BEAR NECESSITIES: What you need to know out of Week 11

Carroll’s Camden Herschberger rises up to make a catch during a Sectional game at Penn on October 28. (Photo by Leverage Photography)

As many look ahead to some huge sectional championship matchups next Friday, Blitz is putting a cap on Week 11 and all that we saw in the sectional semis. 

Let’s touch on each class with Bear Necessities. 


• Blitz had convinced himself that Carroll would struggle to match up with almighty Penn, which was seemingly back on top of the north after some years of being down. 

Turns out, it was the Kingsmen who struggled to match up with the Chargers. 

In talking to some Carroll coaches on Friday night, the defense was confident it could shut down the half-dozen or so plays that Penn keyed on. It was a very predictable offense in terms of playcalling, which meant scheming against those plays was the key to the defense holding the Kingsmen to just seven first downs and 95 total yards. 

Ashton Pesetski and Royce Jones had huge nights in sealing the edge and funneling everything Penn tried to do in the run game inside, where interior linemen and the inside linebackers cleaned up from there. 

Offensively, the Chargers had a field day in torching Penn for 345 total yards, including 201 through the air. 

Jayden Hill had one of his best games of the season with 90 yards through the air on four receptions. Penn had no one who could match up with the bulky, physical tight end. It was Hill and Camden Herschberger who feasted in the receiving game, both hauling in touchdowns. 

The offensive personnel of the Chargers had the decided edge over the Kingsmen defense. It wasn’t a contest. 

• It was a tough ending to the season for Homestead, which fell hard at top-ranked Hamilton Southeastern on Friday. The Spartans finish the year 5-5, their first non-winning season since 2013. 

Blitz has heard of some moaning and groaning behind the scenes at Homestead, which is mind-boggling to me. Guys like Coach Chad Zolman and OC Bill Skelton have not suddently forgotten how to coach. 

This is a very difficult thing for people, particularly parents, to hear, but it is true in certain seasons. Sometimes, a roster just doesn’t have the talent and depth it typically has. Yes, numbers are fine at Homestead. But sometimes a class or two has a significant drop in high-quality football players. 

It’s not an attack on anyone, it’s reality. It can be tough to accept. The easier play is to blame coaches, refs, politics, etc. But the answer is typically the easiest one – a roster simply lacks the firepower it usually has. 

Bishop Luers’ Isaac Zay takes off with the ball during October 28’s Sectional game against Churubusco. (Photo by John Felts)


• The Snider defense is an absolute machine right now. Over the past five games, the Panthers have allowed a TOTAL of 20 points. 

And Coach Kurt Tippmann’s team isn’t playing offensive slouches – with Wayne, Bishop Luers and Bishop Dwenger (twice) during this stretch, all squads who have averaged over 22 points per game this year. 

What’s so special about this defense is that it is incredibly balanced. On Friday, Maxwell Malone was the star, leading the team in tackles as his spot in the front seven of the defense. He earned his first sack of the year and doubled his tackles for loss with three against the Saints after accumulating three the rest of the season. 

It’s seriously a balanced offense that does not allow much in the way of big plays. That will be the key next week against North Side, preventing the chunk gains. 

• Speaking of humming along, North Side won its seventh-straight game by pummeling Anderson by 40, the longest such streak for the program since 1987. 

It was Jontae Lambert leading the way again with 240 rushing yards and three scores on just 14 carries. 

With that effort, Lambert has now rushed for over 2,000 yards and 16 scores this season. He has been held under 130 yards just twice – an 80-yard effort against Carroll and 39 yards against South Side in which he was sparingly utilized in a rout. 

Lambert’s field vision is superb. His ability to stop and start in the open field is exceptional. His acceleration is first-rate. 

This is one of the best running backs the SAC has ever had. He deserves his due. 

Churubusco’s Riley Buroff throws the ball during October 28’s Sectional game against Bishop Luers. (Photo by John Felts)


• When we talk about two-way players who greatly impact the game, Brock Schott has to be at the forefront of the conversion. 

The Leo sophomore delivered another complete performance in Friday’s pummeling of East Noble – with a pair of receiving touchdowns, six tackles, five TFL, a sack and a defensive score after picking up a fumble and running it back 62 yards. 

