Category Archives: Football

FC’s best athletes reflect over their success

By JD McKay

*Editor’s note: These are JD McKay’s top 10 FC athletes from each decade. Who are yours, and why? Comment in the comment section below to recognize other FC athletes.

Special thanks to athletic director Jeff Cerqueira for helping JD McKay get in contact with several athletes.

FC’s 50-year anniversary is coming to the end, and it has been a historic year in sports. FC has won nine conference titles this year and won seven sectionals, but success has been seen in other athletes before the 2017-18 school year. FC has had a Gatorade Athlete of the Year and a Mr. Indiana Basketball, plus a plethora of other All-State athletes.

Jerry Hale, 1971, Basketball

Jerry Hale was FC’s first all-state athlete, and a member of the FC Superhick team. On March 15, 1971 edition of the Daily Herald, Jerry Birge called Hale “a true superstar.”

“Leading that team to Semi-State was my greatest athletic moment. We had gotten a little better every year since our school was created,” said Hale. “We started sectionals by playing New Albany, who was ranked higher than us. Our school was in the middle of fields, so the kids down the hill decided they would make fun of our school by throwing fake pigs onto the ground around the school and wearing bib overalls. After we upset them, our students bought into the hick theme, and came up with the ‘Superhicks’. Then, we went and played number two Seymour. We were down 15 with five minutes left, and came back and won. We scored 41 points in the fourth quarter, and that was without the three point line.”

After graduating, Hale attended the University of Kentucky and played basketball. By his senior season, he was playing in the national championship against the UCLA Bruins.  

When Hale graduated from college, he worked for a coal company for 27 years. Then, he started consulting for National Steel. Now, he is the director of human resources for the Keeneland Association. He is retiring in August.

“I don’t have many plans for my retirement,” said Hale. “I’m probably going to head to Hilton Head Island for a few months. Do some relaxing and declutter my mind.”  

Advice to any student: “FC is a great school, and what you put into is what you get out of it.”

Marilyn James, 1972, Track

Marilyn James was FC’s first female all-state athlete. She was a member of the track team.

“I went to state in ‘72 and finished third in what is now the 200-meter dash. Then it was the 200-yard dash,” said James.

After she graduated, James did not go to college.

“I went to work after I graduated,” said James. “I worked at a department store while I was still in school, then I worked in the home office of Payless Oil Company. This is my 31st year at Mercer Transportation, and I’m retiring in three years.”

James was a member of the first class to start seventh grade at FC and has seen the school change since she graduated.

“I would not even know my way around there now,” said James. “When I go past the school, I cannot believe how the school has changed. But it is just amazing how the school has grown.”

Advice to any student: “Be the best you can be. Don’t ever give up.”

Pat Graham, 1989, Basketball

Pat Graham was an all-state athlete as a senior, winning Mr. Basketball, and became a McDonald’s All-American.

“My biggest achievements were being Mr. Basketball and a McDonald’s All-American. Mr. Basketball was a bigger award to me. That was my first time when I was on the floor and I realized I wasn’t the best player there. I still have a picture with all the players from both teams. When kids I coach come over and see it they are like, “You’ve got to be kidding me,” when they see Jimmy Jackson, Bobby Hurley, and Shaquille O’Neal in the picture with me.”

Staying near home was the clear choice for Graham, eventually choosing to play at Indiana University for coach Bobby Knight.

“I had it narrowed down to Purdue, Louisville, Indiana, and Kentucky, but after my junior season I decided it was either Indiana or Kentucky. I was really 50-50 between the schools. My family liked Indiana, but we weren’t fanboys. However, my dad liked how Coach [Bobby] Knight graduated his players. Then, probably two weeks before I was going to commit is when the UK scandal broke and the NCAA got involved. That made my choice very easy.”

About a month after graduating from FC, Graham went to Indiana University to start training with basketball coach Knight

After graduating from IU, Graham started working for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and did that for two years. Now, Graham works for Progressive Health Rehabilitation and has been doing that for 21 years.

Advice to any student: “In the next portion of your life, think about doing something you will be happy with in 10 or 15 years.”

Stacey Condra, 1988, Tennis

Stacey Condra was won of only five all-state female athletes from the 1980s, and that came from hard work everyday.

“I practiced for about two hours each day, seven days a week,” said Condra.

After Condra graduated from FC, she attended the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

“I got a full tuition scholarship,” said Condra. “I played tennis and got my undergraduate. Then I got my masters degree in exercise physiology and went to medical school.

Since Condra graduated from medical school she has had the same job.

“I am an internal medicine physician,” said Condra. “After I did my residency I have worked in Louisville at Baptist Hospital.”

FC set Condra up for success immediately after graduating.

“FC did a good job of combining athletics and academics. After I graduated, I felt very prepared to go to college and get a job,” said Condra.

