We are breaking down every area sectional this week as the postseason kicks off this Friday.
Next up is Sectional 19in Class4A.
East Noble (4-5) at Angola (6-3)
South Side (0-9) at Leo (6-3)
New Haven (5-4) at DeKalb (3-6)
Columbia City (8-1) at Wayne (2-7)
COLUMBIA CITY (8-1)
Who would have predicted this at the beginning of the season? Not me. The Eagles have flown by their preseason expectations and are the favorite to win their first sectional title since 1993. A big reason why Columbia City is in this position is because of its rushing attack combined with a timely passing game. Oh, and that stout defense.
The Eagles have plenty of options to attack you on the ground, including James Getts, Justice Goree, Josh Arntz and Ethan Sievers. As a team, Columbia City has rushed for over 2,300 yards and is complimented by the QB-WR combination of Colten Pieper to Stratton Fuller, who have hooked up for nine touchdowns this season.
I was hesitant on believing the Eagles could finish the job last week against Norwell and win the Northeast 8 title. Now that I’ve seen them rise to a whole ‘nother level, I’m a believer that this squad can do something special.
After a 1-2 start, there was a lot of chatter about the hire of head coach Jason Doerffler and most of it was unkind and unjust. The Lions won four out of their last five and their three losses have come to teams ranked in the top 10 in their respective classes.
The offense found its footing with Max Loeffler running the ball as he finished the regular season with over 1,000 yards and 11 touchdown. Quarterback Kylar Decker has became much more efficient with the ball.
Leo has a favorable draw opening sectional play with winless South Side, then a battle against East Noble or Angola, both of which it has beaten once already. Blitz is in favor of a rematch with Columbia City, but there’s a lot of football that needs to be played before we seriously dive into that matchup again.
The Hornets rebounded nicely after three consecutive below-average seasons. They started playing like the Hornets of old and pushed around most of their foes. Tyler Call knows the Angola offense like the back of his hand and makes the right decision with the ball. The Hornets’ defense front is physical and solid at the point of attack.
The road to their first sectional title in four years won’t be easy. The first-round game against the Knights is an interesting one and their first meeting since 2004. The two programs have only played three times in the last 35 years.
NEW HAVEN (5-4)
The Bulldogs finished the season strong with three convincing wins. The offense has been humming with standout Mylan Graham carrying the load. He finished with 48 catches, 1,149 yards and 13 touchdowns. That’s hard to do in just nine games.
New Haven should get past DeKalb, but a rematch with Columbia City looms large after the first go-around didn’t go so well for the Bulldogs.
The Generals will go as far as their offense will take them. They might have the speed advantage over every team in this sectional, but can they use it? We know Lamarion Nelson is otherworldly in averaging 156 rushing yards per game and 14 touchdowns. The passing game has been equally productive down the stretch with Christian Trimble.
It’s a tough opening-round matchup against the favorite, but I expect Wayne to put up a solid fight. Get past the Eagles and the sectional is wide open.
EAST NOBLE (4-5)
The Knights are rarely in this position this time of year, but it was to be expected with the influx of so many young players.
However, so many of those players have shined and East Noble will be better for it in the next couple of years. Dylan Krehl and Tyson Reinbold are a solid 1-2 punch in the backfield, and Logan Hatton flies all over the field on defense. All three are underclassmen.
East Noble ended its four-game losing streak at Bellmont last week, but before then, the offense struggled against some of the better defenses on its schedule.
The Barons had a little preseason hype around them this season because they had a quarterback, Tegan Irk, who is receiving quite a bit of attention to play at the next level and he was going to have plenty of weapons to throw to. This is true and has produced a lot of yards but hasn’t resulted in a lot of points. Injuries have derailed the offense at times.
DeKalb’s defense has also given up a lot of points this season, which doesn’t bode well for a matchup against New Haven, which has played better over the last three weeks.
SOUTH SIDE (0-9)
It’s been another rocky season on South Calhoun Street. The Archers had their coach resign after eight games and its defense has allowed over 42 points per game. South has caught someone off guard in the past and picked up an unexpected first-round win, but I don’t expect that to happen this time around.
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