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COLUMN

The Pig wanted intrigue, ACAC match-up provides it

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For more on prep football, follow The Pig via Twitter @ThePig_ns.

Join The Pig in a live chat and blog at News-Sentinel.com each Friday at 6 p.m.

Garrett at Heritage surely will be a classic

Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 5:11 am

The Pig has been asking, well more like begging, for some ACAC intrigue the last few years. Well, it is finally here.

The Garrett-Heritage showdown on Friday will decide the conference. Either the Railroaders will win its first league title since 2007 outright, or they will share it with the Patriots and Leo.

With a three-way tie, the ACAC does not break the tiebreaker.

Garrett carries a six-game win streak heading into Friday's road test against Heritage, but the Patriots are on a solid roll of their own. Coach Dean Lehrman's has won two straight after losing to Leo in overtime in the mud on Sept. 21.

Heritage's only other defeat came to one-loss New Haven by six points in week one.

To beat Heritage, the Garrett offense is going to have to solve a defense that not many teams have been successful in doing this year, with the Patriots allowing just 10 points per game.

The defense is nothing fancy. There are no slick stunts or audibles at the line of scrimmage before every snap. It is smashmouth, in-your-face football that the ACAC prides itself on.

There are many similarities to the 2006 Heritage team that went 11-1 under Coach Bob Yager. The Patriots notched three shutouts that year and kept nine of its 12 opponents below 10 points.

While this year's team is not as dominant, it has kept four teams under 10 points, with the maximum point output being the 20 from New Haven in week one.

Heritage held Leo to 13 points, the lowest point total for the Lions since 2008 before Garrett held them to six a week ago.

The Railroaders ended one streak last week, it will end another on Friday when it captures an ACAC crown for the first time in five years. Whether it holds it alone or shares it comes down to how well Garrett handles the smothering Heritage defense.

Week 9 bacon bits

* A few years ago, football fans throughout the city were excited when it became apparent that SAC teams were going to have a few open dates to schedule out-of-town opponents due to the closing of Harding and Elmhurst. They said it was going to be great to showcase one of the best leagues in the state around Indiana.

Now, let The Pig preface this rant by saying that he does not believe the SAC is a bad conference, not at all. But with a 6-8 out of conference record so far this season, and last year not being much better, the sad truth is that the SAC may be a tad overrated when it comes to looking at the league from top to bottom.

It is by no means weak and has loads of talent, and teams like Snider, Bishop Dwenger and Bishop Luers are playing the best of the best not just in the state but around the region. But until the bottom half of the league improves considerably, the SAC is by no means an elite conference. Does it have elite programs? Yes. An elite league? Not at all.

* For eight weeks, the play of the Bishop Luers quarterbacks has been a huge topic of discussion between Knights fans. Both Quinn Cook and Noah Wezensky have made plays at times, but not enough to instill a lot of confidence in either one leading Bishop Luers to another state championship.

The Pig has thought for weeks that a Wildcat or read option style offense with Michael Rogers or Jaylon Smith would be a perfect change of pace, even if used in small doses. While the Knights' defense is stout, there is going to be a game or two in the postseason in which the offense needs to carry the load.

Changing an entire offense mid-season is next to impossible, but The Pig could see Bishop Luers giving opponents some different looks offensively in the weeks to come.

This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email The Pig at nssports@news-sentinel.com.