Before we talk about the other sectionals, I think it’s important that I address this.
The way Eastside won this game in 2A sectional 35 was incredible. The first half was perfectly planned forcing a turnover off a pick and then recovering a onside kick as well as holding Luers to three possessions through two and a half quarters.
The SAC’s leader in passing yards Carson Clark held to 167 yards passing and zero TD passes. This is legit. Brody Glenn had more touchdown passes (1) than Clark in this game. That connection was almost unstoppable all year long. But on this night, Eastside’s defense shined at its brightest.
But before you start asking why did Luers failed to win a sectional, let me ask you this. How did Eastside pull this one off?? I’m a NECC guru, and I kick my tires on my NECC neighbors (for the most part). I knew they can compete with Luers, but I did NOT see this kind of domination coming from a great football team.
Defensive coordinator: Cory Schoon. Where to start? He was my history teacher in 10th grade dating back to his time at Central Noble. I was a football manager who saw the greatness he had at running a football play. Very few guys can breakdown film as well as he does, especially on defense. He’s an intense coach with high expectations, but man you can just see the hard work he brings. That game showed the amount of days and years he’s worked to be apart of two sectional championship teams.
In the sectional championship game, his defense bounced back from allowing 56 points and 354 yards passing a year ago to allowing 16 points (13 coming in the final 3 minutes of the game) and 167 yards passing.
It’s time to give respect to Schoon’s defense whose spent 365 days+ since that 56-49 loss a year ago to get to this miraculous point. And it’s time to give Carson Jacobs more love. He made great defensive play after great defensive play, and recovered the most important onside recovery of his life with 43 seconds left in the game. Head coach Todd Mason deserves a ton of credit for turning a good team into a championship team with a great team culture. I love this coach from the very beginning, and his passion for football is as remarkable as his team’s heart.
Laban Davis the quarterback. Hoosiers have been seeing him on the highlight reel because he runs better than most running backs can, and then some. Davis is the best versatile quarterback I’ve seen in recent memory. The way he led that offense was great because, even if it wasn’t the big giant runs like we usually see him, he made the plays that mattered. He took the opportunity by the horns and literally ran with it (35 carries 177 yards 2 touchdowns). He didn’t have to be the big gunslinger in this one because the team was executing their game plan to near perfection.
Dax Holman…you hear about him running for 90 yards and a touchdown to give Eastside the lead they never lost. But you forget he plays both ways. At linebacker, he was apart of a line that pressured studs like Clark, Glenn, Lake, Hale, etc all night.
Matt Dazey….people remember him now as a two time sectional champion as a offensive coordinator, but I still remember as the former AD at Central Noble that taught me a lot about high school sports. His offensive line has dominated opponents throughout that core’s entire career. But on THIS night, this offensive line was terrorizing SAC talent all night against state favorite Bishop Luers.
This was the best Bishop Luers team since winning 4 straight state championships that included Jaylon Smith. You know a current NFL player that everyone remembers. They were that good. When an NECC guru like me was that confident about Luers, it tells you they had the team to be a state champion…..on paper.
To put it this way, instead of looking at the what if’s, think about how special this win is for Eastside. They played a heck of a game, and they worked their butts off to pass the exam. Eastside played a near perfect road game in less than ideal conditions against an elite team. This win for Eastside is even greater than Luers’ defeat. That’s how you should look at this game.
The last time Bishop Luers scored less than 20 points in a 2A sectional championship game, they lost to Jimtown in OT (14) back in 2008. This was also their first sectional championship loss on home field since 2016 state champion Fort Wayne Concordia.
But here’s the kicker: this is the first time Bishop Luers has ever lost a 2A sectional championship game on their home field, and Eastside did just that. Why do I make such a big deal here? Because they’ve won all 11 state titles as a 2A school.
That’s the definition of high school sports, and now Eastside gets a chance at making a deep playoff run starting next Friday home vs Eastbrook in regionals.
In other sectionals, what a win for Northridge in 4A 19! They avenged last season’s defeat to beat Leo in OT 27-26 to win their first sectional since 2014 behind a great defense and a strong Offensive line performance. The last time they were crowned sectional champions, they went to semistate. Don’t start celebrating yet Raider fans, but I feel good about those odds. As for Leo, it’s another special season ending in disappointment. A lot of great high school football careers ended last night including D1 bound players Landen Livingston, DJ Allen, and Rylan Crawford. But then there’s Jackson Barbour, the QB we all want to succeed. Mason Sheron, Mr. Comeback kid who had a great season at running back. Carson Hoeppner and Kaeden Miller who made big plays all season long. Their seasons ended in heartbreak, and that’s the reality about sports as a whole, but the memories won’t be forgotten.
Remember those years where Norwell was the bottom feeders of the NE8? Well those days are in history. Norwell is a sectional champion as well for the first time since 2014 with a 24-13 win at Peru. Could this be the year Norwell makes an attempt at state yet again? It’s happened twice in their history. Why not three? Said Norwell.
They say never count out Dwenger in the playoffs, and that pays off again in 2021. Dwenger avenges their regular season loss with an impressive all-around win 42-20 over Snider, especially on defense holding down their strong running game. It’s going to be tough to stay in the hunt for a trip to Lucas Oil, but never say die Saints until their season ends.
Much like with Eastside, Carroll avenged their sectional loss by dominating Warsaw (a very good team I might add) 36-0. How far can the Charger Train go in the 6A playoffs? We shall see, but it’s an exciting time in Huntertown.
Finally, let’s not forget the rematch in the Adams County rivalry: Adams Central vs South Adams. For the second time in three years, these two will square off in regionals. Yes, South Adams made it to state in 2020, but they still remember how their promising 2019 season ended, a 19-7 loss. Their memory is still fresh from their 48-7 home loss this season to these same Jets. They’ve already avenged their regular season loss to Monroe Central by eliminating them in sectionals 6-3. Will history repeat itself?? I can’t wait to see these two get after it next Friday in Berne, IN!
Sectional championship week was fun, but this is only the beginning! This playoff ride is only going to get crazier! So we might as well enjoy it while we still can!