Advice to any student: “Find something that you are passionate about and do that.”

Ben Jackson, 1994, Shotput and Discus

Ben Jackson was all-state twice in discus, and once in shot put and holds FC’s record in both events.

“I won state in discus, and won nationals with AAU and U.S.A. track and field in discus the summer my senior year,” said Jackson.

After Jackson graduated, he went to Indiana University and threw shot put, discus, and the 35-pound hammer.

After Jackson graduated from Indiana, he began teaching P.E. at Utica Elementary school.

“My whole family are teachers, so I like the educational part, and I was most interested in athletics so I thought it was a perfect combination,” said Jackson.

FC has had several talented throwers since, but Jackson was the first really talented thrower.

“Once one person is successful, it attracts more people,” said Jackson. “Steven Hnat, he wasn’t the second talented FC thrower. He went on to U of L and threw very well at U of L. Then, [Codie] Hamsley came along and was very good.”

Jackson’s success in high school came at a price. He worked very hard, typically with his dad.

“I remember when Pat Graham spoke to my elementary school. He said he was in the gym in the summer when his friends would be swimming with their friends or on vacation, pay the price. It was kind of the same thing for me and my brother [C.J. Jackson]. My friends would go on spring break. I can remember going out to the field and throwing with my dad,” said Jackson.

Advice to any student: “What you put into it is what you get out of it.”

Jill Schuler, 1993, Track

Jill Schuler was an all-state champion, seven times in three sports. Cross country, track, and basketball, but she was most talented at cross country.

“I won six national championships in track and cross country, individually. I was on a team that won two national championships, and I was a high school All-American,” said Schuler.

After graduating, Schuler attended Ole Miss to run cross country and track.

When Schuler graduated, she worked for YUM brands for a little over a year. Now, she is the Director of Financial planning at Spencerian College.

Schuler is the only athlete in FC’s history to be All-State in three sports.

“Obviously I’m proud of everything that I have accomplished,” said Schuler. “But I also know that I have put in a lot of effort into it. My dad was my coach, and he was right there with me every step of the way and put a lot of time in with me.”

Advice to any student: “It is important to take it all seriously, but not too seriously. You have got to have fun too.”

Jeffrey Thompson, 2009, Baseball

Jeffrey Thompson is the only athletes the school has ever produced earn a living playing his sport. Thompson plays pro-baseball for the Erie SeaWolves, the double A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, but was only all-state in football.

Thompson has enjoyed lots of success in both football and baseball throughout his career.

“My greatest achievement in high school was winning the sectionals in football. In baseball, it was the win against Vanderbilt my junior year in the the last game of the Super Regionals, so we could go to the College World Series,” said Thompson.

Thompson career at Louisville ended after losing the first two games of the College World Series, but he was third in career wins at U of L, fifth in career ERA, and fifth in career strikeouts.

“I was drafted in the third round in 2013 by the Detroit Tigers. I was talking to a couple teams in high school, but my parents were pretty set on me going to college and getting an education,” said Thompson. “Those couple of years at U of L really prepared me for the baseball lifestyle.”

“The minor leagues have been the opposite of what I expected. It has been a grind. But I wouldn’t change it for the World. I get to go play baseball everyday and hang out with my teammates a lot. I’m pretty much having for a job,” said Thompson.

Advice to any student: “Enjoy your time in high school, enjoy being young, and have fun hanging out with your friends.”
Melanie Stutsman, 2009, Volleyball

Melanie Stutsman was a two time all-state volleyball player and All-America, but that was not her greatest accomplishment.

“I went to state three years in a row, that was probably my greatest accomplishment,” said Stutsman.

When Stutsman graduated, he attended Western Kentucky University and played volleyball for four years.

After attending WKU, Stutsman worked at Highland Hills before coming to FC.

“I was an assistant in the Highland Hills PE department. I saw how much that fit my lifestyle because I love sports and athletics, and it just fit my personality,” said Stutsman.

Advice to any student: “Take high school seriously but have fun. Make sure you spend time with your friends.”

Codie Hamsley, 2013, Discus

Codie Hamsley was a two-time all-state athlete in discus, finishing second as a junior, and first as a senior.

“Coming into the state meet, I had a guy right on my tail. I threw 201 [feet] to advance, and he threw 200 [feet], so it was a battle.”

After winning state, Hamsley went to the University of Louisville to throw discus, but had his career cut short because of a shoulder injury.

Now, Hamsley is coaching shotput and discus for FC and working for Jarboe’s heating and air conditioning, but he has bigger plans for the future.

“I’m going to go back [to U of L] and finish my business and management degree. I want to either be the head coach of a college track team or own my own business.

Advice to any student: “Stay in the classroom and get your grades up. I didn’t have the best grades, and I regret that. Especially going into to college, grades are very important. For athletes, just put your head down and work all day.”

