Before we leave the regular season behind and focus on the postseason, let’s recap Week 9 of the high school football season with your weekend staple – Bear Necessities.
• History was made when C.J. Davis picked off a pass against his former team on Friday.
When the Bishop Dwenger senior picked off a pass thrown by Northrop’s Keone Bates Jr., Davis became the first player in SAC history to notch at least one interception against every team in the league in his career.
Davis has five INTs on the season – one against Wayne and a pair against South Side, as well as one each the last two weeks against Bishop Luers and now Northrop.
Already set to be remembered as one of the standout players in recent memory in the league, Davis is now etched in SAC history.
• Every team approached Week 9 with a different philosophy. Those who were playing for something went all out. Those whose focus was looking ahead played things differently.
Wayne coach Sherwood Haydock was looking ahead, especially after his team found itself further and further behind against Carroll.
Quarterback Christian Trimble had his bell rung during the game and exited, not to return. He finished 10-of-12 for 107 yards and a touchdown, being replaced by Leo Wilkinson.
Lamarion Nelson had a tough time on the ground in being held to 73 yards on 25 carries, but he too saw limited action in the second half.
Was Haydock looking ahead to a showdown with Columbia City to open up the postseason, thereby preserving his two top offensive assets? A veteran move by a veteran coach if so.
• The Generals will be without one of their top playmakers for Week 10 and beyond after a serious injury sustained by Jacob Sharin.
The sophomore two-way standout hauled in a ball from Trimble and headed upfield against Carroll. As he was pulled down, his leg got caught up underneath him and was broken. The injury was so serious that the game was delayed for over 10 minutes as Sharin’s leg was immobilized and EMTs could load him into an ambulance.
In a breakout campaign, Sharin hauled in 26 receptions for 452 yards and four touchdowns while also being one of Wayne’s leading tacklers.
Here is hoping for a speedy recovery.
• North Side not only improved to 7-2 with a win over Concordia Lutheran, it also saw history made.
With his 265 yards on the ground on Friday, Jontae Lambert eclipsed 1,700 rushing yards on the season, breaking the program record formerly held by Tim Hines.
Hines set the record in 1980 with 1,591 yards on the ground, Coach Dale Doerffler‘s first at the helm of North Side. In a cool nod, both Hines and Doerffler, as well as former North Side player and coach Scott Brown, were in attendance to congratulate Lambert in person.
Lambert now has 1,822 yards rushing on the season to go with 13 touchdowns. The senior gave a Twitter shoutout to his offensive line, which has been pivotal throughout the year.
• How efficient was Carroll‘s offense in Friday’s win over Wayne?
The Chargers faced just two third downs in the entire game, and successfully converted both into first downs.
But it wasn’t all pretty as Carroll committed 10 penalties for 72 yards.
Heading to Penn in two weeks to open the playoffs, the Chargers have little room for error. The amount of penalties we saw Friday cannot be sustained and expect success in Class 6A.
• In its the final season of the current iteration, the SAC saw perfect synergy in the final standings.
Among the 10 teams, every possible win-loss combination was represented and never twice – beginning with 9-0 for Carroll all the way down to 0-9 for South Side.
• So with a loss on Friday, where does Norwell go from here?
If anything, it is a reality check for a team that dominated opponents through the first eight weeks of the season.
Put simply, the Knights didn’t play well. A lot of that had to do with Columbia City as Norwell was held to just four completions all game and “only” 169 yards rushing.
But Coach Josh Gerber‘s team also shot itself in the foot repeatedly with eight penalties for 80 yards, including a few personal foul penalties.
The loss is going to do one of two things, either it is going to deflate Norwell’s momentum heading into the 3A playoffs or it is going to galvanize the roster. A senior-led group should be able to do the latter.
But there was a definite gut check in Week 9 as Norwell came in with supreme confidence bordering on a touch of arrogance. It’s now time to hit reset for the postseason.
• Many raised their eyebrows when Columbia City went for it on fourth down inside its own 30 yard line on the opening drive of the game. The Eagles failed to pick up the first and turned the ball over on downs.
