Five takeaways from the 2022 sectional football draw

Leo’s Ethan Crawford returns a kickoff during October 7 at Columbia City.

The IHSAA held its annual draw on Sunday for sectional opponents.

The draw is always interesting. Someone is always unhappy with it and sometimes games we’d like to see down the line happen early.

One thing is for sure, there are always wild opinions about the draw, sometimes even before it happens. But now that the draw has concluded, let’s take a look at five key takeaways.

1. With Columbia City as the sectional favorite, it is Leo with the easiest road

After bullying through everyone in the NE8 save for Norwell (for now), the Eagles are the favorites in Class 4A Sectional 19 and that shouldn’t come as a surprise. After CC’s win over Leo in Week 8, there have to be plenty clamoring for a rematch with the Eagles and the Lions. That could come to fruition in the final with the two teams on opposite ends of the bracket.

But for Columbia City, the road to that rematch isn’t as easy. It starts going to Wayne, a team whose offense just exploded last Friday night against Homestead. Lamarion Nelson is a hoss and Christian Trimble is getting more comfortable behind center. The Generals offense is getting better and it will raise the questions we’ve heard before: how does a low-end SAC team stack up against the NE8?

Should the Eagles get by Wayne, a rematch will await, although neither option is easy. They have already knocked off New Haven, although the onside kick trickery won’t be as easy to pull off the second time around. The other option is DeKalb, which remains dangerous because of how Tegan Irk can sling it.

On the other hand, Leo opens at home with winless South Side and a semifinal could see it battle rival East Noble again or a rematch with Angola, which they beat in Week 2. The Lions are getting better as the season goes on, so this kind of draw has to have them salivating at a shot to win their first secional in over a decade.

2. Adams Central/South Adams is still interesting

South Adams hosts Fremont. Adams Central visits Southwood. That is the opening part of Class 1A Sectional 44. Then, the rivals could meet in the semifinal round.

Once upon a time, both teams could get sectional titles before meeting in regionals, which made little to no sense considering how close the schools are to each other. Now they will have to battle for a title and conventional wisdom is going to say that Adams Central will run away in the rematch as they did with the first meeting earlier this season.

But keep in mind that South Adams is very dangerous with Owen Wanner leading the way as he sits at 1,500 passing yards this season. Wanner will take chances and make things happen. Sure, AC has South Adams’ number, but anytime you have a group of guys this talented and willing to take chances, things stay interesting.

No disrespect to the Flying Jets because nobody has their number. Fact just is, Adams Central versus South Adams is always interesting.

Heritage’s Kobe Meyer works to evade a South Adams tackle during a September 9 game.

3. Could Norwell at Heritage be round 1’s best game?

Class 3A Sectional 27 may have the most attention on it in Week 10 of the high school football season. That is a lot to say when you consider that Norwell sits, at press time, undefeated.

But the Knights visiting Heritage and Coach Casey Kolkman? There is something about that which makes it seem like this is a game to keep an eye on despite the score between the two earlier in the season. Could Norwell at Heritage be the best game of the first week of the postseason? We can hope.

Kobe Meyer has been a star against basically everyone he has played, but he also hasn’t played a team or a defense quite like the Knights. What can we see out of the junior in this game against the best defense in the state now that he’s got his legs under him?

Norwell has its eyes on the prize and will have to make sure to not get tripped up against the Patriots. A potential Concordia semifinal game or a Yorktown final have some strength behind them, but Norwell the first week of sectionals is certainly interesting because of how much better Heritage has gotten since their 42-0 loss to the Knights.

4. Does Dwenger have answers?

Like with South Adams and Adams Central, when are people not excited to see Snider versus Bishop Dwenger? And they still will be after the 28-0 Snider shutout in Week 8.

Can Bishop Dwenger answer the Panthers and the stuff it couldn’t stop in the regular-season matchup? Langston Leavell ran hard and the Saints couldn’t stop him. Can the Saints adjust?

Kamari Juarez can return anything and throwing the ball near Ke’drell Billingsley is a mistake, intercepting a pass in Week 8.

Snider proved it is the better team in the regular season. Now Dwenger has a lot to work on before the two teams meet in the semifinals of Class 5A Sectional 12. But we stand intrigued considering what happened last year when Snider routed Bishop Dwenger in the regular season and found itself rolled by the Saints in the playoffs.

5. Class 6A Sectional 2 is wild

The immediate thought is that Carroll’s draw in this sectional is a worst-case scenario as it visits Penn in the semifinal of the four-team bracket.

But really, is there a good draw? We’ve kind of known this wasn’t going to be easy for the Chargers or anyone else in this sectional.

Warsaw may be the ‘worst’ team in this field at 6-2, but anyone who knows ‘Bart Ball’ knows that the run game can be dangerous. The Tigers will match up with 7-1 Elkhart in the first round. The Lions have a pair of senior running backs who can cause havoc in Gavin Houser and Aalias Leonard.

Penn (6-2) could be the toughest out. Its losses are to Indianapolis Cathedral and St. Xavier (OH). The Kingsmen are ranked four spots lower than Carroll in the Sagarin, but keep in mind their strength of schedule is 40 spots higher than the Chargers.

And Carroll is good. Like good good. Jimmy Sullivan has been a revelation all season long and we talk about Carroll plenty. For being just a four-team bracket, Class 6A Sectional 2 is the wild wild west.

These opinions represent those of Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers.

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