BLITZ’S PICKS: Semistate

Now just a week away, the excitement is palpable.

Many have been working all year for this moment.

There is nothing bigger nor more exciting than next weekend.

Blitz is talking about Thanksgiving, of course. The all-American holiday that centers on engorging yourself with food.

Also next week are the state finals in Indianapolis, with four area squads on a quest for one more victory to set up a Thanksgiving weekend to remember.

Who will be representing the 260 in Indy?

Last week: 4-1 (.800)

Overall: 188-42 (.817)

HAMILTON SOUTHEASTERN AT CARROLL. The Chargers have defied Blitz’s expectations throughout the playoffs, remaining undefeated through mid-November and capturing the first Class 6A regional title in this area’s history. The reward is a semistate home game against the top-ranked team in the entire state in HSE. The Royals defense will be the best that Carroll has gone up against all year, and it may not be close. Seniors Evan Sherrill and Dominic Burgett lead a unit with close to 70 tackles for loss and 27 sacks. Quarterback Ty Bradle has thrown for 16 touchdowns, while junior Jalen Alexander has rushed for 1,514 yards and 15 scores. And this is against an all-6A schedule for the HSE. Carroll’s margin for error here is slim. It must protect Jimmy Sullivan behind center, it must have some semblance of a running game and it can’t fall behind by double digits like it did last week, not against this opponent. Make no mistake, this is a gargantuan test for the Chargers. BLITZ SAYS HAMILTON SOUTHEASTERN BY 14.

VALPARAISO AT SNIDER. The first matchup in 20 years between these foes, Valpo comes calling after knocking off Merrillville last week, a squad that beat the Vikings by 27 points in the regular season. The defense has been largely responsible for the run that Valpo has had – allowing a total of just 24 points through the playoffs. This is a team that is going to want to control the game with its rushing attack paced by the likes of QB Justin Clark and running back Thomas Burda. Snider played an imperfect game with a slow start last week, but truly dominated Mishawaka after halftime. A lot of the principles that the Panthers defense had to focus on in the regional contest roll over into this matchup. That’s advantage Snider. BLITZ SAYS SNIDER BY 5.

BISHOP LUERS AT ANDREAN. It is like looking in a mirror with these two teams – private school powers in lower classes that feast in the playoffs after playing up during the regular season. Notre Dame commit Drayk Bowen leads the team in rushing, tackles, TFL and sacks, but he is far from a one-man show. Quarterback Billy Henry has thrown for 1,700 yards and 22 touchdowns, giving the Fighting 59ers incredible offensive balance. For the Knights to have a shot, they must find a way to use their speed to get in positions to make plays in all three facets. Andrean is a step up from Bluffton, but last week Bishop Luers rolled because of its quickness and ability on the perimeter. The Knights are the underdog but not out of it. BLITZ SAYS ANDREAN BY 8.

ADAMS CENTRAL AT NORTH JUDSON. What kind of foe will AC face on Friday? A team with a powerful rushing attack and a defense that has been able to dominate lesser foes. In other words, much the same kind of team that the Flying Jets have owned throughout the playoffs so far. North Judson is a better team than last year when it fell to Adams Central by 35 points in semistate, but just how much better? For the Flying Jets’ sake, Blitz hopes this game sees their starters having to play hard into the second half. It’s gonna be tough to flip that switch in the state finals against Lutheran. BLITZ SAYS ADAMS CENTRAL BY 20.

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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