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Last updated: Thu. Sep. 04, 2014 - 01:03 am EDT

The Pigskin Prophet: Breaking down the conference races

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As many of you know, The Pig has a pretty high opinion of himself.

And why not? He has been around over 20 years now and he has yet to be stuffed into a trunk by an angry head coach or run out of town by an angry fan face carrying torches and pitchforks.

So it was with surprise that The Pig realized he had yet to make any “official” picks for conference champions. After all, any time your hunky idol made of pork can showcase his brilliance he makes sure to do so.

Now, let's get started. Remember, The Pig is rarely wrong, and if he is, it is obviously a misprint.


The SAC

The favorite: Snider

Why: When The Pig thinks of someone who is as clutch and handsome as himself, the mind immediately goes to Snider senior Jessie Bates. The kid is an absolute ball hawk, proven once again last week on a long interception return for a TD against South Side.

Bates is just one of many veteran standouts on a roster full of them for the current top-ranked team in Class 5A.

Offensively, Isaac Stiebeling has an early line on area newcomer of the year as he has burst onto the scene as a change-of-pace quarterback for the Panthers.

No team in the SAC can match the both the experience and athleticism of Snider.

Contenders: Bishop Dwenger, Wayne

Why: The Saints have picked up right where they left off a year ago after advancing to the Class 4A State Championship, beating up on a pair of SAC opponents in the first two weeks.

The going gets tougher against North Side this week, but we may not know just how good the Saints are in the SAC until week 6 and beyond, with games against Wayne, Snider and Bishop Luers in the span of a month.

Wayne is the enigma. Best starting talent in Northeast Indiana, but can it sustain a high level of play throughout the season?


The NHC

The favorite: Homestead

Why: Does The Pig really need to explain it? It can be argued, and The Pig will make the argument, that nobody in the NHC a) has the offense to keep up with Homestead and b) has a defense capable of slowing the Homestead offense down enough to beat them.

Even if a team is able to limit the points of the Spartans, the Homestead defense has been on lockdown the first few weeks of the season.

This squad is looking more and more like the 2012 team that breezed through the league.

Contender: New Haven.

Why: If (and that's a big if) a team was able to match Homestead blow-for-blow offensively and force some big turnovers, that squad would be the Bulldogs. Coach Jim Rowland's team has the bodies up front and the playmakers to make a game against Homestead very interesting if things to their way.

If we all get lucky, the Homestead-New Haven showdown in week 9 will be a battle of league undefeateds for the crown.


The ACAC

The favorite: Leo

Why: Until someone knocks the Lions off, they are the favorite. Some may make a big deal about the loss to Norwell in week 1, but The Pig isn't one of them. Quarterback Kray Klopfenstein is going to continue to get better at the position as the season progresses and already showed it in the rout of Angola last weekend

Others may be closing the gap, but this is still Leo's league. Until it leaves for the Northeast Eight at least.

Contenders: Woodlan, Heritage.

Why: One of these two will emerge this Friday as the primary threat to Leo's recent dominance of the ACAC that includes sole or partial league titles in five straight seasons.

But simply, Woodlan has some big dudes up front, with the majority of smaller schools having a tough time matching up. But quarterback Rick Ehle is going to have to step up and win some big games, perhaps as soon as this week. Not saying he cannot do it, it's just an unknown at this point.

Heritage has some dangerous guys at the skill spots in Justyn Hart at running back and Branson Dossen at quarterback. Those guys will have to dominate to have a shot at Leo.


The NECC

The favorite: Who knows.

Since Garrett has gone back to the NECC, the conference has returned to its big school-small school division format where there is no true league champion, but separate big school and small school champions.

The Pig did not like it before and he does not like it now. The NECC may as well be two separate leagues, heck even the interdivision games do not count as official “conference” games.

It's tough to follow what a win means in the NECC because half the time it does not even count in the division standings. Hence, The Pig is going with an incomplete in this one, because it hurts his head to try and figure out why the format is the way it is.

nssports@news-sentinel.com


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