HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL, IN PREPS

Northeast Indiana’s Sectional Preview

After enduring many hurdles, obstacles, COVID-19 protocols, and even some cancellations, we are finally here. Postseason football has arrived in the Hoosier state. So, barring any setbacks from the COVID, what can we expect in sectionals?

What’s the sectional I’m most looking forward to?

The one sectional everyone should have their eyes on is 4A sectional 19. Typically, this sectional tends to be one of the most competitive in all of Indiana, and 2 of the last 4 sectional winners from there have gone on to play @ Lucas Oil Stadium.

This season’s version of 4A 19 has all but two teams (DeKalb and Wawasee) with a winning record, and 3 teams have either received AP votes or are ranked in the top 10 in 4A (Leo T-4th and Northridge T-10th).

On paper, Leo should come in as the favorite to win this sectional after losing to East Noble 14-7 in last year’s championship game thanks to an intimidating offensive line, a strong running game, and a lights out defensive game. But a brutal 1st round matchup @ Northridge has some potential for a big change in the sectional field moving forward.

Another team to definitely have your eyes on is the reigning state finalists, East Noble. Despite coming in with a 6-3 record, the Knights are now starting to get healthy again after losing Rowan Zolman for half a season due to a foot injury. While they’ll likely face two quality opponents in Columbia City and likely Angola, they definitely avoided the meat of the sectional and their defense can matchup with many teams in the area. Defensively, Northwood will have a chance to win some big games in the postseason.

Key 1st Round Matchup

I’m looking at 2A sectional 35 where the Bluffton Tigers host 2A #5 Eastside Blazers with both teams coming in at 8-1. It’ll be the versatility of the Bluffton Tigers offense vs a Eastside defense that’s allowed just 6.2 points and allowing under 60 yards rushing in back-to-back weeks.

It’ll also be the battle of the quarterbacks where Hayden Nern and Laban Davis combine for 2,984 passing yards, 38 TD passes, and 13 picks. This will be the 4th postseason meeting all-time where the Blazers have won all 3 of those games out scoring them 92-12 in their last 2 sectional meetings.

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