It was a good, if occasionally nippy, weekend for left-handed quarterbacks and middle linebackers in high school football.
While watching Rockville’s win over Attica and Marshall’s gallant effort at Auburn, Ill., I enjoyed not one, not two but three lefties throwing and running with the ball. Rockville’s Matt King and Marshall’s Taylor Duncan did most of the running — “He’s got a lot of swivel,” one of my fellow sideline observers said Saturday of Marshall’s Duncan, who looked like Gale Sayers in the first half — but little lefty Michael Bates of Auburn was somehow able to throw a few darts and complete a few clutch passes on that gusty Saturday afternoon.
(I don’t get to cover as many Illinois playoff games as I used to, but I can count on one thing happening when I do: it will be windy, and there won’t be much on the prairie to slow that wind down.)
I don’t need to say much about Rockville yet because I get to see the Rox play Linton this week in a game that should be nothing but fun. Looking back, however, I do wonder how I wrote an entire story about the Rox without mentioning James Kent’s work on the offensive line, at middle linebacker and occasionally at blocking back.
James is, as the saying goes, built like a brick outhouse and likes knocking people down, which is why I like watching him.
But I know coach Herb King has got an extensive bag of offensive tricks, so maybe this week I’ll get to see him carry the ball.
My favorite middle linebacker of the weekend played the next day, however, and typified the Marshall effort.
On paper, there should have been no way the Lions could compete with Auburn. The Trojans had a 244-pound fullback and a 272-pound blocking back, plus huge offensive and defensive lines and a 6-foot-5 split end. But for more than a half the skinny Lions outhit their hosts, 5-7 defensive back Jerald Davis went up a couple of times to knock balls away from the 6-5 kid — and the Lions also had Chance Rector.
Chance might not have been Marshall’s best player Saturday, but he was a noticeable as any of them. More than once I heard the other sideline hollering, “Somebody block the middle linebacker” — but maybe they couldn’t find him.
Which brings me to the first of the Amey Awards for 2008 high school football:
Nickname of the Year — Chance “Five Feet of Concrete” Rector. That’s a height reference, by the way.
The awards for Vigo County are soon to follow, after a successful season that included eight wins for West Vigo and more representative play by Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South in the nation’s second-best high school conference. You’ll notice the MIC has half the remaining Class 5A teams in the state tournament; I’ll be surprised if two aren’t in the championship game, and I’ll be stunned if the southern part of the state isn’t represented by it.
Seniors of the year — Eli Bean, Wade Bush, Nathan Dugger, Chris Hawkins, Brandon Heaton, Jase Kaufman, Lance Lloyd, Josh Loudermilk, Cory Porter, Dru Sappington, Billy Sisson, Stephen Stucker, Scott Weatherford, Frank Willis and David Woodason, North; Josh Bell, Josh Bridwell, Elias Brown, Ethan Buske, Dustin Doss, Tyler Furniss, John Haley, Cody Kraemer, Kyle Krockenberger, Michael Mardis, Michael Nasser, Gary Passmore, Jonathan Thacker and Derek Thomas, South; and Ian Bolin, Jacob Collins, Jessie Earls, Jeramy Elkins, Austin Humphrey, Jeff Jones, Landon Keith, Cody Leek, Lucas Mackey, Tyler Rohlman, Kameron Silcock, Jordan Smith and Aaron Welch, West Vigo.
Juniors of the year — Aaron Allen, Nicholas Andreason, Doug Collett, Caleb Coons, Brian Counterman, Ben King, Chris O’Leary, Shawn Riggs, Corey Risley, Antonio Theriault and Trent Walls, North; Cody Bell, Brandon Brock, Billy Byerley, Mitchell Dagnon, Nate Drada, Bryn Schwartz, Tanner Symon, Jeremy Wilson and Jerry Wilson, South; and John Burt, Nick Cramer, Aaron Hoffman, Josh Hubbard, Don Humes, Jacob Kelley, Craig Knoepfel, Dyman Lewellyn and Jesse Murphy, West Vigo.
Sophomores of the year — Dylan Aff, Cole Lydick and Casey Sereno, West Vigo; Joel Blakely, Josiah Blakely, Kevin Bracken, A.J. Buck, Logan Buske, Dillon Carter, Dustin Galenski, Zack Lewis, Jimmy Maxwell, P.J. Montgomery, Tommy Moore, Zack Schultz, Nate Schuster, Tre Stephens, John Story and Aaron Sullivan, South; and Maris Clark, Daniel Gabbard, Dillon Hare, Chad Holler, David Knight, Michael Mace, Garrett Peabody and Justin Van Bever, North.
Freshmen of the year — Special mention has to be made here of West Vigo’s Matt Flesher, certainly the best player nobody had ever heard of until late August. The other ninth-graders are his teammates Harley Elkins, Nathan Gregg and Cody Thornton plus Tyler Evans of South.
