Talk to anyone who knows Fort Wayne football about Bishop Dwenger and most will quickly say two names – CJ Davis and Carter Minix.
That is usually followed up by some generalities and that the Saints are solid, but not spectacular.
You could have said that about last year’s Bishop Dwenger team – the one that lost four games over a five-week stretch in the regular season, but recovered to beat North Side and Snider and claim its fifth-consecutive sectional championship.
This year’s squad has a a lot of similarities. It lacks the sexiness that other area teams have in terms of firepower and gaudy stats. And, per usual, no team in the state of Indiana has more Tippmanns on the roster.
Friday’s 17-12 victory for Bishop Dwenger over rival Bishop Luers wasn’t pretty by any means. But Blitz saw evidence that the 2022 iteration of the Saints can be just as dangerous later this month.
Success in high school football can be boiled down to two things – being able to run the football and preventing the opposition from doing the same. The Saints did that on Friday, amassing 219 yards rushing while holding Bishop Luers to just 31 yards of its own.
In a game that was decided in the trenches, Bishop Dwenger held the decided advantage. Tobias Tippmann rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, including the game-deciding score from 12 yards out late in the third quarter. The Knights did an admirable job in containing Minix (33 total yards) and Davis (40 total yards), particularly on the perimeter or in the Wildcat (Davis).
But between the tackles was a different story. The Saints (5-2) were able to wear down the youthful Luers defensive front over the course of four quarters, grinding out yards and moving the chains slowly and methodically, right up until the end of the game when it converted a fourth-and-three with a run to get a new set of downs and run out the clock.
It wasn’t sexy. Plays from the game won’t be all over the Twitter machine this weekend. Braxton Bermes completed just three passes while turning the ball over twice. But his 12-yard strike to Davis opened the scoring in the first quarter after a sustained drive.
Defensively, the Saints were stout. Davis was all over the field and led the unit in tackles with five. Trent Tippmann, Max Carey, Minix, Christian Lozada…all had big impacts for a defense that did not allow the dangerous playmakers of Bishop Luers such as Nick Thompson and RJ Hogue to do much of anything.
Dwenger not only took back the Bishops Trophy after a one-year hiatus, it also piqued Blitz’s admittedly-rudimentary mind in terms of giving this squad a shot that no one seems to be giving it – being a threat to knock off North and/or Snider in the playoffs and win sectional No. 6 in a row.
With the Panthers on the schedule next Friday at Shields Field, we will find out a lot.
Or will we? After all, Dwenger crushed Snider by 22 points in the sectional final last year after losing to the Panthers by double digits in Week 8.
If anything, maybe it’s best to keep an eye on Coach Jason Garrett’s team once the postseason kicks off.
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