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Prep football: 5 things we'll learn Friday

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

Conference titles still up for grabs

Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 7:11 am

Before we look too far ahead at first-round playoff games and potential matchups down the road, we have plenty to pay attention to in Week 9.

Amazingly, the SAC, NHC and ACAC all enter the final week with various amounts of intrigue regarding their championship races.

Who can secure a title? Who will enter the postseason on a good note? Can struggling teams get a boost entering the playoffs?

All questions we will answer in Week 9.

Five things we will learn this weekend:

1. Who wins the SAC?

The Pig is sure that at least some of the North Side players have had thoughts about what the SAC Victory Bell will look like draped in red and white paint. But the Redskins have not secured their first league championship since 1991 yet, with a date against Northrop on Friday.

North Side and Northrop have met in the regular-season finale every year dating back to 2004. While the Redskins now hold an eight-game winning streak over the Bruins, Northrop has been able to put up points in the rivalry recently, averaging more than 24 points per game over the last four games between the two.

The scenarios are numerous.

For North Side, it is simple: Beat Northrop and win the championship outright with a 6-1 league record.

A Redskins loss coupled with a Snider victory over Wayne and the Panthers win the title with a 6-1 league record.

Losses by North Side and Snider, coupled with a Bishop Dwenger win, would make it a four-way tie atop the SAC with four teams, including Wayne, sporting 5-2 league marks. In that scenario, the SAC Victory Bell would rotate among the four schools throughout next season.

If the latter scenario takes place but with a Bishop Dwenger loss to Bishop Luers, that would result in a three-way tie. The bell would still rotate next year among the three schools tied for the title.

Get all that? The Pig's head hurts.

2. Who wins the NHC?

Everyone (including The Pig) had the NHC championship all wrapped up nicely for New Haven. The Bulldogs decided to make it interesting by losing to East Noble last week.

The good thing for New Haven is that it has clinched at least a share of the NHC crown, its first ever. But Carroll and East Noble have a chance to tie the Bulldogs for the title if Homestead can knock off the Bulldogs on Friday night.

New Haven has lost nine consecutive games to the Spartans, including the last two season finales when the Bulldogs could have earned a share of the NHC championship.

Nothing will be more fulfilling to New Haven than to beat Homestead and claim the title for itself.

3. Who wins the ACAC?

Leo simply needs to knock off host Bluffton on Friday night to win the league outright.

Heritage is the only other ACAC squad in position to win a share of the championship. A Patriots victory over Garrett coupled with a Leo defeat will give Heritage its second straight league title.

The Lions have already clinched at least a share of their fifth consecutive ACAC championship and have to be considered the favorite to win the league outright.

Leo has won the last seven in the series against Bluffton, including the last four by an average of 41 points.

4. Will Bishop Luers end its regular season winless?

No one is expecting the Knights to even be competitive against their Catholic brethren Bishop Dwenger on Friday night.

The Pig says be careful for overlooking the game entirely, although he does see the Saints as a significant favorite heading in.

There is no shortage of talent at the skill positions for the Knights; the issue has been consistent play along the line of scrimmage. Rivalry weeks have a tendency to bring added focus and determination to practice and Friday nights, so it would not surprise The Pig if Bishop Luers played its best game of the season against the Saints.

It may not be enough to beat Bishop Dwenger, but then again, who saw the Knights being 0-8 at this point in the season?

5. Will Concordia Lutheran continue its win streak?

The Cadets are rolling right now, with three straight victories to go along with a 5-3 record. But with all due respect to Bishop Luers, Northrop and Lakeland, Friday's opponent is at another level from those three teams this season.

Concordia Lutheran heads to Class 3A No. 4 Brebeuf Jesuit for what will truly be a barometer game for the Cadets. A win or even a close defeat could work wonders for coach Tim Mannigel's program entering the playoffs and beyond.

Do not forget that Concordia is a senior-laden team. Continuing this year's momentum into next season and beyond is paramount.

A win over Brebeuf in Week 9 would be a good rallying call in the school hallways in the offseason to keep interest growing in the program.