The first Friday of the postseason saw some surprises, blowouts and a few points of intrigue.
Let’s put a bow on the opening night of the playoffs.
Your favorite part of the weekend – Bear Necessities.
• Blitz felt truly sorry for the Wayne Generals as their season came to an end in dramatic fashion on Friday against Columbia City.
After having taken the lead with 80 seconds left, the sizable Wayne crowd was on the cusp of celebrating one of the biggest program wins in recent memory.
The Columbia City offense had other ideas as the Eagles scored with 12 seconds left to get the win.
The late defeat deflated the home side of Wayne Stadium, but it was great to see the Generals fans cheer the team as it headed to the locker room, with a mix of hugs and tears at field level.
What an effort and it deserved to be recognized.
• Columbia City had not beaten Wayne since way back in 1998, a 17-16 win in sectional play under Coach Ron Frickey.
Frickey was an institution at Columbia City from 1984 to 2003, picking up 98 victories and the program’s only sectional championship in 1993.
As Coach Brett Fox met with media after Friday’s win, up came Frickey to congratulate the current leader of the Eagles program.
It was a cool moment between past and present.
This is now just the 4th time Columbia City has won nine games in a season in the last 102 years.
• It seemed like Friday was setting up to be a big night for running back Tyson Reinbold for East Noble. Angola was playing with some injuries to key players and the Knights were looking to set the tone on the ground.
But Reinbold only saw eight carries. Instead, it was junior Michael Mosley who showed out.
Mosley entered Friday with less than 300 yards rushing on the season, although his eight scores were evidence that he had been trusted close to the goal line.
Mosley almost doubled his rushing yards for the season on Friday, torching the Hornets for 216 yards and four scores on 23 carries. Three of his four touchdowns came in the second half, with his first of the game coming late in the second quarter.
What a night for the junior.
• Kudos to Coach Seth Wilcox and DeKalb for pulling off the mild upset over New Haven on Friday. The offense performed. but the Barons won this game because of its much-maligned defense.
Prior to Friday, DeKalb had held just one team under 20 points – Bellmont in Week 8.
The defense came alive against the Bulldogs, who dropped 27 on the Barons in Week 3. Sophomore Graham Blythe has been tremendous in leading the team in tackles, as well as freshman Brady Cullver. Junior Blayde King has been stout and another sophomore – Nicholas Ley – has grown up considerably over the course of the season.
Tegan Irk gets a lot of love, and for good reason, but DeKalb’s defense was the reason why it is still alive in the playoffs. And as for Irk, his late 39 yard touchdown run that ended up being the difference in the game only adds to his lore, usually known much more for his arm than his legs.
• Who had Huntington North destroying Muncie Central on the road to continue its season? Admittedly, not Blitz.
After four straight losses entering the playoffs, the Vikings looked dead to rights going into the playoffs, but the running attack ran roughshod over the Bearcats defense and Huntington North moves on to host Mississinewa next week.
It was good to see Coach Bob Prescott get a dub with this group. Prescott is one of the most likeable coaches around and you’d love to see the HN program take the next step. Maybe with this win, the momentum can start.
Leo‘s Jason Doerffler won one postseason game total in his eight seasons at Northrop. He has equaled that total with a victory in his first playoff game with the Lions.
The Lions saw a couple of big step up performances to get the win over South Side on Friday. Brock Schott pulled off four sacks and forced a fumble. Brett Fuller ran for 157 yards after a first half injury to lead back Max Loeffler.
But kudos to South Side, who made it a game and really didn’t give up until they were out of timeouts in the 26-20 loss. The Archers have had to face a lot of adversity lately but played through it tough.
• How big was West Noble‘s victory over Mishawaka Marian on Friday? The Chargers halted a seven-year run by the Knights winning sectional titles.
Trailing by one at halftime, the Chargers were able to outscore Marian 19-7 in the second half to earn the hard-fought win.
