Sectional Preview: Chargers Need Big Performance to Beat Snider

Joe Hacker, Sports Editor

How They Got Here: The Chargers have struggled recently after rolling through Snider and North Side in back to back weeks early in the season, with the Chargers only other win coming against South Side. Meanwhile, the Panthers have been the near opposite of the Chargers, only losing once since their loss to Carroll, a 21-7 loss to Wayne, but was highlighted by defeating the then unbeaten Dwenger 21-13 in Week Eight, giving them an outside shot at still retaining the Victory Bell had Dwenger lost to Northrop in Week Nine.

Carroll’s Keys to the Game:

  • Limit Turnovers: What’s cost the Chargers the most in big games is not the defense, but interceptions. When the Chargers played Dwenger, in a game they played well for most of the matchup, the team was killed by three red zone interceptions. When they played Concordia a few weeks later, the same issues plagued the team with three interceptions, however the difference was those weren’t all in the red zone. If the Chargers are going to have success they will have to have better control of the ball on offense and with Ethan Hoover back in for Snider this time they will have to be all the more careful with the ball.
  • Shutdown Anyis Lockett: The Snider offense is reliant upon Lockett for success as he averages 109.2 yards per game on the ground, more than the 97.6 yards that Quarterback James Barnes Jr. averages a game. When these teams played early in the season, Lockett only carried the ball seven times for 21 total yards, his lowest output of the season by a mile. If the defense can put on a similar performance against Lockett, there is a significantly higher chance the Chargers could win the game.

Critical Matchup: 

  • Gaven Vogt vs Snider Defense: This one should come as no surprise. When the teams met in Week Two, the Snider defense looked a lot different, primarily because of Ethan Hoover’s absence, and the Carroll offense looked a lot better than it has lately. As the leader of the offense Vogt will have to carry a huge load on Friday. Back when the offense was rolling, it was mostly because of Vogt. His scrambling was second to none early in the season and he threw the ball with great effectiveness, not to mention that Rhett Saylor played a huge role in the offense against Snider, something the team has gotten back to as of late. Now that Ethan Hoover is back in the picture, Vogt’s ability to pick up yards on the run and his accuracy down field will be critical to the teams success. If the Chargers can get a similar effort out of the offense to what they did in Week Two the team should have a good shot at winning this game.

Prediction: At the start of this writing, I was dead set on the Chargers getting beat pretty handedly. Now as I finish this writing, my prediction is changing. While I still think the Chargers season will end this week, this game could be closer than I thought and could come down to the wire. Why? Because looking at Snider’s offense, there still isn’t much there as the Panthers really only have two targets, Lockett and Alonzo Derrick, and I am a believer in the Charger defense’s ability to slow those two down. I also have faith in the offense returning to form. Despite some of their recent woes, the offense has not been far off of where they need to be and if they can get it back on the right track they could be in for a big game Friday. However, all of that probably won’t still be enough to derail the hot-handed Panthers. Snider by 14.