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COLUMN

Hogue, New Haven defense swing momentum in NHC clash

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

Bulldogs defense proves to be the difference in tight battle

Saturday, September 14, 2013 - 3:34 am

The Pig does not like to brag, even though he is right a lot more often than he is wrong.

But Friday's thriller that saw New Haven defeat Carroll 41-35 fit the modus operandi that this intelligent swine predicted earlier in the week.

Sure, both the Bulldogs and Chargers piled up the points and the yardage, accounting for close to 1,000 yards of total offense between the two.

But as Justin and Drue Tranquill ran wild for Carroll and Ariest Vasquez and the New Haven running game did its thing, The Pig still felt like big defensive plays, or lack thereof, would be the difference.

Enter Jordan Hogue. The dynamic senior playmaker accounted for just 18 total yards offensive for the entire game. This was a guy that had 18 total pass receptions over the course of the first three weeks, let alone the yards that went with them.

But what he didn't do offensively, he made up for in special teams and defense.

His 75-yard touchdown return on a punt early in the fourth quarter that he caught in the midst of almost a half-dozen Carroll defenders right in front of him proved to be the game-winning points.

His two interceptions inside the red zone of Carroll quarterback Chandler Boggs killed a pair of Chargers drives, which the way the offenses were moving the ball may have killed any chance the Bulldogs had of earning the victory.

Great players find ways to impact a game, even when their primary strengths are negated, in this case the Tranquill brothers playing lockdown coverage on Hogue throughout the game.

Instead, Hogue puts himself in a position to do what he does best, take over football games. He just did it on Friday night in a way that was different than what we had seen so far in the 2012 campaign.

Bacon bits

* New Haven made the Carroll defense look like a sieve with its running game, consistently pounding the ball with Ariest Vasquez, D'Andre Smith and Hayden Graham. Altogether, the Bulldogs rushed for 289 yards and averaged over 5.8 yards per carry.

While the Chargers definitely made it tough to run outside the hashes, New Haven went smashmouth, running the ball up the gut and torching the Carroll defensive front.

* Carroll got the ball back with a chance to win the game with 1:49 remaining in regulation, but failed to get close to winning the game for several reasons.

First, the Chargers were throwing away from Hogue, who had already picked off Boggs twice on potential scoring drives. The senior DB effectively shut down the part of the field where he was defending, forcing Carroll to other options.

The primary option for Boggs on the final drive was Kyle Mallers, which was both good and bad. The 6-foot-6 sophomore wide receiver is a big target literally and figuratively for Boggs, and he went to him liberally early in the drive.

But after a sack that put Carroll in third-and-long, Boggs went to Mallers twice in a row. The first got the Chargers into a manageable fourth down, but with Hogue roaming the middle of the field, Boggs again tried to go to Mallers on the sideline with less than 30 seconds left, but missed him as Carroll turned it over on downs.

Third, the defensive front four of New Haven was able to get consistent pressure on Boggs on the drive. The Bulldogs registered a sack, but also made Boggs hurry his throws and force him to throw some passes without proper footwork due to the pressure. Being able to get a push up front while dropping seven into coverage was huge for New Haven on the final drive.

* People will say a lot about Snider's 38-0 spanking at the hands of Class 6A No. 3 Penn on Friday night. In fact, it was the biggest whipping the Panthers have received in over 20 years.

But let us not lose sight of the facts. The Panthers were overrated at No. 1 in Class 5A due to the plethora of new faces in the lineup. The Pig knew Friday was going to be gut check time for Snider as he knew it was going to be a rough night at Penn.

Now, that said, The Pig still believes the Panthers are still head and shoulders above anyone else in the SAC. Coach Kurt Tippmann is going to use the loss to the Kingsmen as a tool for teaching and motivation, and Snider is going to be better for it.

It is obvious Snider has a long way to go before it can start thinking about a return to the Class 5A championship game, but a defeat to the best team in the North does not all of a sudden mean that the Panthers are still not one of, if not the best, team in Northeast Indiana.

* Bishop Dwenger is 4-0 for the first time since 2010, and is perfectly fine with people continuing to doubt them.

This is what The Pig loves about the Saints, he does not see Bishop Dwenger fans or players talking about disrespect on Twitter or how the team is going to do this or that come Friday night.

The Pig sees Bishop Dwenger players tweeting about the team, about good preparation and good attitudes heading into the next week.

Twitter is an interesting world when dealing with athletes, and some make sure everyone knows when things are going good. By reading social media, you wouldn't know if Bishop Dwenger was 4-0 right now or 0-4.

And that's classy…just like The Pig.

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.