Olivia Boesing, Tennis, 2013

Olivia Boesing was all-state all four years she played tennis at FC, but her favorite sports achievement was not about herself.

“In 2013, we finished second in state, that was a very cool moment,” said Boesing.

After graduating from FC, Boesing went to the University of Louisville and played tennis for four years.

Now, Boesing has a job she has been wanting since she was a little kid.

“I’m a first grade teacher at Slate Run Elementary. Next year, I’ll be a fourth grade teacher at St. Barnabas Elementary in Indianapolis. I have always wanted to be a teacher. I love workin with kids and just being able to shape and mold them into the person God created them to be,” said Boesing.

Going to FC has made the past several years of Boesing’s life very easy.

“I think academically, FC puts you in a really good place going into college, and prepares you for jobs. Because of FC I haven’t had a tough time getting jobs because they set you up so well,” said Boesing.

Advice to any student: “Make sure school comes first. Athletics will eventually end, but athletes, make sure you work hard.”

Name Food Restaurant Movie/ TV show Vacation
Marilyn James Grilled Chicken Tucker’s Reality TV Florida
Jerry Hale Swiss Cheese Burger Vincenzo’s Hoosiers Beach with Family
Stacey Condra Ethnic foods Ramsi’s Cafe on the World Modern Family Italy
Pat Graham Chicken Wings Mr. B’s Chicago P.D. Cancún
Jill Schuler Mexican food Malone’s The Office Disney Cruise
Ben Jackson Pizza Qdoba Avengers Disney World
Melanie Stutsman Tacos El Nopal Grey’s Anatomy Mexico
Jeffrey Thompson Bar-B-Que Ribs The Seafood Lady Sportscenter Dominican Republic
Olivia Boesing Pickles Cheesecake Factory This is Us Hawaii
Codie Hamsley Steak Texas Roadhouse A Few Good Men University of Florida Invite

Column: Football coach Brian Glesing steps down

By JD McKay

After 11 years and 70 wins, head football coach Brian Glesing is stepping down. His resignation was exciting to some players, but disappointing to others. But one thing can not be disputed — he made FC football into a conference contender.

Glesing came from Clarksville High School after the 2006 football season. He walked into a team that went 6-24 under previous head coach Rusty Cecil and was outscored in 2006 142 to 341.

After going 2-8 in 2007, Glesing’s first season, the Glesing-led Highlanders had four straight winning seasons, including a sectional championship in 2009.

Glesing’s 2009 team was led by quarterback Max Guenther and eventual professional baseball player Jeffrey Thompson at tight-end. That season’s sectional championship was Glesing’s third sectional championship as a coach, and only championship at FC.

After Guenther graduated came the Bramble years. Kyle Bramble was possibly FC’s greatest player ever. Glesing made use of Bramble’s explosiveness and ability, handing him the ball 345 times his senior year for 2875 yards.

Then came his second losing season. The Highlanders lost Bramble the year before and it took a season to recover from losing a player like him.

After his second losing season came the Kimm-Wallace-Klingsmith era, 2013 and 2014. Quarterback Colton Kimm, running back Gage Klingsmith, and wide reciever Adam Wallace proved to be a talented and fast core of offensive players for Glesing to build his offense around.

In 2015, Glesing had his final losing season. But it had its positive moments. About halfway through the season began the Weimer years.

At the start of the 2016 season, running back Jason Cundiff joined quarterback Matt Weimer as the most talented underclassmen. That team was led with by a strong offensive line and talented, hard working seniors, the type of players Glesing likes the best.

The 2017 season proved to be Glesing’s most grueling. He was diagnosed with cancer about one month before summer workouts started and began chemotherapy.

While Glesing spent most of the summer fighting his battle, assistant coaches Alan Hess and James Bragg stepped in, along with the seniors to fill his shoes. Glesing missed the first game of the season against Louisville Male, and aside from one practice a week, never missed a football event. The Highlanders finished 8-3, losing to the Indiana state-champions Columbus East twice, and the best public school in Kentucky, Louisville Male, once. Even with the injury bug attacking the Highlanders in Week Three, he refused to let his Highlanders back down and just ride the rest of the season out.

I will remember Glesing as a great football coach and play caller. As the man who could say “fiddle-farts” with a straight face. And as a baddude, who stared cancer in the face, laughed at it, and said, “You can’t stop me from coaching my football team.”

Column: How to fix Allstar games

By JD McKay

The NBA All-Star game is Sunday, which is a joke just like the NFL Pro Bowl and the other two major U.S. sport All-Star games (baseball, football, hockey), but other than Russell Westbrook none of the players really care. Which in turn makes me, the fan, not care either. But after watching the NFL Pro-Bowl about three weeks ago, I know that something needs to change.

