Friday, September 29, 2017 1:00 am
City, area rivalries resume this week
GREG JONES | The Journal Gazette
(All games at 7 p.m.)
Bishop Luers at Bishop Dwenger*
Concordia at Wayne
North Side at South Side
Snider at Northrop
Homestead at Carroll
East Noble at Columbia City
Leo at Huntington North
New Haven at Bellmont
Norwell at DeKalb
Adams Central at Southern Wells
Bluffton at Heritage
Jay County at South Adams
Churubusco at Central Noble
Eastside at Fremont
Fairfield at Garrett
Lakeland at West Noble
Prairie Heights at Angola
Wawasee at Warsaw
Manchester at Whitko
Woodlan at Lima (Ohio) Central Catholic
* At Zollner Stadium
In the college ranks, there are television events built around it. It is called rivalry week, and despite the lack of a spotlight and the bright TV lights, it is just as important in high school.
The SAC has four such clashes this week including the Battle of the Bishops in Bishop Luers against Bishop Dwenger at Zollner Stadium, North Side and South Side for the Totem Pole, Snider vs. Northrop for Spuller Stadium supremacy and the battle between the big boys on the block, Homestead and Carroll.
It adds a little something extra to Week 7, especially with the conference title all but sewn up by the Panthers and the postseason still three weeks away.
“You get to see both teams at full tilt, that's what it means,” Homestead coach Chad Zolman said. “It helps with the playoff atmosphere, and it may feel like that. The kids just enjoy this week, and they enjoy playing a team right across town, and a lot of guys they know. It's a fun week for them.
“They definitely want to beat them. That's a fact, and that's a good thing, too. They want to beat everybody ... our districts are right next to each other, and these kids have been playing against each other in (Police Athletic League) and middle school; they have playing each other a long time. They know each other well. They definitely enjoy this opportunity to play.”
There are other rivalry games outside of the SAC, including Wawasee at Warsaw for the annual “W” Trophy and nearby foes Manchester and Whitko.
Carroll and Homestead have both lost to Snider – Carroll 69-7 in Week 2 and Homestead 52-31 in Week 5. Since those setbacks, though, both teams have to yet to lose, 4-0 for the Chargers (4-2) and 1-0 with a smaller sample size for the Spartans (5-1).
“They are just executing at a higher level, for sure,” Zolman said of Carroll's improvement. “Their quarterback play (Jack Miguel) has been really good. They have some tremendous speed and tremendous athletes on the field, and that's worrisome. Last week, and the week before, they were pretty impressive.
“They had some turnovers against Snider, and they just haven't done that sort of thing recently. You start playing clean and efficient and getting after it on defense, which is what they have done, you get a 4-0 run, and that's what has happened.”
Homestead seemed to have worked a few things out as well since its showdown loss at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis two weeks ago.
“The whole thing was to improve,” Zolman said. “We found some areas where we are improving. Having gone down there and get beat ... and last week, we did show (improvement), and we showed that on defense last week. We have been banged up all season, and hopefully we are getting healthier as the season goes along. That has helped too, and when we get everybody back to full health, it's going to help us get even better yet.”
Greg Jones is the assistant sports editor for The Journal Gazette and has been covering sports in Fort Wayne since 1998. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; phone, 461-8224; or fax, 461-8648.