By Dan Vance
They are the ones that you usually see fade back after a snap, look left and right, and then heave a bomb down field. The ones who make big plays by having seemingly no conscience in looking for even a semi-open receiver.
But last Friday night, the quarterbacks of Northeast Indiana changed it up a bit by wowing defenses and spectators alike by taking control of their teams' offense on the ground. Whether it be in a win or a loss, several area quarterbacks put up huge numbers on the ground.
"It is getting to a point where these quarterbacks are multipurpose and it really throws off your defensive scheme," Wayne coach Larry Getts said.
Norwell's Chandler Harnish lead the way with 179 yards, crossing the goal line twice in the Knights' route of East Noble to stay atop the Northeast Hoosier Conference. Harnish led the game in rushing yards, even outpacing teammate and NHC rushing leader Cole Hoopingarner, who had 139 yards on 13 carries.
Elsewhere in the NHC, Homestead quarterback Jordan Wise also led his team with 74 yards on 11 carries. Carroll senior Zach Taylor rushed for a moderate 60 yards, but scored three pivotal touchdowns as his team beat Bellmont for their first win of the season.
In the SAC, Kevin Merz ran only 33 yards on seven carries, but put in two of his team's four scores to keep Bishop Dwenger undefeated. At Concordia, usual quarterback Armando Bustamante stepped out of the signal caller role and back to running back for the week, compiling 122 yards on 28 rushes.
North Side's Taylor Howenstine led the area in rushing despite his team being defeated soundly by Snider. The sophomore quarterback ran for 185 yards on 13 carries and had the team's only offensive scores on runs of 89 and 35 yards.
Beau Schendel paced the Allen County Athletic Conference quarterbacks as he went for 89 yards on 16 carries and also scored twice. Schendel's longest touchdown came from 32 yards out to help his Garrett Railroaders top Woodlan.
"Players like Beau are changing the high school game a lot by being able to do so much," Woodlan coach Barry Ehle said.
Keeping it far from close in the SAC
In a week when even the premiere matchup was not close, the Summit Athletic Conference was home to a flurry of routes last Friday, starting at Spuller Stadium, where Snider took advantage of inexperienced North Side in wet weather to win, 42-19. Although recovering the majority of them, the Redskins fumbled all night long with two of them going to the Panthers, one for a touchdown.
It was the second Snider score in the first quarter, all before North Side had managed to get off a handful of snaps.
"You just can't spot a team like Snider 14 points and expect to stay in the game," North Side coach Casey Kolkman said.
Conference leaders Bishop Dwenger held strong in a game that saw their shutout streak snapped as they beat Wayne 28-7. The Generals lone score game on a Daniel Fitzpatrick eight-yard pass to Jahson Patterson with 57 second left in the fourth. The Saints had not given up a score since week one, beating their opponents by a combined 202-14 this year.
Elsewhere, Marquel Suel helped Harding as they contributed to the downward spiral of Northrop, 49-14. Suel had three receiving touchdowns and returned an interception 87 yards for a fourth score, all in the first half, as the Hawks routed the Bruins.
"He is a good one to have," Harding coach Sherwood Haydock said of Suel. "He is one of the best defensive players we have too. He's quick."
South Side improved to 4-2 toppling Elmhurst, 40-7, and Bishop Luers fell to Concordia, 27-10, on the strength of Armando Bustamante's run game. The 1-5 start for Luers matches their worst start in team history.
The big week for the SAC is two weeks away when Bishop Dwenger and Snider meet in a game that will likely determine the SAC champion. Also in that same week, longtime rivals North Side and South Side meet for their Totem Pole Trophy and third place in the conference.
The "0" Must Go Game
Around Fort Wayne, it is beginning to be referred to as "The 0 must Go" game. The yearly battle between SAC foes Elmhurst and Wayne will take place this Friday night with both teams sitting at 0-6 in the conference. A win Friday could be the only one for one of the teams this season.
The Trojans, under first-year head coach Trent Grider, have seen little daylight in their six losses this season
Grider is looking to mirror Wayne coach Larry Getts, who got the better of Elmhurst in last year's battle when he himself was a first-year head coach for the Generals.
After last season's contest ended 30-20, Getts exploded on the sidelines as if his team had won the Super Bowl. He himself knows how important that the game against Elmhurst is.
"The big thing that I have always told these kids is that there is never a game where something does not go wrong," Getts said. "You determine the outcome. You choose to win or you choose to lose."
The Trojans beat Wayne in 2003 and 2004 after six-consecutive losing seasons. After their last win over the Generals, Elmhurst has lost 19-straight games. Wayne themselves have lost eight-straight games after beating Elmhurst and shocking Northrop in back-to-back weeks last season.
Gutsy call opens Floodgate
Some may say it was too early Friday for Norwell to go for it on fourth-and-one. The second quarter had just begun in the Knights' game with perennial Northeast Hoosier Conference power East Noble.
But senior quarterback Chandler Harnish came up big, finding tight end Matt Terhune for the 15-yard score. Terhune even carried a Knight defensive back the last three yards into the end zone, sparking his team to a 56-15 win.
Harnish threw for 147 yards, ran for 179 more, and had four total touchdowns, splitting them between the air and ground game.
"He looked like some dad playing in the backyard with his kids. That is the way he made us look," East Noble coach Chris Depew said.
Northeast Indiana Player of the Week
Brent Bostic of Snider ran 38 times for 187 yards and three touchdowns against North Side. Bostic was given the ball early to counter the strong Redskin pass defense and did his job nicely, scoring more on his own than North Side did as a team.