• So what does the SAC look like after another fun Friday night where the top two games were not easily predictable beforehand?
The ‘B’ Division is a clearer picture for the two with Bishop Luers now at 5-0 in the SAC and the last conference unbeaten. They hold a two game lead and the tiebreaker over North Side, so the Knights will be the ‘B’ Division champions. But could they end up the champions of the entire conference? One win guarantees them a split of that and the Knights will host 1-6 South Side next Friday.
The ‘A’ Division is still looking at Snider and Carroll who sit at 4-1 in conference, but the Panthers still hold the tiebreaker to control their own destiny as division champions. Carroll knows they need to win outright against Northrop and North Side while Snider will also need to win out to capture the division unless Carroll loses. The Panthers finish visiting an interesting Bishop Dwenger team and then hosting an underrated Wayne.
So needless to say, with two weeks left, a lot can still happen in the SAC.
• Wayne has been a bit under the radar all season but have the fourth best overall record in the SAC, so they are more than worth noting in the last third of the season. Wayne is one of just four SAC teams to have a winning overall record through seven weeks at 4-3. A win over the last two weeks of the regular season would have them with a winning regular season for the first time since 2018.
The Generals’ defense pushed Concordia to -59 rushing yards Friday…yes, negative 59…while sacking Concordia’s quarterback a banner nine times. Lenahs Martin and Zaire Sullivan each registered two sacks, joined by one each from Darrien Dunn, Jaysean Dougals, Barvion Query, Kharrington Terry and Kimar Nelson. Victor Doughty, who also had an INT on Friday, led the Generals with seven tackles.
As much as the Wayne offense has gotten some love this season, their defense is getting sharper and tougher no matter who the opponent is.
A play that won’t go unnoticed from Friday’s win over Concordia: Adrian Wooten taking an interception back for a touchdown. But it wasn’t just like a 20 yard return. Instead, Wooten turned on the jets as well as anyone we’ve seen in the area this season and took that pick 92 yards to the house.
• Blitz last saw Bishop Luers in Week 1 against East Noble, and senior QB Kohen McKenzie was far from impressive in that game.
Making his first varsity start, he struggled to run the offense and move the ball. He looked hesitant, unsure and downright incapable of taking Bishop Luers on extended drives.
For the early part of Friday’s game against rival Bishop Dwenger, McKenzie looked the same – inaccurate with his throws with the moment seemingly too big for him.
But McKenzie settled down, led with his words and actions and finished with three TD passes and 161 yards passing without turning the ball over in the Knights’ victory.
It was great to see, because McKenzie is going to be the key to Luers’ postseason chances. With a locked in senior QB who is confident in his abilities and can make all the throws, the Knights can go a long way. If he is tentative and inaccurate, they will have trouble with Eastside in sectional, let alone further down the line.
• Some cold, hard facts.
Northrop and Snider isn’t a rivalry. Rivalries have ebbs and flows. This matchup doesn’t.
The Panthers have won 27 straight in the series dating back to 1999. 24 years. 27 wins.
Friday’s 49-7 pasting was just the most recent in a long line of dominant Snider games against the Bruins.
It may be during rivalry week, but Northrop-Snider is not a rivalry.
Sorry, not sorry.
• The primary reason why North Side finished with eight victories a year ago was its ability to move the ball on the ground. It had a very good offensive front and a dynamic running back in 2022 OTH Football Player of the Year Jontae Lambert.
The Legends have been at their best this year when they have been able to move the chains on the ground. That was the case in the 20-6 victory over South Side on Friday, North’s seventh straight in the Totem Pole Game.
Kam Johnson, the transfer from Homestead, went for 254 yards and a score, leading the offense in the absence of Brauntae Johnson, who was serving a one-game suspension.
High school football isn’t difficult to figure out. You can have all of the athletes in the world or not have any at all, if you can run the ball and stop the run you are going to win a lot of games. If you can’t do one or the other, you won’t.
Simple as that.
• The NE8 got more clarity on Friday night with East Noble‘s big win over Columbia City.
Will the title picture get clarity on Friday? It should as East Noble now hosts unbeaten first place New Haven.
A New Haven win this Friday will all but clinch the NE8 for the Bulldogs as Week 9 is opposite sixth-place Huntington North. So as long as New Haven wins, it keeps control of its destinyas it looks to win outright.
If East Noble picks up the win on Friday, then it would force a tie between the Knights, Bulldogs and perhaps Leo (if the Lions beat Columbia City). A title would be shared in the NE8, so tiebreakers would be irrelevant. East Noble may have taken Columbia City out of the title race last week, but it looks like the Knights continue to control some parts of the conference going forward.
• Give a little credit to Bellmont in its loss to the NE8 leaders on Friday.
Bellmont still sits winless with the last victory for the Decatur boys coming Oct. 8, 2021. On Friday, Bellmont managed two scores against New Haven including a second quarter score that had them down just 13-7 for a bit and raising some eyebrows on social media.
Dylan Velez has continued to be tough for the Braves all season, including his 95 yards rushing on Friday. Velez currently leads the area in sacks with 10 over seven games, had two tackles for loss on Friday and also blocked a punt in Friday’s loss.
• Several coaches in the NE8 have told Blitz that East Noble is the most physical squad in the league this year.
The latest example of that was Friday’s 35-0 blanking of Columbia City, the worst home loss for the Eagles in six years.
Columbia City was averaging 267 yards per game on the ground heading into Week 7. East Noble held the Eagles over 150 yards under their average while rushing for 253 yards on their own.
The Eagles owned the NE8 last year because they owned the line of scrimmage. That hasn’t been the case against East Noble or New Haven the past two weeks.
• Is the ACAC title race over? Some at Adams Central will tell you yes.
Bluffton’s loss to Heritage on Friday night gives the Flying Jets a stop alone at the top of the conference standings. The Flying Jets will visit Bluffton on Friday and a win puts them at 8-0 and yeah they will need to win week 9 against Woodlan still but if Adams Central beats Bluffton, we have to assume they will be just fine to close the regular season with another ACAC title.
A loss though? It could mean a three-way tie between the two teams and Heritage.
• Down six in the fourth quarter, Bluffton seemingly had the play it needed to take the lead over Heritage.
Braxton Betancourt threw to AJ Streveler, who subsequently flipped the ball to the outside, your classic Hook and Ladder play. But Streveler’s pitch went awry as he was hit as he tried to give the ball off, resulting in a fumble and a Patriots recovery.
If the play had been executed to perfection, Bluffton could have scored on the play and given it the lead. However, Heritage’s defense made it difficult on the pitch man Streveler and had two defenders already taking angles further downfield that may have stopped the potential scoring play.
Either way, a big opportunity was lost, and the fumble all but sealed the dub for the Patriots.
• With West Noble essentially wrapping up the NECC Big Division on Friday (yes, they too still have to close the season opposite Churubusco and Prairie Heights), eyes are now on the NECC small division.
That one though should be decided this Friday at Central Noble visits Eastside and both teams sit at 3-0 in conference right now. It is always exciting to have a flat out conference or division title game this late in the season.
Of note: Central Noble has not scored a regular season touchdown against Eastside since 2020. The Blazers have also won the last 15 meetings (including sectional play), dating back to Central Noble’s last win in the series in 2010.
Central Noble‘s win over Churubusco was just its second win over the Eagles in the last 20 years…No team outside of Adams Central has beaten South Adams at home dating back to a 36-3 loss to Woodlan on Oct. 7, 2016…Aaden Lytle accounted for five touchdowns – two rushing and three passing – in DeKalb‘s win over Norwell.
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