tuck the ball and run. He has five rushing touchdowns. On a team full of playmakers, Sullivan has been the most valuable.
HONORABLE MENTION: Lamarion Nelson, Wayne; Carsen Jacobs, Eastside; Keegan Bluhm, Adams Central.
BIGGEST SURPRISE – Columbia City
The Eagles have gotten off to great starts under head coach Brett Fox before, but this season feels different. They lost quite a bit to graduation off last year’s squad, including four-year starting quarterback Greg Bolt. Senior Colten Pieper has stepped in and been exactly what Columbia City needs. He’s thrown for 541 yards, 11 touchdowns and just one pick.
It helps when he’s throwing to Stratton Fuller who has seven of those touchdowns. The Eagles also have several options to run the ball, led by James Getts, who’s averaging 9.7 yards per carry.
Perhaps the biggest reason for the Eagles being 4-1 is their defense, which has pitched two shutouts and allowed just a touchdown in their other two victories.
HONORABLE MENTION: West Noble, Warsaw, Heritage.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT – DeKalb
The Barons have too much talent to be 1-4 and too much firepower on offense to average 20 points per game. It’s a problem that they can’t score against the better teams on their schedule, but they also can’t stop them. The DeKalb defense is allowing over 33 points per contest.
Quarterback Tegan Irk is having a fine season, throwing for 885 yards, 11 touchdowns and an interception. It’s just the offense can’t consistently string drives together, which leaves its defense out to dry since they are on the field so much and they wear down over the course of a game.
The Barons weren’t projected to win the Northeast 8 Conference, but they certainly weren’t expected to finish near the bottom. As it stands right now, there’s only one game remaining on the schedule that seems winnable. This week at Huntington North will be a challenge.
HONORABLE MENTION: Garrett, Homestead, Wayne.
BREAKOUT STAR – Brett Fuchs, Homestead
Fuchs had a solid sophomore season on the ground in 2021 and was the team’s leading rusher with 432 yards and six touchdowns. However, he missed a good chunk of the season which would have helped his case to be a breakout candidate last season.
This year he’s still dangerous on the ground, but he’s shown his versatility as a pass catcher. After just a catch last season, he’s hauled in 29 catches for 423 yards and a score. He’s run for 301 yards on 36 attempts with three touchdowns.
Homestead has struggled to move the ball this season, but whenever the ball is in the hands of Fuchs, something special is bound to happen.
HONORABLE MENTION: Seth Pruitt, West Noble; Tyson Reinbold, East Noble; Royce Jones, Carroll; Colten Pieper, Columbia City.
BEST GAME – Adams Central 25, Eastside 21, Aug. 26
This early-season matchup featured two top 10 teams facing off at The Landing Strip in Monroe. It was a game where both teams were missing key players but had several other step up and make plays, especially the quarterbacks. Eastside’s Carsen Jacobs showed he could take over the role Laban Davis played for the past few years and thrive. On the other side, Ryan Black showed off his mental toughness by rebounding from an early pick six.
This game had no implications on conference races, but it did give an early indication that both of these teams are loaded to make deep runs in the postseason once again.
HONORABLE MENTION: Carroll 28, Snider 21, Week 2; Heritage 28, South Adams 27, Week 4; West Noble 28, Eastside 27, OT, Week 3.
TEAM WITH BEST CHANCE TO REACH INDIANAPOLIS – Adams Central
It feels like every year the Flying Jets could be this team, but let’s be real, it’s the truth. They have been dominant so far this season and have a couple of quality wins, including that win over Eastside. They should roll through the rest of their ACAC games with ease, like they did last year, and should be the overwhelming favorite to win Sectional 44. The biggest threat on the north side of the state is the same team they faced in semi-state last year, North Judson. The Blue Jays are currently 5-0 and have shut out their last three opponents.
Get past North Judson, a rematch with Indianapolis Lutheran is destined to happen.
HONORABLE MENTION: Norwell, Eastside.
These opinions represent those of Blitz and Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Blitz on Twitter at Blitz_OTH