When Snider beat Homestead 52-31 on Sept. 16 in Indianapolis, the Panthers came away with a victory. The Panthers also had a number of questions about the quality of their defense.
Once tournament play began, would the Panthers be able to stop the types of offenses they would see again? Homestead would answer yes.
In the first game of the Class 6A sectional Friday, Snider dominated Homestead 37-0, recording seven sacks and four interceptions against senior Jiya Wright, arguably the area's best quarterback. A Northern Illinois recruit, Wright entered Friday with 2,327 yards passing for 30 touchdowns and 760 yards rushing with 11 scores.
Wright, who ran 154 yards and four touchdowns in the first game against the Panthers, had just 42 yards rushing and 145 yards passing Friday.
“On defense, we played as a unit,” Snider coach Kurt Tippmann said. “We had guys make sacks, but guys made sacks because other guys were in their place and (Wright) had nowhere to run or he had nowhere to throw. Our coaches, I'm so proud of them.”
Saints get test
Bishop Dwenger came away from Friday's 13-6 win over New Haven feeling like a battle-tested team.
“The Bulldogs are a very good team,” said Chip Clark, whose 1-yard touchdown run capped the scoring with 3:37 left. “They fought us until the very end. A really good struggle, it's nice to come out with the win. They beat us last year. We had to get them back.”
Bishop Dwenger's defense also played well and will prepare this week to face a Wayne team that had only 165 yards Friday in a 9-6 win over Jay County.
“New Haven had us right where they wanted us, but there were some big plays and some plays where Chip Clark just kept his feet moving and moved the pile and some big stops on defense,” Dwenger coach Chris Svarczkopf said.
“Special teams, I was real proud of what they were able to do on punt rush and field goals.”
Despite standing just 5-foot-4, Adams Central kicker Bailea Sprunger stood tall in her biggest moment Friday, booting the ball just over the crossbar on a 23-yard field goal try as the first half concluded.
Those three points gave her team the halftime lead, ultimately providing the margin of victory in the Jets' 17-14 triumph over Churubusco.
With temperatures dipping below 40 degrees Friday, Sprunger said the chills “made it a little bit harder” to perform her kicking duties. But in the pressure in that moment, did that have any effect on her with a sectional championship berth on the line?
“Not really,” Sprunger said. “I know they all have confidence in me, so I go out for them. The team looks out for me.”