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The Journal Gazette

  • Coach Luke Amstutz addresses the victorious East Noble Knights, who clinched an outright NE8 title with a 46-26 road win over New Haven on Friday night. (Dylan Sinn)

  • The East Noble Knights celebrate an outright NE8 conference title, the team's first since 2004, after a 46-26 road win over New Haven. (Dylan Sinn)

Sunday, October 07, 2018 1:00 am

HS Football Notebook

Snider showing more physicality

Journal Gazette

This is a different Snider Panthers team than the one that lost 38-14 to Carroll in Week 2. That team produced only seven first downs and allowed nearly 400 yards of offense. Since then, the Panther are 5-1 and are making things interesting in the SAC.

“Since that Carroll loss, we've all been focused and tuned in,” Jayshawn Underwood said after Friday's 21-13 the win over Bishop Dwenger. “It shows how all year we could have played this way.”

The Panthers have given up an average of 9.6 points over those five wins. Since their 21-7 loss to Wayne in Week 6, Snider has been the more physical team.

Coach Kurt Tippmann credited the team's physicality for Friday's victory.

“We told them Saturday morning this will be the most physical game you play in all year, and it most certainly was,” Tippmann said. “I think they kind of embraced the challenge of that.”

Much of that physicality comes up front from Gianini Belizaire, who's having a breakout season at defensive tackle. The junior has 42 total tackles and 33 solo. He is averaging 6 per game.

Knights learning

East Noble clinched an outright NE8 title Friday with a 46-26 win over New Haven. Knights coach Luke Amstutz stressed how proud he was of his team but added that it isn't a finished product yet.

“We're still a work in progress,” he said. “We fumbled tonight, we fumbled going into the end zone. You do that one time in a playoff game and you're going home. Little things like that, we've still got our flaws. I think we've done a good job as coaches of going into each week, making sure the kids understand that we've got to get better at certain things.”

After the Knights conclude their regular season this week against Bellmont, they'll enter what Amstutz called one of the toughest sectionals in the state. East Noble hasn't won a sectional title in 15 years.

“We're looking to go further in the playoffs than we have in previous years,” running back Kaiden Harshberger said. “We just want to build the momentum off of (the win over New Haven) and get in, watch the film and build off it.”

Spartans on run

For a change, Braeden Hardwick did not have a career game Friday (the Homestead sophomore ran for 98 yards in Week 5 against Snider, 134 yards against North Side in Week 6 and 155 against Carroll in Week 7), but he still made significant contributions as Homestead won its third straight game.

Hardwick had 19 carries as the Spartans beat Wayne 21-13, gaining 69 yards.

“If you limit a team to being one dimensional, you can cause some trouble,” Homestead coach Chad Zolman said. “I feel like we can throw the ball and we can run the ball right now, and that's a good spot to be in as we head into some of this late-season stuff, as the weather gets bad.”