All right folks, it is time to get serious.
Whether it is regional week in Class 6A or sectional championship week in all other classes, the fact is that we are moving into the height of the postseason. The games start to get closer, mistakes are magnified and perhaps the biggest thing, The Pig continues to sulk because he cannot be in multiple places at once Friday night.
Let's take a look at Week 12.
1. Will North Side make (more) history Friday?
The Redskins added some hardware this season when they captured the SAC Victory Bell for the first time since 1991. Now, they are looking to add some more with a sectional championship on the line against Snider on Friday at Chambers Field. North Side has not earned a sectional trophy since 1990, also the last time the Redskins defeated the Panthers in the postseason.
History is surely on the side of the Panthers heading in, but in the end it comes down to this year's teams. As were most other squads this season, Snider was torched by Michael LoVett in North Side's 27-13 victory in September, with the junior quarterback nearly 400 yards of total offense, including more than 300 yards passing and three touchdowns.
The key to this game is how well the Panthers can defend LoVett, not allowing him to run behind the line of scrimmage for long periods of time to extend plays. The Pig believes coach Kurt Tippmann and his staff will have some different looks for LoVett and North Side.
2. Can the Tranquills do it all?
Anyone who has seen senior Drue Tranquill and junior Justin Tranquill has witnessed pure domination the majority of the time this season. The Tranquills will likely be contained somewhat in Friday's home showdown with powerhouse Carmel in Class 6 regional play, but that does not mean the Chargers cannot win.
Make no mistake; a lot of things have to go Carroll's way to pull the upset against the Greyhounds. But it is not out of the realm of possibility. For this to happen, The Pig believes some other players have to make plays on both sides of the ball for Carroll to have a shot. Maybe the Chargers can catch Carmel off guard early after the long bus ride and get a quick score or two, then force the Greyhounds into a slugfest.
Either way, The Pig sees the Tranquills still getting their stats, but Carroll has reached a point in the playoffs where balance is key to success.
3. Will the turf affect East Noble or Bishop Dwenger more?
Much has been made this week about the Class 4A sectional championship game between East Noble and Bishop Dwenger being moved to the turf of Bishop D'Arcy Stadium at Saint Francis. Some think since the Knights have turf at home, that gives them the advantage, especially with players such as Grey Fox on the outside and Brandon Mable in the backfield.
But Bishop Dwenger has its own playmakers, led by underrated quarterback Mike Fiacable. And take into consideration that the Saints have played on the Saint Francis turf already this year in a scrimmage against Bishop Luers. It is widely known that the turf at Saint Francis is in need of replacement and it may not have the same grip as at East Noble. Familiarity may be key, and the Saints hold that familiarity, at least heading into pregame warmups.
4. Can Norwell pull another shocker?
The Knights' current six-game winning streak after an 0-5 start is mind-boggling, although to be honest, apart from East Noble, the winning streak has not included teams considered anywhere near Murderers' Row.
However, no one can discount the abilities of Piercen Harnish. The two-way stud has accounted for more than 2,500 yards total offense between passing and rushing to go along with 32 total touchdowns. He also has a team-high 74 tackles to go with 3.5 sacks, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.
Put simply, he is one of the best two-way players in the area.
New Haven still remembers being upset by Norwell in the postseason a year ago and is surely ready to deliver some revenge. Bulldogs running back Ariest Vasquez has been nearly unstoppable lately and did not play in New Haven's 28-7 win over the Knights earlier this year.
5. Can Woodlan continue to win?
For the first time since 2003, Woodlan is in the sectional championship game. Interestingly enough, the opponent for the sectional crown that year was none other than current Warriors coach Sherwood Haydock, who was coaching the Harding Hawks.
There is no doubt that Friday's game against Bremen is going to be a tough one for Woodlan, but running back Jaylin Bennett has not been slowed by too many teams. Even if he is, the Warriors have a weapon that is underappreciated by many in receiver Greg White.
Woodlan is a better team in The Pig's mind than Churubusco, and Bremen beat the Eagles by seven. The Pig likes the Warriors.