Junior quarterback Derek Wanner leads the Starfires’ wing-T offense, throwing for 1,002 yards, 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on 64-of-139 firing. He’s also the squad’s leading rusher with 171 carries for 674 yards and six TDs.
SA has several other viable options on offense. Sophomore Drew Lefever adds 165 carries for 665 yards and four TDs, while junior Skylar Schoch enters regional play with 121 carries for 564 yards and eight TDs. Schoch (20 catches, 475 yards, five TDs) and junior Isaiah Amstutz (21 catches, 219 yards, two TDs) are the team’s leading receivers.
“They are really, really fast,” Gilbert said. “Their record really isn’t indicative of how well they play. They play a schedule like Sheridan. I think they play the second-toughest schedule in Class A, and that makes it a bit misleading. We have to be concerned with playing for four quarters and hit them. I don’t think they’ve played anyone like us, and I’m hoping our defense can rise up for our offense. Defense is what wins championships.”
TC has shown its own superb balance this season, led by senior tailback Garrett Kelley, who has run for a school-record 1,518 yards this season while adding 17 TDs on 214 carries. Sophomores Cody Colbert (99 carries, 644 yards, four TDs) and Dillon Smith (81 carries, 510 yards, eight TDs) have made it difficult for defenses to key on Kelley.
Junior quarterback Cody Howell has completed 70 off 118 passes for 1,229 yards, 22 TDs and just three interceptions. Seniors Jade Pickett (22 catches, 344 yards, eight TDs) and Seth Blunck (20 catches, 419 yards, five TDs) have been Howell’s favorite targets. The Trojans will look to put SA’s 5-2 defense in tough situations with that balance.
“Their linebackers play really well, but they’re small,” Gilbert said. “On both sides of the ball they’re small but really fast. We haven’t faced a really fast team other than Sheridan and Eastern Hancock, but it’s been a long time since we played Eastern Hancock. I don’t think they’re as fast as Sheridan in the backfield, but I think their line play is as fast. We’ll see how our speed matches up with theirs.