FORT WAYNE – New year, same ol' Bishop Dwenger.
With a new cast of characters, the 2014 Saints look a lot like the 2013 team that went to the Class 4A state championship after a 44-13 thrashing of Concordia at Zollner Stadium on Friday.
After some key graduation losses seemingly turned the Saints (2-0, 2-0 SAC) into a reloading situation, the status quo has emerged. The Saints have shown the tank was hardly empty after two dominating wins to open the season, including last week's 52-6 rout of South Side.
“This year we were just ready, and the guys who needed to step up were ready,” junior running back Zach Norton said. “It speaks to the team and how hard we work. All the new guys came out and hustled in practice.”
Norton ran for Dwenger's first three touchdowns on runs of 8, 9 and 10 yards, and senior Andrew Gabet ran for two scores.
“It's a great group to work with, and nobody cares who gets the credit,” Dwenger coach Chris Svarczkopf said. “We wanted the linemen to really take over tonight. The offensive line, for the most part, did a great job.”
Dwenger took a 21-6 first-quarter lead.
“Right from the start they were all over us,” Concordia coach Tim Mannigel said. “We have a young team too, and you get down early and you have to keep them up. But here comes Dwenger. We got snowballed a little bit.”
The Cadets (1-1, 1-1) were coming off a 31-21 win over reigning SAC champion North Side last week but were outmatched against the Saints.
“Concordia is a very balanced team, but they ran wild on the option against North so we had to take that away and take the trap play away,” Svarczkopf said. “Absolutely (the Saints noticed Concordia after last week), especially with the way they ran away from North Side at times.”
Concordia junior quarterback Daniel Sparks threw for 186 yards but also attempted 36 passes.
“Here I am 10 minutes after the game, I can't think of an area where we had a kid who we are thinking they did really well,” Mannigel said. “Dwenger handled us. They were more physical than us. They covered our receivers, and they put pressure on Daniel. This is a textbook.
“We were not able to get stops defensively, and we were not able to put drives together offensively. All the credit goes to them because they took us out of our game. How not to play a football game – by Concordia – tonight.”