While the turnover didn’t immediately hurt Columbia City as the Eagles were able to force a turnover on downs of their own, a blocked punt on the second CC possession resulted in a touchdown for Norwell – a product of the short field.
Coach Brett Fox was vocal during the fourth down that he wanted a punt instead of a fourth-down attempt. Was it a ploy to try and create confusion on the Norwell side or real?
Columbia City had actually scripted the first five plays of the game and Fox was deep in conversation with an official on what he perceived as an unsportsmanlike conduct no-call on the Knights. Next thing Fox knew, his team was attempting the fourth down try.
“That one was on me,” Fox said.
• It has been an up-and-down season for East Noble as Coach Luke Amstutz handles arguably his youngest roster he has had in his tenure in Kendallville.
Growth is being seen across the field, albeit slow at times.
A prime example is junior Zander Brazel. The signal caller has had an up and down year behind center but had his best performance of the season on Friday against Bellmont – throwing for over 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Perhaps the most encouraging stat of the night was the 70 percent completion percentage for Brazel, who is just a touch above 50 percent on the season.
People will point out that Friday’s performance was against a team that has suffered 11 consecutive losses, but it was good to see Brazel perform with a road date at Angola looming to open postseason play.
• Friday was a birthday that Max Loeffler will never forget.
The senior broke Leo‘s single-game rushing record with a 301-yard effort against DeKalb in the Lions’ 41-17 victory over DeKalb.
Loeffler broke the record in impressive fashion, breaking loose for touchdowns of 64, 45 and 83 yards – all in the first half. He averaged 16 yards per RUSH over the course of the game.
• Five different Adams Central players AVERAGED over eight yards per carry in Friday’s 42-7 victory over Woodlan to conclude the regular season.
Keegan Bluhm led the way with 149 yards on the ground on 14 carries, while Gavin Cook (four carries, 86 yards) and Ryan Black (four carries, 58 yards) were also solid. Ryan Tester (seven carries, 56 yards) and Aaron Hirschy (three carries, 40 yards) rounded out the impressive top-end numbers for AC.
The Flying Jets accumulated 405 total yards on the night, 397 of which came from the rushing attack.
• A player to watch next year in the ACAC? Freshman receiver AJ Streveler of Bluffton.
The rookie is leading the Tigers in receiving yards this season and has become quarterback Braxton Betancourt‘s life line in a lot of instances this year. Streveler hauled in a team-high four receptions in Friday’s 28-7 win over Lakeland. It was for a pedestrian 22 yards but he continues to see high-volume targets.
It’s been a fine performance from a guy whose best days are still ahead of him.
• How good was Churubusco‘s defense in its 35-7 win over Fairfield?
The Eagles accumulated 15 tackles for loss in the victory – led by Bentley Kilgore and Brandt Hurley‘s three apiece.
What is that evidence of? Playing against the triple option extremely well.
Fairfield looks to establish its dominance on the ground with its unique attack, whether inside with the dive or outside.
Churubusco’s ability to restrict the Falcons around the edge was impressive, evidenced by how many times it was able to bring the ballcarrier down behind the line of scrimmage.
Fairfield struggled on the ground, but the Eagles didn’t as they amassed 322 yards rushing.
• Eastside coach Todd Mason told his team they were approaching Friday’s game with Angola like a postseason game in terms of preparation and mindset.
It worked as the Blazers built up a 21-0 lead by halftime and breezed to a 28-7 road win.
Eastside was able to rush for over 300 yards on the night and was called for just two penalties. Briar Munsey led the way on the ground with 151 yards rushing while Dax Holman rushed for two scores.
Eastside is hitting its stride, riding a six-game winning streak and allowing just 6.5 points per game over that time.
Bishop Luers v. Eastside, Round IV? We may get it in a few weeks.
Snider held six of its nine regular-season opponents to seven points or less…New Haven enters the postseason with a three-game winning streak, the first time since 2016 that the ‘dogs have headed into the playoffs with multiple wins in a row…Heritage‘s six regular-season wins are the most since 2015.
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