Today, I break down notable area teams that are off to notable great and rough starts statistically speaking. Here, I’ll say whether this is a trend or if it’s something we shouldn’t panic.
South Adams Starfires 3-0
Outscoring opponents 126-42
Verdict: Pretty legit, but pump the brakes
Yes, the Starfires are a really good team led by quarterback Owen Wanner and his 635 passing yards. That west coast offense is legit. But there are some holes up front particularly against the run, and they haven’t played the toughest of competition yet. Bluffton gave them some fight, but it won’t be like Heritage or Adams Central. I do think the Patriots Front 7 will at least slow them down a little and challenge them physically. I just wonder if Heritage is consistent enough to fully execute that game plan. But until the Starfires Front 7 improves, it’s still going to be hard to knock off Adams Central in week 5. These next two weeks really show how close they are to contention.
Adams Central Jets 3-0
Out scoring opponents 123-46
They’re still the favorites to win the ACAC and by beating Eastside, it sends the message to why the Jets are a team to respect in Class 1A. I do wonder if the depth will be there as they get deeper into October and November, but the Jets have all the talent in the world on both sides of the field to make a run back to Lucas Oil Stadium.
Norwell Knights 3-0
Outscored opponents 91-7
They’re now pretty big favorites to win the NE8 thanks to their physical modified I offense and a stingy Norwell defense. They haven’t allowed a touchdown since Week 1, and the win at Leo shows just how scary good Norwell can be. Now week 5 against New Haven will present a test because of the elite athleticism of Donavan Williams, Tre Bates, and Mylan Graham. But it’s going to take a great game to contain Brody Bolyn up front, and the tremendous power run game that Norwell presents led by Luke Graft. Plus they don’t make a ton of mistakes.
Can they contend for a 3A state title? That’s a conversation for another day.
Carroll Chargers 3-0
Outscored opponents 98-44
Verdict: Legit, but their sectional is brutal
The truth is the SAC is down by their standards, and Carroll had to narrowly beat Snider and North Side by a touchdown to win both games. With that being said, Jimmy Sullivan is a legit stud of a QB, and Braden Steely is elite defensively. But sectional 2 has Elkhart, Penn, and Warsaw. Only one great team gets to play regionals from this sectional. Ouch!
West Noble Chargers 3-0
Outscored opponents 96-58
Verdict: Wait and see
Look, the Chargers are fantastic, but while they’ve shown great moments including the 28-27 OT win over Eastside, it’s not at the same level as a Norwell or Adams Central. I love their defense, I like Seth Pruitt, I like the freshmen there, and I am growing on Drew Yates as the quarterback in his junior season.
I’m not in any way just giving West Noble the NECC Big School Division and a sectional title right now. They’ll be at Angola this week, as well as a big home game with rival Fairfield, whose also 3-0, in week 5. If they come out undefeated after week 5, then we can start talking.
Warsaw Tigers 3-0
Outscored opponents 129-14
Verdict: THEY ARE AS LEGIT AS EVER
Enjoy the ride, Warsaw fans! Watch them pound the ball, play hard, and play physical winning football the Bart Curtis way! Now I just want to see a Warsaw-Carroll sectional matchup. That would be awesome!
A couple teams with surprising rough starts
Eastside Blazers 1-2
Outscored opponents 98-77
I know they’re on a losing streak, but they lost two close games to two good teams: Adams Central and West Noble. You can argue they should be 3-0 right now. But with the changes occurring after last season due to graduation, it’s not that shocking to see them struggle a little early. If they can clean up the turnovers and finish off games better, they’ll be ok. Now they definitely need to end the losing streak this week if they want a Small School Division title for the fourth straight season against Churubusco. If they can contain Riley Buroff and the Wing-T, Eastside is in decent position. But Busco is very good for a reason. Watch for the Carsen Jacobs-Briar Munsey combo for Eastside.
Leo Lions 1-2
Verdict: We have to be Realistic
Look, I didn’t think Leo would lose 27-0 to Norwell, but the point is the loss is expected. Leo lost a ton of D1 and collegiate talent last year, especially up front where the meat and butter of Leo’s identity starts and ends. Even if they had Jared Sauder back with that Wing-T, they were very likely going to start slow. Jason Doerffler and the Spread offense can work, but it has to be done with time and getting much needed experience and fundamentals. With how much they lost up front and at QB, the expectations were mostly not going to be met this season. Now, Leo isn’t going to be this terrible team that finishes dead last in the NE8, but they’re not going to end the regular season on a 6-game winning streak either. Have patience Leo fans!
Bishop Luers Knights 1-2
Verdict: Wake me up when it’s Postseason Time
It’s Bishop Luers. They’re easily the smallest school in the SAC where almost their whole offense graduated. They’re still a talented football team by 2A standards (just not by Bishop Luers’ usual standards), And honestly, they’re playing beyond my expectations. Relax! Nick Thompson is great as a wide receiver and corner! Just wait until sectional time begins and you’ll see why.