Well, this is setting up nicely.
With a pair of dominant victories on Friday, Columbia City and Norwell keep alive the possibility that the two squads could meet in Week 9 with undefeated league records and the Northeast Eight championship on the line.
For Norwell, Blitz is pretty confident in its ability to oust DeKalb and Huntington North over the next two weeks to enter Week 8 unblemished.
And Columbia City? Well, Blitz still has questions.
Look, the Eagles destroyed New Haven in a 49-7 decision on Friday. It was domination in all three facets as Columbia City recovered all three of its onside kick attempts, amassed 486 yards of total offense and held the Bulldogs offense in check after it scored on a 71-yard strike to Mylan Graham on their first play from scrimmage.
It was a dominant performance. One that will get even more people talking about the Eagles’ ability to give Norwell a game in a few weeks.
But Blitz isn’t there yet.
This is not a slight on Columbia City. This is a team better prepared for the back end of its regular-season schedule much more than in years past. Colten Pieper isn’t Greg Bolt at quarterback, but he doesn’t have to be with a vaunted running game, a tough, physical offensive front and sophomore sensation Stratton Fuller making high D1 prospect Mylan Graham look silly in coverage.
The defense has now held four-consecutive opponents to seven or less points. After Graham took the top off the Eagles defense on Friday night that tied the game at seven, the defense buckled down. It got physical with Graham and held him to seven receptions for 58 yards the rest of the way. It doesn’t sound great, but Columbia City (5-1) made other players beat ’em, and New Haven couldn’t do it.
Guys like Josh Arntz, Easton Carnahan and (onside kick master and defensive starter) Martin Smith aren’t being drooled over on social media by people inside Fort Wayne, but they are absolutely some of the standout players at their positions in the entire area on the defensive side of the ball.
We saw a lot of that on display on Friday.
Whether it be Ethan Sievers, James Getts, Arntz or Justice Goree (who was the leading rusher against the ‘dogs with 154 yards and two scores), Columbia City has a myriad of dudes that can move the chains. New Haven, which dressed barely 35 players for the game, could match up with its starters but had difficulty when they got gassed and Columbia City picked up the tempo. The defense was also stuck on the field for a considerable amount of time as well due to the onside kick recoveries.
When Sievers plunged his way into the end zone from a yard out late in the third quarter, it put the game on ice and started the running clock as the deficit reached 35 points.
The next test? A road trip to East Noble, a team Columbia City hasn’t beaten since 2010. After that, Leo comes calling, with the Eagles last knocking off the Lions in 2012.
It is not that Blitz doesn’t believe Columbia City can enter Week 9 with a 7-1 record. In fact, Coach Fox’s team will be Blitz’s pick in each of the next two weeks.
But taking on Norwell is a different beast entirely.
So Eagles, you made a convincing argument with Blitz in the house on Friday, dominating a team that this bear thought would hang around.
But it doesn’t mean you’re at Norwell’s level…yet.
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