Once I saw this week on the football schedule, I knew it could be something special.
The top two teams, in my opinion, in each of the conferences face off this week. East Noble-DeKalb in the Northeast 8, West Noble-Angola in the NECC Big School Division and Eastside-Churubusco in the NECC Small are all games that make this week one of the best so far.
Here’s a look at my weekly power rankings.
No. 1 East Noble
Last week: 1
Record: 3-0 overall, 1-0 Northeast 8
Last Friday’s result: 36-20 win over Huntington North
These Knights like to keep things interesting. They trailed for the third consecutive game late in the second half but came out the victor. Will this catch up to them eventually? I think this team is too talented let it affect them in the future.
Without Hayden Jones, who is expected to be back this week, and Bailey Parker’s other top target Gage Ernsberger being shut out, it was the sophomores of Nick Munson, Brett Christian and Rowan Zolman who stepped up on Friday night. East Noble seems to be set with playmakers for awhile.
But for the Knights to come out victorious in the next couple of weeks against DeKalb then Leo, they will need their full arsenal of offensive weapons to keep defenses off balance.
No. 2 DeKalb
Last week: 2
Record: 3-0, 1-0 NE8
Last Friday’s result: 29-14 victory at New Haven
It looked a letdown was going to happen early at New Haven on Friday, but the Barons rattled off 29 unanswered points and ran all over the Bulldogs for 346 rushing yards to remain undefeated. Landon Miller continued to impress on the ground with 222 yards and three touchdowns.
Also, junior Devon Smith also shined on the defensive side of the ball, leading the Barons in tackles on Friday with three tackles for loss and two sacks.
This game on Friday night against the Knights is arguably the game of the week in northeast Indiana. Everybody that makes the trip to Waterloo this Friday will want the game to be as exciting as last year’s sectional opener. That’s what this bovine is hoping for.
Both teams head into Friday with undefeated records for the first time since 1995.
No. 3 Churubusco
Last week: 3
Last Friday’s result: 40-22 win at Garrett
Once again it was the Jake Fulk show on full display in Garrett on Friday. But he found a new running mate in Gage Kelly, who also surpassed the 100-yard mark in the win. The duo has already combined for 1,035 rushing yards. In three games!
The Eagles get NECC Small Division play started this week with Eastside, which might be their biggest challenger on that side of the NECC. It should be a good one in Turtle Town.
No. 4 West Noble
Last week: 4
Last Friday’s result: 38-19 win at Eastside
The Chargers passed another test on Friday night with a big win over Eastside. Up until this point, they’ve leaned on Brandon Pruitt, Josh Gross and Kyle Mawhorter for production on offense. But another threat emerged last Friday in Raven Slone.
The senior caught three passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. This is a good sign for the Chargers going into Friday’s NECC Big Division opener with Angola, because if Gross or Pruitt are taken away as options, Slone is turning into a reliable weapon for Mawhorter to throw to.
No. 5 Lakeland
Last week: Not ranked
Last Friday’s result: 20-6 win at Prairie Heights
Listen, I was a little hesitant putting the Lakers here. But keeping the Milk Can again has to show for something, right? Lakeland hasn’t lost the Milk Can game since 2003, which ended in an overtime loss.
The score from Friday night’s win doesn’t represent how well the Lakers moved the ball on the ground. They finished with 301 rushing yards on 56 carries and had three different rushers finish with 70 yards or more. Quarterback Colton Isaacs was the leading rusher with 109 yards, and Nathan Grossman had 96 yards and two scores. Camryn Holbrook rushed for 77 yards on 21 attempts.
Sophomore Mark Burlew also had two picks for the Lakeland defense.
Others considered: Angola, Eastside, Fremont.