Senior good guys — Ethan Chandler, Caleb Clark, Mat Foster, Johnny Norton and Jake Patterson, South; Tim Coyle, North; Dima Stott, West Vigo.
Most improved players — The special mention here is for North’s Scott Weatherford, who finished the year punting as well as his highly paid brother used to. Others on the list are Jacob Collins, Nick Cramer and Tyler Rohlman of West Vigo and Mitchell Dagnon of South
Tough-luck players — Give the Patriots a healthy Chris O’Leary all season and who knows what might have happened. A.J. Buck, Michael Nasser, Shane Stephens and Derek Thomas of South and Jeff Jones and Jordan Smith of West Vigo also sat too much.
Leading receiver, offensive line — Lance Lloyd, North.
Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. for comments or news items at (812) 231-4277 or at 1-800-783-8742; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.
It was a good, if occasionally nippy, weekend for left-handed quarterbacks and middle linebackers in high school football.
- Amey Takes Aim
Amey Takes Aim: NHL playoffs to put TVs to good use
If Jenny had known, she probably wouldn’t have bought that TV.
But four or five years ago, my Fathers Day present — for those unfamiliar with Amey family traditions, the Fathers Day one is “let’s get something we all really want and pretend it’s a gift for Dad” — was a 42-inch Vizio. It’s been used even more than the cell phone I never would have bought for myself, or the TomTom that disappeared since Jenny’s smartphone arrived.
And it came with high-def.
I’m not going to insult you by telling you how great high-def is, because to do so would be to imply that you are even farther behind the technological curve than I am. I’m guessing, however, that not all of you have yet discovered what it does for hockey.
Amey Takes Aim: Can’t bottle the joy of Amey vacations
The first bad sign was the Gatorade bottle.
In the Bataan-Death-March drive to Orlando that got the Amey family spring break vacation off to a bad start, seeing it between lanes of I-24 — as we zipped along at a 100-miles-in-five-hours clip — filled with an ominous yellow liquid was a little bit scary. And although we didn't stop to check for sure, I'm fairly certain I knew about its contents.
And the person stuck in the same traffic jam with us, the one with the existential license plate YMIHR4, couldn’t have asked a more pertinent question.
But, after seeing a lot more of Oak Grove, Ky., than we’d planned, and after enduring more traffic slowdowns in Nashville, we were on our way. Even some rain in the dark in the Smokies didn’t slow us down much, so you would think our first-day troubles were over.
You would be wrong.
ANDY AMEY: Farewell to basketball
I believe you’ve heard me say before — just about a year ago, perhaps — that a boys high school basketball season that ends with the Tribune-Star in Bankers Life Fieldhouse can’t be considered a bad one, which is why we have a little celebrating to do thanks to the Linton Miners.
Lover of irony that I am, I’ve also got to point out that this season was another branch sprouting from the Wabash Valley’s most legendary coaching tree, that of Joe Hart.
Joe never got much credit for his work at Dugger, but he took Brody Boyd, Clark Golish and the Bulldogs to a state championship game in 2000, and since then three of his former players — Joe Pigg, Clint Swan and now Joey Hart, his son — also have coached teams in the final game of the season.
Joe probably wishes he could take credit for Doc Nash, another down-home type who gave a banjo lesson earlier Saturday in leading Borden past a bigger, more athletic Triton team (banjo lesson is a Howard Sharpism, for you younger readers), but his lineage is still the best I can think of around here.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Maroons, Rox final a true Classic
I don’t make predictions nearly as often as I used to, but I had one several months ago that was proven correct last week.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Nitpicking aside, West Vigo Hall of Fame selections spot on
I can’t imagine a better first class of inductees into the West Vigo High School Athletics Hall of Fame than the one that was feted Saturday night in the Jim Mann Green Dome.
Tough bunch of people
I’m getting my warm clothes ready for a trip to Linton this week, and if a few thrills from the Miners, Casey or North Vermillion happen the next couple of weeks, I hope I get to see them.
But high school football is over in Vigo County for the season — as coach Chris Barrett of Terre Haute North said, prematurely — and I’m sadder to see it go than usual.
Walking the sidelines and doing midweek or postgame interviews enables me to meet quite a few of the guys whose names you are about to read, and haven’t been more impressed than I was this fall. What outstanding groups of young men. What a tough, tough bunch of people.
Many know that one of my favorite athletic adjectives appeared consecutively in the previous sentence.
AMEY TAKES AIM: A weekend to remember with ISU’s ’72 football team
They’re all still pretty hale and hearty, the boys of the fall of 1972 who returned to campus over the weekend to honor their former football coach.