The star of the game? West Noble coach Monte Mawhorter pointed to one person.
“Erick does a great job,” Mawhorter told the Goshen News, referring to his son who serves as the defensive coordinator. “(The players) believe in everything he’s telling them, and he made a couple of adjustments.”
• Blitz was one of many who wondered how Norwell would bounce back after losing to Columbia City in Week 9.
Well, the Knights were just fine.
It was a slow offensive start for Coach Josh Gerber‘s team, which led by just two scores at halftime, but the defense was back to its dominant self throughout, holding Heritage to 200 total yards that included just 17 yards on the ground.
Trace Moser and Cade Shelton were able to notch interceptions of Heritage QB Kobe Meyer, while Aydan Rusu had himself a night with 10 total tackles.
At least through Week 10, Norwell looked back to normal.
• Winning the turnover battle is frequently one of those benchmark aspects of the game that all coaches strive for.
Looking at the turnovers in Friday’s Concordia-Woodlan game, you’d think the Warriors had triumphed considering they turned the Cadets over four times without a turnover of their own.
But it was Concordia which escaped with a 27-22 victory despite Eli Mattox throwing three picks and the Cadets losing s fumble.
Despite the adversity, Coach Tim Mannigel‘s squad was lifted to the win, primarily by Landon Kaschinske‘s 268 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns, including the winning 49-yard scamper midway through the fourth quarter.
Kudos to the Woodlan defense that did its job in thr turnover department. Rarely do you see a team triumph when it is minus-4 in turnovers.
• Bishop Luers made easy work of Prairie Heights on Friday, with the QB combo of Charlie Stanski and Kohen Mckenszie finishing 9-of-9 passing for 187 yards and a trio of scores.
Things are shaping up well for the Knights in terms of a deep postseason run, but the next two weeks will be challenging. A trip to Churubusco next Friday is anything but easy, especially if Luers gets pulled into a low-scoring slugfest.
After that? Probably a fourth-straight playoff matchup with Eastside on the road.
Coach Kyle Lindsay is likely already warning his players from getting too excited over Week 10’s dominance, because two tough matchups are on tap.
• There was no title or hardware on the line, but Bluffton‘s victory over Blackford was a rewarding one for the Tigers.
The win ensured Bluffton of a winning record, its fourth such campaign under Coach Brent Kunkel in the last five years.
Since 1982, the Tigers have eight winning seasons, with half coming in the last half-decade.
• Some looked upon Southwood as an opponent that could give Adams Central some trouble. The Flying Jets quickly dispelled that thinking by jumping out to a 35-0 first quarter lead and coasting past the Knights.
Here’s the thing. There is no team in the north in Class 1A that can match up with Adams Central. The only team that stops the Flying Jets from reaching Lucas Oil Stadium is the Flying Jets themselves. Period.
Adams Central has reached double digit wins 6 times in the last 8 seasons. Only Eastbrook (89 wins) has more wins than AC (88 wins) in that stretch.
Anthony Cruz eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark with 180 yards in Bluffton‘s win over Blackford. He becomes the first thousand-yard rusher for the program since Everett Johnson in 2018…South Side ends the season winless for just the third time in program history dating back to 1922 (2018, 1955)…Churubusco captured its first postseason win since 2018…The Eastside trio of Carsen Jacobs, Briar Munsey and Dax Holman have rushed for a combined 39 touchdowns this season…Fremont had as many fourth-down conversions (three) in its loss to South Adams as the Starfires had third-down attempts…Friday’s game between Angola and East Noble was the first meeting of the teams in 18 years…Garrett‘s win over Bellmont was their first Sectional game win since 2016…Lakeland freshman quarterback Brayden Holbrook finished his season with 1,637 passing yards, just 39 shy of 1999 grad Ty McNall for the program’s single season passing record.
These opinions represent those of Blitz and Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Blitz on Twitter at Blitz_OTH
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