If there was one question The Pig got most this preseason between trips down the mud slide, it was if Bishop Dwenger was going to be “back” this season.
That question was answered in the Saints' 24-14 victory over South Side on Friday night.
The answer is a resounding “Yes … maybe.”
Sure, there were many impressive things exhibited by Bishop Dwenger in the victory, including Mike Fiacable's dual-threat prowess in which he put up 283 total yards.
And for the record, The Pig from this point forward will never refer to Fiacable's ACL injury of last season again, to his relief and likely that of his coaches and family members.
But there are also lingering questions for the Saints, as there are for every team after the first Friday of regular-season football.
Is this a Class 4A state championship contending team? No one can answer that this early, and if they say they can, they are lying.
Are the pieces there? Yes, and they were on display against South Side
We knew the Saints were deep at the skill positions, and they showed it with five different players notching 30 or more yards receiving. Oft-overlooked Gabriel Espinoza had four catches for 90 yards, including a huge 50-yarder.
Ryan Watercutter at split end is the matchup nightmare every team in the SAC is worried about. Despite being defended by South Side senior and Indiana verbal commit Donovan Clark the majority of the night, he still broke loose enough for 70 yards on seven receptions.
And don't forget the running backs, with Ryan Cinadr and Tyler Tippmann combining for 154 yards on the ground.
Yet what may have been the most impressive for the Saints on Friday was the defense, particularly the front seven. Clark is one of the most dynamic offensive threats in the state, and they only let him burn them once, which came on a 74-yard touchdown run midway through the opening quarter.
Otherwise, the Saints kept most everything between the hashes, with good penetration up front and solid pursuit. Some of that success was dictated by the fact that South Side struggles mightily with its passing game, but you have to give credit to the way Bishop Dwenger limited Clark for the majority of the night.
If you take away Clark's long touchdown run, he finished with just 65 yards on 21 carries, just over three yards per rush.
Broad generalizations after just one week of football are reserved for amateurs, and all you readers know The Pig is far smarter than that. Categorizing the Saints as an SAC contender or pretender because of what they did or didn't do against the Archers Friday is premature.
But the positive signs far outweigh the negatives after one game.
•When is New Haven senior Jordan Hogue going to get some love? Here is a kid looking to get some love on the recruiting circuit, and all the wide receiver does Friday is help the Bulldogs drop 61 on Heritage.
Not taking anything away from Clark at South Side, but Hogue gets the ball more in space, allowing him to use his superior athleticism to make people miss on a regular basis. The Pig would like to see Clark get that same opportunity more with the Archers.
•So what is the bigger storyline out of East Noble's 43-14 stomping of Northrop – the Knights' impressive victory or the Bruins laying an egg?
There is no doubt East Noble is going to compete for the NHC crown with a team that is loaded with offensive talent. Circle the Sept. 20 date with Carroll now.
Meanwhile, Northrop showed the same inability to slow down opponents as it did last year when the Bruins gave up 40 or more points in five of its 10 games. Losing Colin Brockhouse was huge for the offense, but defensively, what is the excuse?
Northrop has a chance to bounce back next week at Bishop Luers, a team that turned the ball over seven times against Snider.
•Carroll was expected to beat Goshen on Friday, but the way the Chargers rolled over the Redskins, area teams should take notice.
A test at Huntington North should give us a better indication of how good this Carroll team is on both sides of the ball. If the Chargers whip on the Vikings next week, The Pig will start gushing about more than just the Carroll duo of Drue and Justin Tranquill.