Bishop Dwenger football was about a little more than winning or losing Friday. The Saints welcomed Honor Flight No. 33, which flies northeast Indiana veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit memorials. In the 10-3 win over Carroll, the Saints wore camouflage National Guard jerseys, and service members, including four Dwenger graduates, delivered the game ball to Shields Field in a Black Hawk helicopter.
“For me personally, my uncle was in Vietnam and he died in 2013, so this was a great week for that,” Saints coach Jason Garrett said. “My grandfather, he was in World War II and would have been 105 Sunday. We got all these guys that have veterans in their families and we just thought it was the right thing to do.”
Two pilots, two crew chiefs and five soldiers landed yards away from the new stadium and received a standing ovation as they delivered the game ball. Soldier Josh Butler, a 1997 Dwenger graduate and former Saints football player, called it surreal.
“I fly in aircrafts all the time but not into your alma mater stadium,” he said. “That's a little unique.”
Butler, now living in Indianapolis, has been serving for 20 years. “There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears that were shed on this practice field when I was a kid,” Butler said. “It's surreal coming back and seeing the sanctity of this ground kind of kept and preserved.”
Master Sgt. Chris Gustafson said they did this to support the community.
“The guard is here to support our schools,” he said. “They are the next generation of Guard soldiers, so it's kind of like a symbiotic relationship. ... We've got five or six enlisted soldiers from Bishop Dweneger, so it's a pretty productive school for us, and we just wanted to give back.”
Waiting on Wall
In the fourth quarter of East Noble's 35-7 win over Leo, Peyton Wall, the Lions' do-everything running back and linebacker, caught the ball on a kickoff return. He made one cut and immediately began limping, going to the ground before the oncoming tacklers even reached him.
Wall appeared to suffer a leg injury. He was helped off the field, seemingly unable to put much weight on the leg and did not return. Leo coach Jared Sauder said via text message Friday night that the extent of the injury was unclear.
After the game, East Noble coach Luke Amstutz went to the Leo bench and had some words of encouragement for Wall.
“He's been a great player for a long time,” Amstutz said. “You hate to see any injury. ... My coaches know, I'll sit in the coach's office and just harp about how good that kid is, how hard that kid plays. I hate, hate, hate to see that happen. You hope it's something minor and he can come back from it because he's a heck of a kid.”
Spartans' historic night
Homestead made history with a 49-36 victory over Snider. Although the Spartans (5-0) are always competitive (Homestead hasn't finished below .500 since 1994), they are currently sitting alone atop the SAC, something that hadn't happened since they joined the conference in 2015.
The Spartans hadn't beaten Snider in 13 years (nine straight losses). Snider hadn't given up 49 points or more in a loss since a 2003 loss to Penn. Back-to-back wins over Bishop Dwenger (4-1) and then Snider (4-1) are just as rare: no one's done it since Bishop Luers in 2000.
“We got out every single day and work hard during the week, and this is how it pays off,” quarterback Luke Goode said. “We've got a great team with great guys, great coaches, that everybody has bought into this year.”
Homestead also hasn't started the season 5-0 since 2012, when they went 9-0 before losing to, yes, Snider in sectionals.
“This team is so special: these seniors, these captains, these juniors, everybody is so well-rounded,” tight end Griffin Little said. “We believe in everything we do, and we're so confident. Nothing can stop us.”