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COLUMN

Panthers start slow, finish strong

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

Snider beats South Side 38-6

Saturday, August 31, 2013 - 10:22 am

Top-ranked Snider did not wait long to exhibit its Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde tendencies on Friday night against South Side in a 38-6 victory.

The Panthers defense came out flat and surrendered a quick Archers touchdown to fall down early.

It took merely seconds to rebound when senior Anthony Wilkes took the ensuing kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown.

The Class 5A No. 1-ranked Panthers followed that massive swing of momentum up with utter dominance, shutting down South Side's Donovan Clark, holding the Archers to four yards passing and altogether looking like a team that can compete for a Class 5A title.

Snider scored 24 points in just over eight minutes in the first quarter, turning what looked like a compelling matchup early into a snoozer by halftime.

But it is those spurts of Mr. Hyde that shows that the Panthers are far from the completed package of a year ago. Consistency is what is going to lead Snider deep into the postseason, which includes not sleepwalking through the first few minutes of a game like they did Friday night before Coach Kurt Tippmann and the coaching staff woke them up with a tongue-lashing.

Consider that South Side amassed 71 total yards on its first drive that culminated in Clark's four-yard touchdown run. After that drive, the Panthers only allowed 105 yards the remainder of the game.

After rushing for 32 yards on four carries on the first drive, Clark was held to 19 yards on 11 rushes over the final three-plus quarters against the swarming Panthers defense that closes to the ball faster than all but a few prep teams this swine has had the pleasure of witnessing.

Meanwhile, the offense was serviceable yet not overpowering. Again, just what you would expect from a squad still acclimating new personnel.

It is a mixture of inconsistency and potential dominance, and it is the state of Snider football heading into Week 3.

With a huge victory on Friday out of Northrop (more on the Fightin' Tim Martones later), next week's game against the Bruins is not a given for Snider, although after week 2, The Pig has the Panthers head and shoulders above anyone else in the SAC at the current time.

However, Week 4 at Class 6A nemesis Penn will be a big-time gut check for the Panthers.

Winning in August and September is important, and Snider will do a fair share of that even with inconsistency. But to attain the yearly goals the Panthers set for themselves, it will need a lot less of what happened in the opening minutes against South Side and more of what followed.

Bacon bits

- There is no doubt that The Pig is hip. So when he throws things out like 'The Lu' and ''Throp', he is connecting with the younger generation of Bishop Luers and Northrop students, respectively.

So, how 'bout the 'Throp over 'The Lu' on Friday night?

Sure, it doesn't have the feel of an epic victory to those knowing that the Knights are in rebuilding mode, but no one can take away the joy from Coach Tim Martone and Northrop Nation after the 14-13 overtime victory.

Consider that this team lost the best signal caller in the area to injury in the summer, then was punked by East Noble in Week 1, after which The Pig questioned the Bruins' defense.

Northrop rose to the occasion on Friday, winning its season opener for the first time since 2006 against a team that had knocked the Bruins off six straight times.

Can the Bruins put a scare into Snider next week? Since it is obvious The Pig's rants aimed at Northrop fired them up against Bishop Luers, he will try and continue the good mojo by saying, Panthers by 21.

- How about some love for the upper echelon of the NHC?

Four teams sit at 2-0 on the season in the league - Homestead, New Haven, East Noble and Carroll – and you can make a case for each of them on why they will win the conference.

We will begin to find out the answer to that question next week, with a big Homestead at East Noble contest set for Week 3.

In The Pig's mind the NHC may hold the most intrigue through the season as the conference race heats up.

Some people mistake “competitive” as meaning “balanced”. The SAC is “competitive” but it is not “balanced”. Snider is head and shoulders above the other seven teams right now. While any team can give them a game for a quarter or a half, The Pig will likely not pick against the Panthers in a league game this season and they should secure the bell again.

In the NHC, the top four teams are incredibly balanced and should trade wins and losses throughout the season as they play each other.

We are only two weeks into the season, but the NHC race is going to be a heckuva fight.

- Is this the year Churubusco finally gets some respect in the area? When the Eagles won regional titles in 2007 and 2010, not many people noticed with it being in Class A.

Once Churubusco moved up to 2A, it ran into Bishop Luers and was done in sectionals.

Now, with Bishop Luers up in 3A and 'Busco once again looking like an NECC juggernaut, could this be the year the Eagles make a deep run and make people take notice?

Class 2A No. 6 Churubusco destroyed Central Noble on Friday 42-6 and has outscored its first two opponents 98-6. Keep an eye on the Eagles, you may see them playing into November this season.

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.