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The Gridiron Digest

crimsonace1

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  1. When I moved to Hancock County in 1998, I largely knew Tim as the really kind DC at Mt. Vernon who loved to talk football. A few months later, I went over to his classroom at MV and interviewed him about the GID for a feature story. We became fast friends, a friendship that developed even more when we became broadcast partners in 2006 when he retired. Tim was one of my best friends. We worked together in some fashion from then until he passed four years later. We always drove together to games and the rides with him were among my favorite times of the week as we'd talk football, family, faith and much more - he'd update me on the church he pastored near Connersville, we'd talk about his daughters and grandkids and my kids, share classroom stories, and most of all, talk football. We had an incredible on-air chemistry. I miss him every fall Friday night. I still use the broadcast equipment he bought for us those years ago. Nobody has been more passionate about promoting Indiana high school football. He did so through this site and many other channels. He was beloved by nearly everyone in the high school football community and we miss him.
  2. Right now, here's the Mid-State Decatur Central: 1812 - solid 5A Franklin: 1571 (and growing fast) - 5A Greenwood: 1193 (and holding at that number - Greenwood is largely built-out) - 4A for good Martinsville: 1286 (and not really growing) - 4A for the long haul Mooresville: 1391 (room for some growth, but it doesn't seem to be as dramatic) - 4A for a while Perry Meridian: 2385 - 6A Plainfield: 1823 (and growing fast) - 5A but likely 6A within a few cycles Whiteland: 2021 (and growing fast) - 5A but will soon be 6A Whiteland is on the cusp of 6A, and there is a LOT of unbuilt land in Clark Township right off I-65 that will explode soon. I wouldn't be shocked to see Whiteland be 3000+ in a decade. Meanwhile, you also have Conference Indiana Bloomington North: 1664 - 5A Bloomington South: 1733 - 5A Columbus North - 2219 - 6A Southport - 2391 - 6A TH North - 1575 - 5A TH South - 1651 - 5A And some other schools that could be in the mix Center Grove - 2754 - 5A (independent) Franklin Central - 3223 - 6A (and growing very fast) Long-term, I think what we could see is some shuffling where the larger schools in the Mid-State and Conference Indiana join forces (and possibly add CG/FC, although I wouldn't be surprised if the MIC is a long-term destination for FC just because of geography). We could see something like this Center Grove Whiteland Columbus North Decatur Central Franklin Plainfield Southport Perry Meridian And Martinsville Mooresville TH North TH South Bloomington North Bloomington South In this scenario, Franklin, Plainfield & Greenwood are the wild cards - I can see Franklin growing to the point where it fits better in the 5A/6A league. Plainfield fits better in with Martinsville/Mooresville geographically but will likely top 2K students soon. Greenwood is basically left homeless by this shuffle. I expect to see the Woodmen make a run for the Hoosier Heritage Conference, especially if Shelbyville or Delta decides to go to different leagues and they need an eighth team. They don't really fit geographically, but they do fit enrollment-wise (at least for now).
  3. Remember, you're getting reps for guys, too. A team that has a lot of mercy-rule games won't get a ton of Friday-night reps - and a struggling team needs those reps to get better (while a good team may need them to fine-tune some things). If you're going to invoke it in the first half, then the points threshold needs to be something like 42 or 49 points. The mercy rule basically means each team gets one possession (maybe two) once it's invoked. I'm fine with the way it's used. It provides an opportunity to get the games over quicker while still allowing players to get a reasonable number of snaps on each side of the ball.
  4. Schools - especially public schools - go through cycles. Avon had a wave of talent come through a few years ago - football was a perennial threat to go deep in the tourney, boys basketball won a sectional, their volleyball and wrestling programs have traditionally been state powers - but it may simply be that the talent has dried up a bit, especially compared to its neighbors. They made a hire in girls basketball a few years ago that I thought was a bad fit at the time and things quickly unraveled from there. While they're huge, they're not on the same socioeconomic level as the other schools in their conference (who are equally huge) so they're likely more prone to those big swings in talent whereas an HSE or Zionsville can simply reload in a lot of sports. Have heard from some the school admin is more interested in performing arts (and their band/choir programs are first-rate), but their athletic facilities, at least, show a pretty strong commitment to athletics.
  5. Franklin, Whiteland, Franklin Central, Center Grove, Columbus North, Bloomington North, Bloomington South, Southport. Maybe Plainfield or Decatur Central if they continue to grow, although Plainfield could eventually end up in the HCC with its county rivals Brownsburg & Avon if it tops 2K (which it eventually will). Mostly 6As and a few larger 5As. Nobody wants to be in a league with Carmel, but they could end up in the HCC given everyone else in their county is in the league. What you're beginning to see in the Mid-State is a pretty wide separation - some schools (Whiteland, Franklin, Plainfield) are growing *fast* and are eventually going to be 6A while others (Mooresville, Martinsville, Greenwood) are declining or holding steady and are likely 4As for the foreseeable future. Could very easily see some movement between the Mid-State and Conference Indiana, especially if CI wants to shed the Terre Haute schools.