Schott entered the season as a match-up nightmare on offense with his frame and deceptive speed. He is capping his season by showing he is as dangerous on defense as he is on the other side of the ball. 

Credit to the Leo coaching staff for recognizing Schott’s abilities on defense and putting him in positions to succeed. 

• Blitz spoke to Columbia City quarterback Colten Pieper on Saturday and congratulated him on his five-touchdown performance in Columbia City’s 49-7 win over DeKalb on Friday. 

In a telling moment, Pieper responded not with thanks, but mentioning the nine incompletions he threw. 

Pieper has been a revelation for a team that had to replace Greg Bolt. The dominance of the running game has been huge, but Pieper has had to make big throws in big moments, something he did several times in the Week 9 win over Norwell. 

When operating an offense that is very run heavy, it can be tough for a quarterback to get into a rhythm when he is called upon to throw. There have been some throws that have been off target, but by and large Pieper has been solid when called upon. 

The fact that he is thinking more about his incompletions than his touchdowns shows he isn’t satisfied, which is a good thing. 

Carroll’s Braden Steely works his way down field during a Sectional game at Penn on October 28. (Photo by Leverage Photography)


• Since its loss to Columbia City in Week 9, Norwell has won two games by a combined score of 81-0. 

Blitz isn’t 100 percent convinced that any loss is ever good, but there is something to be said about being challenged – which is exactly what Norwell had to deal with in that loss to end the regular season. 

Since then, Norwell has blanked a pair of decent offenses in Heritage and Concordia Lutheran. On Friday, the Knights forced three Cadets turnovers and allowed just 1.6 yards per rush. 

Through the sectional so far, Norwell is looking the part of a dangerous 3A team again.

• Garrett saw its season end at Yorktown on Friday, but it was another admirable performance by the Railroaders in the second half of the season. 

That was a team that could have easily folded being 0-6, particularly with how young the roster was. Garrett started no less than seven freshmen and sophomores on defense against Yorktown and held it below its scoring average despite losing. 

Adversity is tough to deal with, especially when it is on and off the field, but Garrett came together admirably over the last five weeks. This is a program that should bounce back next year. 

Bishop Luers’ Nick Thompson throws out a stiff arm during October 28’s Sectional game against Churubusco. (Photo by John Felts)


• Eastside’s eighth-straight win looked eerily similar to the precious seven, with a stout defense and a monstrous running attack leading the way. 

As Eastside vs. Luers IV looms next week, it will be the defense, not the offense, that holds the key. 

Dax Holman was stout for the Blazers with a team-leading nine tackles and two tackles for loss in the win over Manchester. All told, Eastside had eight TFL on the game. 

Coach Todd Mason’s defense was the catalyst last year in the win over the Knights, limiting the big plays of that offense in earning a 21-16 victory. 

Blitz sees a similar situation this year in terms of the Blazers needing to set the tone on defense rather than offense. 

• Anthony Cruz eclipsed the 200-yard mark for the second time this season in Bluffton’s win over Tipton, rushing for 205 yards and a pair of touchdowns. 

But it was Brody Lewis on defense who stood out, picking off a trio of Vince Hoover passes to lead Bluffton. 

The Tigers entered Friday with just five total picks through 10 games, nearly equaling that mark against Tipton. The junior Lewis had one of those five. 

An impressive performance from the Bluffton secondary. 


• One of the keys for South Adams in trying to upset rival Adams Central on Friday was not falling behind early. 

Well, for awhile that seemed to be accomplished. But the Flying Jets eventually broke through midway through the first when Ryan Black plunged in from a yard out. 

That opened the floodgates as AC scored five more times in a game span of just over 10 minutes before the Starfires were able to score, effectively putting the game away. 

You cannot fall behind against the Flying Jets to have any shot. It is easier said than done. 


In typical Bart Ball fashion, Warsaw rushed for 214 yards and passed for 26 in its win over Elkhart…Bishop Dwenger scored six or less points three times this season. The last time that happened was 1998…East Noble finished the year 5-6, ending a streak of 19 consecutive seasons with a winning record…The 62 points allowed by Huntington North in its loss to Mississinewa are the most in the Coach Bob Prescott area and the most allowed by the program since a 62-27 loss to East Noble in 2015…With its second-consecutive win, Bishop Luers has its first winning streak of the season.

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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