FEARLESS DISTRICT CHAMPIONSHIP PROJECTIONS
CLASS 1 DISTRICT 5 FINAL
SOUTH SHELBY 28
The Cardinal Offense is playing its best football of the season at the exact right time...again. Defensive Coordinator Zach Grassley already has an effective Hornet game plan to draw from. And as talented as Hornet Quarterback Zane Jacoby appears to be, I don't think he can find the edge against South Shelby the way he did against Knox County a week ago. More to the point, I think the field conditions tonight play to South Shelby's favor and slows things down. In that instance, I love the power of South Shelby's Offensive and Defensive Lines to control this tonight and send the Cards off to their second straight quarterfinal.
CLASS 2 DISTRICT 5 FINAL
CLARK COUNTY 35
Palmyra's offense has found its footing with quarterback Brock Butler really polishing himself and channeling his athletic skills from virtuoso performer into a true quarterback who understands how to attack a defense. Unfortunately tonight, he is not going to get that opportunity. Clark County's Defensive Line is the best in Tri State Football and when that group is on, as it was Wednesday against Bowling Green, there isn't a high school O-Line at this level that can buy time for a quarterback to check off his first read. And if a quarterback floats a ball, even a smidge of target, the Indian DB's have the athletic ability to close and deter like no one's business. Logan Prewitt nearly had three first half interceptions against the Bobcats alone on Wednesday. Clark County is a monster right now and has really cleaned up some of the early season "self inflicted" issues that were the only chink in the armor. And Palmyra's best defensive attribute, its team pursuit, may actually be a weakness against the one quarterback in all of Tri State Football who is actually better when things breakdown and go haywire. The double-edged sword of playing Austin Egley is that the best way to defend him may be not to go after him aggressively; and that kind of approach is really difficult to embrace for a team like Palmyra that loves to deliver the Big Shot. You lunge at Austin Egley, he either runs screaming past you or spins away to buy more time for his talented skill position guys to get open. The play he made spinning away from a Bowling Green blitz on Wednesday to open up Prewitt was as good as anything we've seen from any Offensive Player in our area this year. They only way I think Palmyra can win this game is to establish the run with physical "mudder" Dilan Parrish and eat up large portions of clock and try to turn this into a 14-7 type contest. Hard to find a team on the schedule yet who has been successfully able to play keep away from the Indians.
CLASS 4 DISTRICT 6 FINAL
The Pirates already have proven they can dictate tempo against the Crusader defense, having put up 334 rush yards on Helias in the team's first meeting at Adkins Stadium. Now, Hannibal just needs to couple that effort with a cleaner, smarter Defensive Approach against the Crusaders. Blown coverages absolutely killed the Pirates in the first meeting in the secondary and there wasn't a single player back there who could be absolved of blame. I think more than anyone, this is a moment of atonement for a very talented, proud Pirate Group of Defensive Back who has been spoiling for redemption since Week Nine. Would you seriously bet against Caleb Bieniek and Lijah Harrison at this point? I would not. The Pirates think they have a winning game plan in place and they also realize better today than two weeks ago that the key to beating Helias is making Quarterback Wyatt Porter work harder. He never once got out of his comfort zone in the first meeting and made a lot of easy, quick passes off first read. Expect the Pirate Defense to break out every trick and every schematic look tonight to make that kid taste some adversity. Porter isn't nearly as effective when he's hurried, on the move, or most germanely tonight....confused. The key for the Pirates in a nut shell is to stymie the Helias run game and bate Porter into making throws without confidence. Talking to the Pirate Defensive players this weekend, I think they really learned a ton about the nature of the Crusaders during that first battle. And I am buying in on their confidence.