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Unbeatens to clash in sectional opener

Homestead draws perennial nemesis to open tourney

Monday, October 8, 2012 - 12:01 am

Arguably the two best prep football teams in the area will not have to wait long to meet in the postseason.

Class 5A No. 3 Snider will host eighth-ranked Homestead in a battle of unbeatens in the opening round of the sectional playoffs in Class 5A Sectional 3, the marquee area matchup to begin the 40th Annual IHSAA Football State Tournament.

The draw was held Sunday night in Indianapolis.

In the same sectional, Northrop is set to host North Side, creating a scheduling conflict at Spuller Stadium for Oct. 19. The date and time for Snider-Homestead and Northrop-North Side will be set early this week.

“I think if we had our choices, the two 8-0 teams would be at the opposite ends of the bracket,” Snider coach Kurt Tippmann said. “But we do not control that. We scrimmage Homestead and have tremendous respect for them.”

The top 10 showdown is the only first round sectional game in the state pitting two current undefeated teams against one another. The Spartans are still looking for that elusive sectional crown, something Homestead has not won since 2006.

Meanwhile, Snider is seeking its sixth consecutive sectional championship.

“Snider has been king of the sectional for quite some time, so we need to play our best,” Homestead coach Chad Zolman said.

Both teams feature offenses that score at over 38 points per game. The key will likely be the defensive play. The Panthers have proven they can slow down high-powered offenses in victories over Penn (38 ppg) and North Side (34 ppg), holding the two to a combined 26 points.

But the Spartans will be just as big of a challenge.

“We have not studied (Homestead) much at all, but we do know that (graduated quarterback) Zach Terrell is gone, and that's always good,” Tippmann said. “But they are very productive at what they do and we will need to get to work after this week's game (against Wayne).”

While comparisons between the two teams will be made for the next two weeks, not much can be garnered from examining the teams' schedules. The teams have not had any common opponents.

The rest of the Sectional 3 schedule includes a pair of two-loss teams in North Side and Kokomo, both threats to surprise.

Tippmann was not ready to crown the winner of the Snider-Homestead matchup as sectional champ.

“Having played North Side and Northrop this year and Kokomo the last couple years, we know the talent in our sectional,” Tippmann said. “It doesn't matter who we play first, we are going to play football for three straight weeks.”