Timeout Football: Midseason analysis
By Mike Hutton 613-0141 or email@example.com. Twitter:@MikeHuttonPT October 10, 2013 11:30PM
Andrean's Matt DeSomer throws for a completion in the first quarter of play against Hobart during their game held at Hobart High School on Friday September 20, 2013. | Charles Mitchell/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 12, 2013 6:37AM
The most indispensable player to his team in the area is Andrean’s Matt DeSomer by the length of a football field.
DeSomer’s health is crucial to the 59ers’ success. As Munster coach Leroy Marsh pointed out, after the Mustangs lost to Andrean, the 59ers should win state with him.
DeSomer has 1,160 yards passing and 859 yards rushing. He also plays defense and he has one interception.
His time is now. This is his third year as a starter.
The 59ers have plenty of difference makers — Tylor Petkovich, and Donovan Chandler — are two. None can match up to DeSomer, though Phil Mason likes to point out that backup quarterback Jake Paliga, a junior, would probably start at any place other than Andrean.
The 59ers and Rensselaer are two teams that figure to go the deepest in state.
For what it’s worth, Fort Wayne Luers doesn’t have Jaylon Smith anymore and it doesn’t look like a team to be reckoned with. The Knights are 0-7. They beat Andrean in the Class 2A semistate last season.
Revised sectional picks
Class 6A Sectional 1 — Winner: Merrillvile. As Lake Central coach Brett St. Germain said, the Pirates have the “it” factor. They know how to win.
It won’t be easy. And it could come down to matchups — who gets Lafayette Jefferson in the first game. At 1-6, Jeff is a team anybody would want to play.
Class 6A Sectional 2 — Winner: Penn. The Kingsmen have already defeated Portage and Valparaiso. They have a college quarterback at the helm, are a defensive juggernaut, only giving up two TDs all season. The big question is can they beat a team like Carmel or Center Grove?
Class 5A Sectional 9 — Winner: Munster. Hardest call of all — Mishawaka is always a tough out but the Mustangs’ schedule so far has been more difficult and they have been resilient this year.
Class 4A Sectional 17 — Winner: Lowell. The Red Devils wade through the crowd here and win their first sectional since 2009. They probably have to beat Morton at some point — a team they lost to earlier this year.
Class 4A Sectional 18 — Winner: South Bend St. Joseph. There are plenty of possibilities — Hobart, New Prairie and Plymouth are all part of the pool of schools that could win. But Plymouth and St. Joe have the best results, given the schedules they have played.
Class 3A Sectional 25 — Winner: Andrean. The 59ers should win in a landslide. Mishawaka Marian is the only team that could give them problems.
Class 2A Sectional 33 — Winner: Rensselaer.
Class 1A Sectional 41 — Winner: Winamac. This is a head-on collision between Whiting and Winamac. West Central is in the mix. Slight edge to Winamac.
A couple of surprises
North Judson struggles: The team that I thought would be better was North Judson.
The Bluejays have lost two of their last three games to Pioneer and Winamac, both Class 1A schools.
The Kirk Kennedy honeymoon didn’t last long there as North Judson sits at 2-5.
The Bluejays’ biggest issue has been injuries. They lost two of their best players — Eric Beckman and Zach Schultz — with broken legs. They have been hobbled with an assortment of other injuries.
Rensselaer surges: The team that has, somewhat surprisingly, played its way into contention to possibly make a trip to the state championship is Rensselaer.
The Bombers had 10 starters back on offense but they were 6-6 last year. They also had to replace quarterback Hunter Hickman. Dylan Wright has done well but the star of this team is the whole defense. The Bombers have two shut-outs on the board and three other games in which opponents were limited to just a touchdown.
Rensselaer coach Chris Meeks said the team got a big confidence boost going into the season after it was tied with Andrean going into the final minutes of a 28-21 loss in last year’s sectionals.
The Bombers also were immediately better when Adam Langley, a linebacker and offensive lineman, returned this season from a broken shoulder and when Austin Fleming, a wide receiver and linebacker, returned as well from a broken arm.
They have a senior-laden offensive line that wasn’t very good in middle school but got better when they hit the weights, according to Meeks. He said the Bombers could be the best team he’s had in 15 seasons.
The outlook for getting down to state is easier for all 2A teams in Northwest Indiana since Fort Wayne Luers was bumped to 3A.