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COLUMN

Snider-Dwenger battle was instant classic

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For more on prep football, follow The News-Sentinel.com crew via Twitter at www.twitter.com/ThePig_ns.

Storied programs give fans their money's worth

Saturday, October 12, 2013 - 1:46 am

If Friday's instant classic showdown between Snider and Bishop Dwenger was played 20 years ago, The Pig would open this column comparing it to a heavyweight title fight in boxing.

But no one cares about boxing anymore, so that analogy just doesn't fit in 2013.

Instead, The Pig will go about describing Snider's 38-35 win over the Saints exactly what it was, two storied programs trading hits, barbs and scores to the very end in a game that will go down as one of the best in the area this season.

When junior placekicker Shane Leonard calmly booted a line-drive 31-yard field goal with 16 seconds left to give the Panthers their eventual game-winning points, it was the perfect culmination of a pair of powerhouses leaving it all on the field.

Neither team backed down. Class 5A No. 7 Snider did not blink when Bishop Dwenger quarterback Mike Fiacable hit senior Gus Schrader for a 56-yard touchdown 16 seconds into the game.

The Saints did not falter when Snider's Reggie Bates picked off Fiacable late in the third quarter and returned the interception 95 yards for a touchdown to give the Panthers a 35-21 lead.

Bishop Dwenger responded with 14 straight points to tie the game up.

Each team had plenty to be proud of on Friday. Fiacable continued to show that he is one of the more underrated signal callers in the area.

While North Side's Michael Lovett and Concordia Lutheran's David Morrison get plenty of publicity, Fiacable continues to show he is not far behind in talent. He threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns against Snider and added 86 yards and two more scores on the ground.

Class 4A No. 10 Bishop Dwenger's defense, torched by Cathedral for 47 points a week ago, bottled up Snider's rushing attack for the majority of the game. Only Jibri Bramley's determined running after contact overcame the Saints' swarming defensive front, with the senior finishing with 110 yards and three touchdowns on the ground for the Panthers.

As for the Snider defense that was much maligned in losses to Penn and North Side, it showed up with big play after big play. From Bates' interception return to five sacks of Fiacable and the attentiveness to be ready for a last-ditch hook-and-ladder play by the Saints as time expired that was blown up before it could really be a threat.

This game was classic Snider-Bishop Dwenger, two programs that have the talent to go deep into the postseason if everything comes together.

Many have complained about the SAC being down this year compared to most seasons. But The Pig can say with certainty that no one left Spuller Stadium Friday night with any complaints on how two titans of the area performed under the lights.

Bacon bits

* The accolades continue to pile up for Class 5A No. 11 Wayne, which improved to 6-2 on the season with Friday's shutout victory over Northrop.

The Generals have now won four straight games for the first time since 2009, but have a chance to break further into the record books next week.

If Coach Robert Brown's team can knock off Snider in the season finale, Wayne will have beaten Bishop Dwenger, Bishop Luers and Snider all in the same season.

The last time a team did that was 2003, when Harding did it while going 8-1 in the SAC and advancing to the Class 2A State Championship, where the Hawks lost to Tri-West, 41-36.

Looking into it more, the last time a program that is still in existence beat the trio of SAC powers all in the same year was the 1991 Wayne Generals.

* Is anybody safe in the NHC? A week after New Haven wraps up at least a share of the league crown; the Bulldogs come out and lay an egg in a 30-6 rout at East Noble.

Not to take anything away from the Knights, who have been impressive at times this season, but The Pig has been singing New Haven's praises for a few weeks on how consistent the team had been all year.

That all went down the tubes on Friday, with another challenge next week with Homestead coming to town. The Bulldogs saw a hot start last year fall apart with losses in three of their final four games. Let's hope Friday was not the start of another repeat of that performance.

New Haven could be forced into a share of the conference with a loss to the Spartans next week.

Victories by Carroll and East Noble, coupled with a Bulldogs loss, would result in a three-way tie for the league title.

* The Pig finally starts to drink the Churubusco Kool-aid, then gets let down in a blowout home loss to Fairfield, 35-14.

Many still have the Eagles penciled in as the favorites in Class 2A Sectional 34, but depending on the draw and how teams are playing when they meet, The Pig may be inching towards selecting Woodlan to win its first sectional crown since 1988. The Warriors have won four of their last five, with the lone loss a 14-7 defeat to Leo.

Class 2A No. 3 Churubusco has the lofty ranking and the impressive 7-1 record, but the 5-3 Warriors may now be the team to beat in that bracket.

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.