A week after high schools had to take extended water timeouts due to the blistering heat on a Friday night, the weather dropped a good twenty to thirty degrees, and the crisp autumn air flowed over the gridiron tundras of Central Indiana making football feel like the sport is supposed to feel.
High school football, as it were meant to be. Well, except my Hobart Brickies losing to Kankakee Valley in overtime, but most traditions across the state seemed to be returning.
Ben Davis was the next in line to try to topple Warren Central, and the Warriors batted them away. This Warriors squad is officially worth the hype.
Coming into the 2011 season, I'll admit I was one of the first people to be a little speculative about the Warren Central Warriors and their ever-so-high ranking in the national polls.
Not because they aren't the most talented team in the state, which they easily are with an amount of Division-One recruits that can practically fill a classroom. Not because they don't have a top-notch coaching staff, because John Hart and his staff are bar-none one of the top three staffs in the State of Indiana. Not because they don't win big games, because as they've showed in their past two encounters against Carmel, they have that special ability to rise up to any occasion.
It's the 14-13 victory in 2009 in the opening round of Sectionals over Franklin Central (one the Flashes very much should have won) and the opening loss to Lawrence Central 35-14 (though losing to the State runner-ups is nothing to hang your head on) that worried me.
From my short time covering IHSAA football, I was always under the impression that the Warriors fell into too many lapses that ultimately could foil a season. This yea, I feel like this Warriors team has the ultimate mindset of a champion. Take Senior safety Jordan Shines quote after preserving victory 27-21 victory over Class 5A #3 Ben Davis on a broken up 4th and 11 play in the end zone late in the game.
"Everybody in the state wants to beat us," said Shine to USA Today Prep Sports. "We have to fight our hardest every game. It was jump ball on that play, whoever wanted it the most."
This year, the Warriors want it the most. Their defense, which is probably the best defense I've ever seen in prep sports, kept the Giants to just 180 yards. That's not just good football, that's great football. If it weren't for a couple of special teams mistakes, something Warren Central seems to be prone to this season, Warren Central may have just allowed a touchdown to one of the top football teams in Indiana.
These two squads are bound to meet again, and it will be once again a battle of Goliath vs. Goliath. I just feel like at this point though, Warren Central seems to be swinging a bigger club then anybody out there.
If Cathedral can almost beat any Class 5A squad, than how good is Bishop Chatard?
To no surprise to any, the defending Class 4A State champions in Cathedral (2-2) defeated defending Class 3A State champions in Bishop Chatard (3-1) at Lucas Oil Stadium this past Saturday. The final was 21-14, and by all accounts it never seemed as if the Trojans truly had a chance to take the lead.
In fact, with Cathedral holding Trojans stud running back Ryan Kleinschmidt to 46 yards, you would have thought the Fighting Irish dominated the entire game. But take a step a back from the quick look at the box score for a second, and you'll see something that reinforces the idea Bishop Chatard is in a class of their own in 3A football in 2011.
In the second half, just as Warren Central outscored the Fighting Irish, Bishop Chatard outscored Cathedral 14-0. In fact, take a look at the quotes from Mark Ambrogi's report from the IndyStar on Saturday, and you'll see a Cathedral team that felt the pressure of a very good Chatard squad.
"The second half, we didn't do the right thing. We didn't throw the ball when we needed to. We just need to do our job." - Gino Gillum
"It was sloppy," said Irish coach Rick Streiff, whose team played its previous game Monday. "We need to do some things better."
With that said though, hats off to Cathedral, who with their second victory in a row are a class above anybody in 4A. But similar to them, the Trojans are the squad in 3A that will give everybody a run for their money once again.