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Entering last Friday's Battle of Zollner with Concordia Lutheran, it wasn't hard for Bishop Dwenger coach Chris Svarczkopf to identify what the key was going to be for the Saints defensively.
“Concordia we know is very balanced, but they ran wild in their option play against (North Side),” Svarczkopf said. “So we knew we had to take that away and take the trap play away.”
The Cadets amassed 392 total yards against the Redskins in week 1, including over 200 yards rushing as Concordia kept the aggressive North Side defense off balance.
The Saints limited Coach Tim Mannigel's team to just 226 yards of total offense, with just 45 yards rushing, as Bishop Dwenger rolled 44-13.
Svarczkopf and his coaching staff were clearly impressed with the talent of the Cadets, who have had to replace offensive mainstays David Morrison at quarterback and Jon Poore on running back.
“Oh yeah, especially when they ran away from (North Side) at times on the option pitch,” said Svarczkopf when asked if he took notice of what the Cadets did in week 1. “(Peterson Kerlegrand) is a very good tailback for a sophomore with great speed and great burst. They have a good quarterback (in Daniel Sparks) and of course (wide receiver C.J. Morris) is a great player out there.”
Redskins receive message, earn win
Coach Ryan Hall was so frustrated with his players last Thursday in practice that he did the only thing he thought would send a message.
He kicked them off the field.
“I wasn't trying to sandbag or anything like that, we had a horrible practice,” said Hall following North Side's 49-26 win over Class 3A No. 8 Delta on Friday. “It took them 5-6 minutes and they came out and it wasn't like they were world beaters
“Our pre-game (Friday) they were kind of quiet. They are learning how to play on Friday nights.”
With so many multi-year starters graduated, even many of the upperclassmen are getting their first substantial taste of varsity football.
North Side needed its youth to step up Friday with the gauntlet of a schedule the Redskins have.
“You look at who we got next, Dwenger, Wayne, Mishawaka, Snider, Luers, we don't know what's going to happen,” Hall said. “My fear was we'd be sitting at 0-6 and everything we've built in the last five years could just be going downhill.”
The talk of the town last week was the defending SAC champs stumbling out of the gate. That, if anything, is what got the players going.
“It's kind of how North Side is, when you start doubting us, that's when we come back,” Hall said. “I guess that's just the North Side mentality, tell us we're not going to do anything and then we do it.”
Great win for the skins last night! But it's time to prepare for Bishop Dwenger!!! Big SAC test for the Redskins!!!! #redskinnation— North Side Football (@FW_NorthSideFB) August 30, 2014
Woodlan picks up where it left off
The expectations outside of the Woodlan program were that the Warriors would drop down a level from their eight-win campaign of 2013, or at least take some time to rebuild after losing some big-time talent such as Jaylin Bennett, Debo Woods and Greg White.
Yet Woodlan enters one of the biggest game weeks in recent memory at 2-0, with a home showdown looming with fellow ACAC title contender Heritage this Friday.
“It's huge because we put in a lot of hard work and last year we kind of turned it around,” said Woodlan coach Sherwood Haydock about the first two weeks of 2014. “To start 2-0 and keep is going is what is real important.
Haydock was excited about his team's prospects in the preseason despite new faces. His faith in players like senior Rick Ehle, running back Shawn Kitzmiller and a scary-big offensive line has proven correct.
“This is actually what I expected,” Haydock said. “We don't have the talent of last year, but we have the same kind of toughness.
“I expected us to be as good as last year, I didn't know if the record would be the same, and it may not end up to be, but we expect it to be.”
Woodlan is 2-0 for the first time since 1999, when Leland Etzler led the Warriors to a 9-3 record and a second-place finish in the ACAC behind Adams Central.
South Side has now been held at or below seven points in four of its last six games dating back to last season … Homestead has won its last 12 non-conference regular season games. Its last loss was a 29-22 defeat to Warsaw in 2008 … Bishop Luers' 58 points in a win over Northrop was the most for the Knights since 2012 in a 58-21 victory over Bishop Dwenger … Carroll's 10 points in a shutout win over Huntington North last Friday was the lowest scoring output for the Chargers in a victory since a 10-6 win over Bellmont in 2011.