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The difference between good teams and elite teams was on full display on Friday night at Chambers Field.
For the second straight season, North Side has pushed and clawed its way towards the top of the Summit Athletic Conference. And for the second straight season, the Redskins have fallen short, first to Bishop Luers a year ago and now to Snider after Friday's 17-6 defeat.
When you begin competing against the big boys for wins, it is all about the little things, and North Side did not do the little things against the Panthers.
Six penalties, including three on the very first drive of the game, cost North Side. One of the biggest was a penalty on the extra point attempt on the Redskins' first quarter touchdown. With a shaky kicking game, any errors in that department can cause trouble, and that is exactly what happened.
As for the kicking game, The Pig wonders how a school of nearly 1,500 kids cannot have just one effective kicker. For that matter, the special teams in general failed North Side. Repeatedly, they let Snider punter Josh Spitnale's punts bounce their way inside the 10 yard line instead of catching them and giving the North Side offense decent field position.
Little things? Yes. Add them up and you cannot beat elite programs like Snider without doing those little things right.
Perhaps the biggest stat was turnovers. North Side only turned the ball over twice to the Panthers' one, but both came in Snider territory, including one inside the 20 yard line. If North Side scores on just one of those drives, momentum could have went the other way.
North Side has the athletes and has the talent to compete against Snider and the other big dogs in Class 5A, but the Redskins have to put a coat of polish on their game. Shore up the special teams, cut out the penalties and hold onto the football.
If North Side does that, a potential rematch in sectionals between the Redskins and Panthers could be another fantastic matchup.
- Good to see Bishop Luers put the attention back on the football field, The Pig is sure it felt darn good for players, coaches and fans on Friday night to play some football. Who knows what the future holds, but being able to hit someone else on the gridiron for 48 minutes can cure a lot of ills.
- Hey, look at that! Leo got a game from an ACAC opponent! Heritage took the Lions to the brink in overtime before pulling out the victory. Fans of both teams told The Pig that Leo got a favor at the end of regulation. After being called for a penalty for too many men, somehow the Lions were able to run a final play with the scoreboard at zeroes to tie the game on a field goal.
Whatever the case, the big story is that the Lions were tested in conference play, their players had to perform for four-plus quarters to earn the win. Too many times the last few years, Leo was not having to play its regulars deep in games, so when postseason time came, a switch had to be thrown.
Coach Jared Sauder is not complaining about the test his team got on Friday.
Now, could anyone in he NHC give Homestead a game