GOSHEN — Three weeks into the high school football season, the Concord Minutemen are unbeaten, and ranked No. 5 in Class 5A in the Associated Press Poll and No. 6 in the Indiana Football Coaches Association Poll.
Concord travels to Wawasee Friday in a Northern Lakes Conference contest that kicks off at 7 p.m.
The Elkhart Central Blue Blazers have also started the season 3-0 and are No. 7 in 5A in the AP Poll and No. 8 in the IFCA Poll. Central hosts Benton Harbor (Michigan) Friday at Rice Field. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
The NorthWood Panthers (1-2) are 9th in Class 4A in the AP Poll and 10th in the IFCA Poll. NorthWood entertains the Goshen RedHawks Friday at 7 p.m. at Andrews Field in Nappanee.
According to the Indiana High School Athletic Association fall bulletin a total of 320 schools have indicated their intentions of playing in the 47th annual state tournament. Seventy of those schools are undefeated three weeks into the season.
In addition to the Minutemen, the Northridge Raiders (3-0) are the other member of the Northern Lakes Conference that has a perfect record.
The West Noble Chargers and Churubusco Eagles are the last two unbeaten squads in the Northeast Corner Conference. There are a total of four schools in the Northern Indiana Conference with 3-0 marks. In addition to Central, the New Prairie Cougars, Mishawaka Marian Knights and South Bend Riley Wildcats are perfect.
One of the key reasons for the success of the Blue Blazers has been the running of senior Mark Brownlee. The Ball State University recruit has rushed for a state-leading, according to Max Preps, total of 714 yards so far this season.
He has a slight lead over Jake Fulk of Churubusco at 702. Sophomore Colin Price of Zionsville is third at 671, followed by Hunter Tschaenn of Franklin County 620 and junior Charlie Spegal of New Palestine at 585.
Brownlee has scored 10 touchdowns and has taken the early lead in the race for the Elkhart County Scoring Title. He had four TDs in a 41-21 win over Elkhart Memorial in Week 1, three in a 31-3 win over Goshen in Week 2 and three in a 36-7 win over Jimtown last Friday.
Northridge senior Caid Lacey is second at 36 points, based on a three-TD effort in the Raiders’ 27-0 win over the Wawasee Warriors last Friday. NorthWood senior Jaden Miller and Memorial junior Derrick Woods share third at 30 and Northridge junior Breckin Judd is fifth at 24.
Brownlee and Woods both scored 102 points to finish in a tie for second in the county scoring race a year ago, behind run-away winner Bronson Yoder of NorthWood with 220 points.
Brownlee’s 60 points ranks him seventh in the state. Eli Kirkpatrick of Attica in the early state leader with 84 points according to Max Preps.
Brownlee isn’t the only state leader on the Central roster. Junior Rodney McGraw is the top sacker. The 6-foot-6, 235-pound defensive lineman has six to begin the season.
Two area punters are among the state leaders. Junior Jaron Fry of Lakeland is fourth at 41.1 yards per punt and senior Bryan Ramirez of Central seventh at 40.3.