Could it be another East Noble shoot-out? The potential is there.
Two 9-1 teams will meet Friday night in the semifinal round of class 4A sectional 11 when No. 8 Columbia City travels to Angola.
Each touts a highly productive passing offense led by a senior quarterback.
Coming out ahead in a 56-55 offensive marathon at East Noble earlier in the season, Columbia City quarterback Logan Rehrer and the Eagles relish the chance for a repeat.
When asked if this match-up has the same feel as the East Noble game, Rehrer noted “a little bit.”
“I think our team likes that type of atmosphere,” Rehrer stated. “You have a lot more pressure and we’re used to those situation so I think that holds in our advantage. We’ve had a lot of games where we’ve had to step up in big situations.”
Both teams have state-caliber QBs under center.
While Rehrer has put up record numbers at Columbia City and ranking 13th in the state with 23 touchdowns and 2,091 passing yards, Angola senior Alexx Bauer mirrors that performance with the sixth most touchdowns in the state at 29 and a top 20 passing total of 2,018.
The same can be said for both in many other ways. Each QB is in his third season as starter for his team with both throwing for a 54 percent completion rate.
“We’re playing some talented players,” Columbia City head coach Randy Hudgins said. “They have guys that are going to get the yards and going to make big plays. Our key is going to be keeping them out of the end zone, putting pressure on the quarterback and forcing him to make mistakes.”
A game between to talented passing offenses might come down to the running game.
In the past five weeks, the Columbia City offensive line has opened the gates for junior Cody Wildman and Rehrer to find alternate routes to the end zone.
Wildman has been a second weapon to an otherwise pure passing offense rushing for at least 100 yards in his last five games.
“The last few weeks people have really emphasized stopping the passing game,” Hudgins noted. “The run game has been open for us and we’ve wanted to exploit that.”
Angola’s top rusher happens to be their QB as well. Bauer a team-high 107 carries for 555 yards.
However, as in most offensive statistics, the Eagles and Hornets look to be evenly matched with both averaging over 33 points per game (Columbia City 33.6, Angola 39.6).
Ultimately, the deciding factor could be on the other side of the ball in defensive play.
Despite all the talk of two highly productive offenses, Columbia City is looking to make it a one-sided affair.
“It has the potential,” Hudgins admitted of a possible shoot-out. “We’re working on making it a one-sided shoot-out. In the playoffs you just try to win and move on to the next week. What ever it will take, we’ll figure out a way.”
Columbia City bolsters a defense that has come through in tight games allowing 20 points per game and a secondary that includes sophomore Jared Murphy who ranks third in the state with his eight interceptions on the season.
Meanwhile, Angola has surrendered only 20 points or more in two games this season with an average of 15.7 points per game allowed.
The Hornets have forced 29 sacks and 18 turnovers against opponents.
While Columbia City has a 28-31 loss to Homestead as its only shortfall for the season, a loss to Churubusco stands as Angola’s only blemish on the season.
The Hornets were held to a season-low seven points in the contest while surrendering their most points to ’Busco with 35 points.
Just 10 minutes away from Columbia City, the question was asked if fellow county teams talk in the midst of the playoffs.
“Nothing yet,” Hudgins said Monday of any conversations with Churubusco head coach Lee Etzler. “Although, he and I communicate by e-mail, congratulating each other at the end of the regular season.”