THE PIGSKIN PROPHET: Homestead refining its game while eyeing inevitable rematch with Snider

It’s all about the rematch for the Homestead Spartans.

Oh sure, they will say the “one game at a time thing”, but The Pigskin Prophet has been doing this long enough to see through the clichés.

Two weeks ago, Homestead failed its test against the Snider Panthers at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Spartans were unable to slow down an offense that put up 52 points on the scoreboard.

It was a disappointment.

Everything since has been aimed at one thing — getting ready for Round 2, which will likely come at some point in the four-team Class 6A Sectional 3.

Those preparations included Friday’s 58-24 demolition of host Carroll. The final margin of victory was not indicative of how lopsided the game truly was, with the Chargers putting up 14 points late in the game against the Homestead reserves.

Friday’s win, coupled with a blowout of North Side last week, has gotten Homestead back on track as it works through the deficiencies revealed in Indy against Snider.

“We just had some little tweaks we needed to do,” said senior Tico Brown.

The tweaks have worked, at least against competition that is not as elite as the Panthers. Friday’s game was dominated by a smothering defense and the typical brilliance of quarterback Jiya Wright. Some position changes on the defensive front and greater confidence from the linebackers at filling the gaps has helped the run defense considerably.

Wright accumulated over 100 total yards in the first quarter as Homestead led 10-0 through the first 12 minutes. The Spartans took a 30-7 advantage into the break.

The second half didn’t much matter to The Pig, he had seen enough.

This swine is not yet convinced that Homestead CAN beat Snider if the Panthers are playing their best. But as Northrop showed on Friday in battling Snider for three-plus quarters, even the second-ranked team in Class 6A can have an off night.

One thing that won’t be an issue for the Spartans in ‘Snider, Round 2′ is a lack of confidence in their abilities and in knowing what must be done differently. Running back Christian Covington was a monster against Homestead in Indianapolis, amassing over 200 yards rushing on 30 carries. Carroll (4-3) rushed for 127 yards on Friday, but nearly half of that came in the fourth quarter with the Spartans’ starters on the bench.

Junior Cam Shannon not only returned a pair of kickoffs for touchdowns against the Chargers, but also sees significant time on defense, a unit that was torched by Snider for 329 rushing yards two weeks ago.

“We got to stop the run game, that was the main problem…they just ran it down our throats,” said Shannon. “Defensively, we have to stop Christian Covington. we need to prepare for him.”

With Wayne and South Side remaining on the schedule, Homestead (6-1) will continue to sharpen the spear aimed at toppling the Panthers.

The Spartans don’t have to wait long to find out when they will get that chance. The sectional draw is scheduled for Sunday at noon.

“We know we are going to see (Snider) again,” Shannon said. “We are preparing ourselves mentally and physically to beat them.”

This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email The Pigskin Prophet at nssports@news-sentinel.com.

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