AMEY TAKES AIM: ISU reunion raises more questions than answers
One of the wrestlers I used to hang out with occasionally claimed to be a pretty good second-story man — although he may have just been talking, since I never saw any of the goods — and it was with him in mind that I was able to get access to the Indiana State Wrestling Alumni Reunion late Saturday night.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Deciding not to ‘vacate’ during ‘vacation’ – & other ventures
Flaunting the law, setting a bad example for the kids in other ways, grooming and acquiring dogs … not a typical Amey family vacation, but an appreciated one just the same.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Huntsville’s Stars, Havoc take back seat to GGS
The second-best thing about the Amey family’s spring-break trip to Huntsville, Ala., is that we left a lot of things on the table to do the next time we’re down there.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Rox well represented on Amey teams
If having the state finals in town makes it a successful girls high school basketball season, then certainly having a team to follow at the state finals makes it a very successful boys high school basketball season . . .
AMEY TAKES AIM: A feeling of pride, not disappointment, comes from watching Rox play
It’s not going to come as a startling admission that I — once the rest of the local opposition has been eliminated from consideration — am an unabashed fan of whatever team the Wabash Valley sends onward in postseason high school sports competition.
AMEY TAKES AIM: This private school plays basketball the right way
Any girls high school basketball season that ends with state championship games in Hulman Center is a pretty good one — even though I wished I’d seen Riverton Parke and Seeger knock off a couple of private schools the week before to even the public school-private school battle a little bit.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Even 2 of state’s best once had doubts
Look at them now.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Getting ready for the dance
Terre Haute North got the good news Sunday night — or did it?
AMEY TAKES AIM: Harrowing path for state hopefuls
The bad news is that the winner of Class 4A Sectional 13 in boys basketball heads northeast instead of southeast for regional play in March — to Hinkle Fieldhouse instead of Seymour as a result of Indiana High School Athletic Association’s changes.
AMEY TAKES AIM: A superior all-star arrangement
I don’t work on Wednesdays, so I wasn’t able to attend the first Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association draft last week to set up the annual all-star game that will be June 23 this year.
AMEY TAKES AIM: The biggest & baddest of a holiday classic
There are more things to love about the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic than could fit in this newspaper, but one of this year’s best things was that for an hour or so on Wednesday, it was Justin Paddock’s world and we were just living in it.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Taking note of ISU’s latest football win
The biggest difference I’ve noticed, as I transition from the high school football beat to quasi-official status as the Indiana State football beat writer for a few weeks, is the length of the games.
AMEY TAKES AIM: IHSAA playoff draw not as bad as it could have been
First reaction to the Indiana sectional football pairings drawn late Sunday by the Indiana High School Athletic Association? It could have been a lot worse.
ANDY AMEY: Between the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & a hard place
Just in case any of you noticed — with some anticipation — the recent lack of my bylines, I can tell you that your wish (and mine) did come true. It was vacation week for the Amey family.
Amey Takes Aim: UFC fighter’s bloodines traced back to ISU brothers
As a mild-mannered reporter from a great metropolitan newspaper — or thereabouts — I admit I haven’t paid much attention to the burgeoning mixed martial arts scene.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Predators’ win is music to new fan’s ears
For many, many years, the number of live games televised on WGN has been cited as perhaps the main reason for the popularity of the Chicago Cubs (it’s got to be something besides masochism, right?).
AMEY TAKES AIM: You’ll be having a good ol’ time on vacation with the Ameys
When one of the first people you meet is Tammy Wynette’s stepdaughter, when you’ve stepped on the feet of people you haven’t met while trying to navigate Ernest Tubbs’ old Silver Eagle tour bus, and when the activities director of your resort is, well, Elvis, you might be vacationing in Nashville.
AMEY TAKES AIM: The Annual All-Amey basketball teams close out the prep season
The most encouraging boys high school basketball event I’ve attended so far in 2011 has been the Lafayette Semistate a couple of weeks ago.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Family remembers Cheryl Weatherman as caring grandmother
As far as Riley and Keely Davis are concerned, Cheryl Weatherman was simply their grandmother, and a pretty darn good one at that.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Honor to see Turkey Run girls close out memorable career
I don’t know if anyone in this part of the state could actually say they enjoy going to Fort Wayne and back, but I was glad to see the Turkey Run Warriors play one last time during the girls basketball state finals Saturday.
So many matches, so many favorites
Go ahead, ask me anything about the 224 wrestlers who competed last week at the Indiana state finals — or at least about the 112 wrestlers who survived Saturday’s first round.
ANDY TAKES AIM: A sportwriters’s lament: Oh, the games we missed
I was already tired of winter by the time that first bitterly cold snap passed through in mid-December, so it’s safe to say the season hasn’t grown on me.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Time of the season for teams to tough it out
In the last month or so I figure I’ve seen at least four boys high school basketball teams with legitimate state-championship dreams as the season heads into its dog days.
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