The key to Friday's key Snider-North Side clash was no secret to many at Spuller Stadium.
It was Redskins quarterback Michael Lovett.
For the Panthers, everything centered on containing the junior signalcaller that entering Friday had already accounted for nearly 1,000 yards of total offense over five games, including 17 touchdowns.
Limit Lovett would equal a Snider victory.
But The Pig believes that the Panthers' defenders are still trying to regain their equilibrium from chasing Lovett around the field for four quarters in North Side's 27-13 victory over the Panthers.
The Pig should know, because he is still attempting to calm his rods and cones after watching the 6-foot-1, 165-pound Lovett account for 365 yards in the win.
Made famous by the illustrious Patches O'Houlihan in the movie “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story”, Lovett utilized the five D's of dodgeball to completely befuddle and torment the attacking Snider defense – dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge.
Yes, The Pig knows that's only four, just go watch the movie…
The Panthers (4-2) brought the heat all night, up the middle and around the edges in an attempt to limit the electric Lovett. For the most part, Snider bottled him up in terms of rushing; limiting him to 65 yards on 15 carries.
But what was so astounding with Lovett's play was his ability to buy time in the pocket.
He ran right to buy a few more seconds while looking downfield.
He ran backwards while attempting to escape pressure.
He would run left and throw across his body for a first down.
He did all of this while keeping his eyes downfield – a must for a good quarterback – while zipping throws to receivers with accuracy and precision.
Lovett had coaches and fans of both teams shaking their heads Friday night.
On a North Side touchdown in the first half, Lovett was pushed from the pocket to the left with a Snider defender hot on his heels. Throwing across his body, Lovett launched a perfect fade right out of the reach of a defensive back.
In the second half on a 3rd and long, Lovett felt the pressure up the middle and ran backwards…and kept running. Back 20 yards, to the left for 20 yards, then finally upfield for 15 and a first down.
“It was me being a defensive coordinator (Lovett) would give me fits),” North Side Coach Ryan Hall said. “He does a great job and is still young.”
Lovett finished Friday 20-of-33 for 298 yards passing, a pair of touchdowns and an interception. He added the 65 yards on the ground that included a couple huge first down runs in the fourth quarter that kept the ball out of Snider's hands.
Some football teams get lucky in terms of starting quarterbacks. Just ask the Indianapolis Colts, who went from a sure-fire Hall of Famer in Peyton Manning to an emerging superstar in Andrew Luck.
North Side appears on the same path, replacing all-conference QB C.J. Jackson with a junior that may already have surpassed the departed signalcaller in terms of all-around effectiveness.
* Northrop got back into the win column on Friday night with a 55-42 victory over winless Muncie South, but the Bruins came close to suffering a huge loss to the program earlier in the week.
Facing some family issues off the gridiron, fourth-year coach Tim Martone gave serious thought to stepping away from the program.
“It has been a very rough week and I considered it highly,” said Martone, who chose not to go into any detail regarding the issues at hand. “I left practice, sat for awhile by myself and realized I couldn't leave the kids.”
Martone and the Bruins (2-4) will host Concordia Lutheran (3-3) next Friday.
That is all The Pig can really say regarding the Wayne-Bishop Dwenger 45-6 final score.
Coach Robert Brown has taken his time and done all the right things in bringing back Wayne from the brink as a program. Friday was the culmination (up until now at least) of all that work and sacrifice he, his coaching staff and the players have put in.
When the Generals started the season 2-0 out of conference, Brown did not want to talk much about accomplishments. Proving his team could compete week in and week out in the SAC was paramount in his mind.
On Friday night, he not only competed with one of the best the SAC has to offer in the Saints, it thoroughly dominated them.
Now, with three teams (Snider, North Side, and Bishop Dwenger) sitting with one loss in the SAC and Wayne lurking with two, the final three weeks of the regular season should be entertaining.
* Coach Jeff Miller at Norwell has been around long enough to experience the highs and lows of coaching, from advancing to the state championship in 2006 to winning just five games from 2010-12.
So for The Pig to see Miller's team thoroughly trounce an East Noble squad on Friday that many considered to be one of the favorites in the NHC was great to see.
A close loss to Heritage in Week 2 and hanging tough for awhile with New Haven last week before losing by 21 had been the highlights to the season so far.
Now, the Knights have something to celebrate in 2013.
* With Leo departing the ACAC in the near future, the battle for football supremacy will get a lot more interesting. People better start paying attention to Woodlan, who destroyed Garrett by 43 on Friday, the first time in seven years that the Railroaders had been shut out in a regular season game.
The Warriors under former Harding coach Sherwood Haydock are more than just Jaylin Bennett, and will prove it in the coming years.
* Astounding stat of the night: The last time that Snider, Bishop Dwenger and Bishop Luers all lost in the same week of the regular season was Oct. 16, 1987.