  6. While you never say never, there is a long tradition in the NCC, and football is not a real priority there. Basketball rules the roost in that league and always will. There may be a day when some of the eastern NCC schools - especially Richmond and maybe Muncie Central or Anderson - break away and form a new league, but I'm not sure Western and West Lafayette want to get into a league with big 5A and 6A schools.
  7. Just a reminder, this is high school football. One community's kids lining up against another community's kids. There has NEVER been "competitive balance" and it is not (much to DT's chagrin, I'm sure) the IHSAA's goal to ensure "competitive balance." There will always be haves and have-nots, and sometimes, they cycle, even in football-crazed communities like Sheridan and New Palestine where there's the occasional down year ... and sometimes, long-moribund programs put together a great year ... and most will be in the middle. But there's really no such thing as competitive balance in high school sports. Coaching turnover has been an issue since the leather helmet days. We read more about it now because we have access to statewide info, but we've always seen a lot of coaching turnover - either from coaches going to bigger programs or getting the boot for not winning enough. Now, we're seeing coaches leave head coaching jobs for assistant jobs and/or leaving the profession entirely. A decade ago, it was in part because teaching jobs were hard to find and we had a lot of lay coaches or coaches who taught in a different building than where they coached. Now, that's not as big of an issue, but there's always a lot of churn.
  8. Geography. The WIC is largely Cascade's old WCC neighbors - their division would likely be the four Putnam County schools + West Vigo. That's much more appealing than sending teams to Triton Central and through Indy traffic to get to Beech Grove and Lutheran for baseball and volleyball.
  9. 6A: Carmel is always in the mix, Cathedral is always loaded but last year would've been their year to compete in 6A. Don't count out the MIC powers. It's going to be a toss-up as always. 5A: Maybe the most wide-open division. Decatur Central has a lot of talent and its recent roadblocks Cathedral & New Pal are now out of the way. This might be the year a Region team gets it done. 4A: Roncalli & Mt. Vernon both suffered heavy graduation losses. New Pal returns nearly everybody from a 5A sectional champion, including at least four players with D1 offers and an RB with two 1,000-yard seasons. I don't think they'll fly under the radar long. Brebeuf is good - even without Strickland, their front 6 on defense is excellent and they're well-coached. I'd move New Pal & Brebeuf into the "can win it all" category. I don't know what Memorial has coming back, but they've been to back-to-back semistates. They may be the favorite.
  10. The Big Eight was such a good and perfect league. A league of mostly 3A county-seat schools in southwestern Indiana (and southeastern Illinois, in Mt. Carmel's case). Have no idea how or why that broke apart. But it's going to leave some schools scrambling to find a conference. VL should go to the Pocket, which in turn should split into two conferences.
  11. WeBo is already in the Sagamore and has been for a long time. It fits perfectly in with nearby rivals who are 3As and small 4As. It's a perfect fit and there's no real reason for them to go anywhere.
  12. Connersville & Rushville fit well geographically and school-wise in the EIAC. There's really no place else for either to go. In Connersville's case, they struggle in football but they are annually one of the top teams in the league in basketball (which is the sport that drives the bus and pays the bills in that community) and generally competitive in baseball, softball, et al. Rushville is generally a title contender in girls basketball (again, a major sport in that town). Benton Central generally has good basketball and baseball teams, so again, a decent fit even if they struggle in football.
  13. I generally make it a point to not respond to DT/HHF's "throw-it-against-the-wall-and-see-what sticks" clickbait, but *-Shelbyville - I figure it's a matter of when, not if, the Golden Bears go to the EIAC. *-Greenwood - could replace Shelbyville in the Hoosier Heritage. They were apparently interested when Rushville left but the district admin insisted they remain in the Mid-State. *-Indian Creek: Isolated. It's a mid-sized 3A school without any 3A schools nearby. It's basically stuck with Brown County & Edgewood. That's why it's in the WIC. It could possibly join the Indiana Crossroads, but travel is going to be a nightmare no matter where it goes. It's not joining a league with 4A Shelbyville & Greenwood. *-Southport: The Circle City Conference is a private school league. Southport's not going there. If/when Conference Indiana blows up, I'd expect them to possibly try to latch on with either the Mid-State or the Hoosier Heritage. Have no idea what Columbus North and the Bloomington schools do in that scenario - possibly try to join an expanded Mid-State? *-Tech could compete in the MIC in basketball and really not in much of anything else. It would get destroyed in football. Geographically, the NCC is a terrible fit, but competitively, it's a good one. *-Center Grove: It'll be in the HCC in the near future once the kerfluffle over them leaving the MIC blows over.
  14. Just a reminder for those playing along with DT's thought exercise - football is only one of 20 IHSAA-sanctioned sports and a school that may be struggling in football may still be a good fit in a conference in terms of geography, school population and competitiveness in other sports.
  15. Pioneer won a regional in 2020. I don't know why they went back to 1A, unless the IHSAA just decided to apply only SF points earned last year to keep them on the same plane as LCC & Chatard. Southridge was moving up to 3A due to enrollment no matter what happened with the Success Factor.
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