I wouldn't go handing out the CIC trophy just yet.
Much being read into 2 games against Marion and Pendleton Heights here. Here's my two cents.
I was at the Marion-Eastbrook game. To me, Marion looked like they are every bit of a top-five 4A squad. I knew this would be a tough game for Eastbrook given the turnover they experienced from last season's state finalist squad but I was fairly impressed with how they held up given the circumstances. They could go back to the 2A state championship game this year and not see any team with the amount of speed they saw at Marion. Yet they hung in throughout the first half, and rallied a bit late in the game after a couple of big defensive breakdowns had given Marion control of the game. One thing that impressed me was that they played the whole game without having a penalty enforced against them (only one called that ended up being declined if memory serves). Coming into the game with so many players participating in their first varsity start against a top team in a larger class, I figured I would see laundry early and often all over the field. That was not the case. Eastbrook did struggle with Marion's speed on both sides of the ball. On offense, the Panthers were able to move the ball on the ground but could not break away for a big play all night. Their running game seemed to get a few yards a carry but there weren't any big runs of the 20+ yard variety, or perhaps even of the 10+ yard variety. There were a couple of pass plays that were open and they just missed which could've changed the game if they had been able to hit them. On defense, Eastbrook competed well most of the game but you have to give Marion credit. They are very tough to defend. Eastbrook started some young linebackers who found themselves out of position on a couple of plays that ended up as long Marion touchdowns. Those plays are learning experiences for young players. In another game, they probably cost them first downs instead of touchdowns. Marion had the speed to exploit those to their fullest. Either way, if the linebackers learn from those plays, and I'm betting it's been pointed out to them in the film room, that makes them a better team the rest of the season.
As for the Pendleton Heights game, I did not get the benefit of seeing it. However, I do have family in that school and they told me that Pendleton lost most of their top players from last season and did not figure they would be very good this season. They were fairly surprised the first game was as close as it was. I'm familiar with Coach Richman and I'm sure he'll get the most out of what he has but it doesn't look like a squad that is going to finish anywhere near the top 10 in their class. That said, a win is a win and the Indians beat the first team on their schedule. It's the first data-point of the season and we'll see more about what it means as the season progresses. They are certainly big up front and should be very difficult for anyone to slow down on the ground but if they run into a team that can physically match them at the line of scrimmage or enough speed to get to the ball and gang tackle at the line of scrimmage, it could make things pretty interesting.
Still a few weeks away from these two meeting on the field. I think Eastbrook learns alot about itself this week against Delta. Mississinewa looks to have an easy task on hand with a down New Haven program.