Apart from the festival of food and football that is Thanksgiving, no time of the year gets The Pig riled up more than the first few weeks of the postseason. The letdowns of the regular season are wiped clear.
Everyone has a chance to succeed, from the No. 1 team in a class to a winless squad.
While more often than not, Cinderella stories exist only in our minds, there are the rare exceptions. Could we have one this postseason? We shall see. Let's get to the questions for the opening week of sectional play.
Five things we will learn this weekend:
1. Donovan Clark vs. Jordan Hogue.
In terms of one-on-one matchups, it does not get much better locally than the defensive back Clark against the wide receiver Hogue. Both are capable of taking over a game with their athletic ability, and you can be sure Clark will blanket the 5-foot-11 speedster Hogue on nearly every play Friday when South Side takes on New Haven in sectional action.
The problem for the Archers is, even if Clark is able to limit Hogue the Bulldogs have plenty of other playmakers. Running back Ariest Vasquez has quietly been one of the best at his position this year, notching four touchdowns a week ago.
While all eyes will be on the Indiana commit Clark taking on Hogue, this game will be won or lost based on how South Side matches up at other positions.
2. Can Carroll make it two straight against Homestead?
With the way the Chargers have been putting up points the last month (averaging 60 points the last four games), it is tough to even consider the Spartans in an upset Friday night.
It was not very long ago that Homestead dominated this series, with Carroll winning for the first time since 2003 just a few weeks ago. But the Spartans' problem during the team's current three-game losing skid is defense, and with Drue and Justin Tranquill carving up opposing defenses, that does not bode well for Friday.
3. Will Bishop Luers break into the win column?
The Pig continues to bring this topic up – to some people's chagrin – because it is one that is being talked about week after week. At 0-9, the Knights still are looking for their first victory of 2013.
It should come Friday against a West Noble team that, while it has three victories, simply does not have the talent to match up against Bishop Luers, particularly at the skill positions.
Friday will tell us a lot about the Bishop Luers program. If the Knights come out and dominate, we will know that the players stayed with the program and have not mentally checked out.
If Bishop Luers struggles or even loses, that will not be a good sign going forward.
4. Can Bishop Dwenger avoid a hiccup on the road?
The Pig honestly believes the Saints have a great chance at advancing to state finals out of Class 4A, but first they need to survive a murderous sectional.
Actually, first off Bishop Dwenger needs to survive a trip to 7-2 Northridge on Friday.
The Raiders are no slouches, with their two defeats coming to two-loss teams Plymouth and Concord. Northridge plays a big-school schedule in the Northern Lakes Conference, so you cannot use the excuse that the Raiders have a “soft” 7-2 record.
Bishop Dwenger is ready to exorcise some demons of the past two years that have resulted in “only” one sectional championship. The three-game losing streak in the second half of the season only made the Saints stronger in The Pig's opinion.
Sure, Leo and East Noble are threats in Sectional 19, but this swine is leaning toward Bishop Dwenger playing well into November.
5. Can Concordia Lutheran keep it rolling?
The Pig will admit it, there has not been one time this season where he thought of the Cadets as sectional favorites.
But after it shocked then-No. 4 Brebeuf Jesuit last week, The Pig is on board, ready to crown Concordia Lutheran his favorite in Sectional 27.
The Pig is sure coach Tim Mannigel will offer thanks for putting such lofty expectations on his program entering a rematch at Lakeland on Friday, but better good expectations than no expectations, correct?
David Morrison is the pulse of this team at quarterback, but the defense has been exceptional all year, allowing just 17 points per game. That is second only to Wayne in the SAC this year.
That defense could carry Concordia to its first sectional crown in six years.