STEVE HANLON: This final exam might have some savvy

2013-09-20T21:30:00Z 2014-06-24T17:58:15Z STEVE HANLON: This final exam might have some savvySteve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
September 20, 2013 9:30 pm  • 

HOBART | At 8:01 p.m. Friday in Hobart, we moved into the second half of the 2013 prep football season.

Poof, there it goes.

Yes, conference championships are important and there will be much drama in the next month. But most folks are already thinking about November.

Beyond another Thanksgiving dinner at Denny's, what region team has a chance to get to Indianapolis?

My mid-term report card has two area teams with a legit shot — Andrean and Rensselaer. Period.

There are several others in the six classes that could make a deep run, but Andrean leads the pack, as the 59ers showed in their 28-14 win against the host Brickies.

A lightning strike knocked out the lights at Father Eckert Field so the game was moved to Hobart. All this chaos may have slowed Andrean down.

Too many penalties. Poor defense early. And too many penalties.

But in a not-so perfect game, just like those in November, Andrean beat a very good Hobart team.

Imagine what this team would look like on a night where everything goes right?

“I think we're better right now than we were last year at this time,” senior DB/WR Ramon Guerrero said. “I think we have more talent. We've progressed better. We fight better. I think that our savvy is better.”

Football? Savvy? In the same sentence?

When asked what he meant, the young man who had a 48-yard touchdown pass and an interception had to ask his coach, Phil Mason.

“Savvy is knowing what to do on the football field without me telling you what to do,” Mason said with a smile.

Last year Andrean was 3-2 and lost to Hobart in Week 5. But the 59ers went on a tear and got to the Class 2A semistate, where an unbeatable Fort Wayne Luers team awaited.

Both teams were moved up to Class 3A because of their success. Can this group of 59ers get to late November and have a chance to beat Luers this time?

Losing to Wheeler 12-7 two years ago in the sectional opener was a wake-up call that still stings. And as painful as that loss was, it has this very talented team with their heads on their shoulders.

“After what happened two years ago we take this one game at a time,” Guerrero said. “Our goal is to get to Indianapolis but we have to look at one game at a time and keep getting better.”

If you take Kirk Kennedy's Lowell teams off the table, the region's last football team to get to Indy was Andrean in 2004. That is a long drought.

There are similarities between the teams of 2013 and 2004. At quarterback you had Tommy Finn then. Now you have Matt DeSomer. Both are game-changing freaks.

Good defense and good line play are other similarities.

And winning an ugly game like this Hobart game is another positive. In November you're not beating people by 50.

“Any game helps us,' Mason said. “We're Andrean and we have a target on our back.”

The bulls-eye will not go away. Unless, of course, this team can make it south when it snows.

I believe they can — if they don't get Wheeler-ized.

“I want to have my Thanksgiving dinner in Indianapolis,” Guerrero said.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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