The NHL All-Star game is a toughy. The NHL is the most violent sport already, so an exhibition game is not worth the risk to players. However, to make things more interesting, in 2016, the NHL made their game a four-team tournament, using their four divisions as teams and playing three-on-three rather than the typical six-on-six. They also have been using a skills challenge since 1990. The idea of the skills challenge is for players to show off their athletic abilities in events like speed skating, shot power, and shot accuracy. I like what the NHL has done to their All-Star game, and it is just too dangerous to get players out on the ice hitting for no reason in an exhibition.

The NFL Pro-Bowl is the worst. The players do not care at all, and the NFL is not really doing anything. Football obviously has a higher risk of injury than all of these except hockey, but the NFL can do different things to make the game more enjoyable for fans. One change has been made. Last year, the NFL added a skills challenge packed with dodgeball, an obstacle course, and best catches. But more can be done. If the players do not want to play a full pads game, they can go for a game of seven-on-seven football. The idea of seven-on-seven is all passing with only seven players per team, no lineman except for a center to snap the ball. The NFL could do a six team seven-on-seven tournament. The fans would vote in the players; then a middle linebacker and quarterback would be paired together. They would then draft their team.

The NBA game is all about the player attitudes. They do not care. Basketball can still be dangerous, but compared to football or hockey, it is much safer. If the players would be willing to play harder, it would be interesting. However, the players will not care until they have a real reason, a green reason. The NBA could promise bonuses to the players of the winning team, giving the players a reason to play to win.

Lastly, the MLB is one of the most watchable games. It is a typical baseball game, but pitchers pitch for two innings, tops. They could stay as it is, or to make this a little for interesting, pick four celebrities to pick teams with players voted on by fans. The team would play a three-inning game, tournament style. The other change the MLB should make is a true skills challenge, they have a home run derby, but they do not have a legit skills challenge like the other sports. They could do an outfielder’s accuracy and far throw contest, a pitch speed contest, and stick with the homerun derby.

Those sports all need to make a change. Baseball’s change is relatively small, and hockey’s may just be too dangerous, but football and basketball need to change. Hopefully, they will, but I am not really expecting it.

The Unbeatables play Underdogs in Super Bowl LII today

By: JD McKay and Adam Hynes

This Sunday will double as one of the best and worst days of the year. The best part does not need any explaining, but it is the worst because we will need to wait six months until the first NFL preseason game. Plus, Tom Brady’s going to win, which will ruin my February.

First, two weeks ago I picked Brady to lose to Blake Bortles. I will never again pick Brady to lose a playoff game at home while Bill Belichick is the head coach. Or at least until he is in his 50s and had won his 15th Super Bowl the year before.

Now seriously, Brady is the most successful quarterback in NFL history, and I would be foolish to pick him over Nick Foles. Foles is a solid NFL starting quarterback, but Brady is too clutch and too experienced and too good to lose this year.

One factor that will play a role Sundey is the health of Rob Gronkowski. Gronk is a beast anywhere, but especially in the red-zone. However, last week Gronk got hit against his head and left the game with a concussion. He practiced with the team Saturday, and he will play probably play Sunday, but if he does not make it out of concussion protocol on time that could give the Eagles a much needed boost to bump them toward winning their first Super Bowl.

Bottom Line- The only way for the Eagles to win is to play the whole game like the Jaguars first half last Sunday, and not blow it like the Falcons did last year. Unfortunately, the Patriots Belichick and Brady dynasty are too good to let that happen again, and Patriots proved last Sunday they can beat one of the best defenses in the NFL. I think the Jaguars’ defense and the Eagles’ defense are comparable, so I am taking the Patriots 33-28.

 

It is the matchup no one’s been waiting for: Tom Brady vs. Nick Foles.

Most people are not going to like it, but I am pretty sure we all know who is going to win Super Bowl LII. The New England Patriots are going to win, and it probably will not be close. That is, unless Nick Foles does not throw for three touchdowns, 350 yards and no picks like he did last game against the Vikings, which I highly doubt could happen again, especially against the Patriots.

The Pats have looked unbeatable throughout the whole season. They started the postseason by thumping the Titans 35-14 in the AFC divisional round, then played a close game in the AFC championship game at the Jaguars. The Patriots still came out on top, but we all knew what the result was going to be from the start. I am pretty sure all of America, including me, expects nothing different from what we have seen from them all season.

The Eagles have their strong spots, with a better defense than the Pats and how well they played in their 38-7 blowout win against the Vikings. When you take it down to the wire, however, the Patriots are just too skilled of a team to be beaten. They have most likely the greatest quarterback and coach of all time, the best tight end in the league, and are just better than the Eagles. I think Philadelphia will give them a good game for the first half, but the Patriots will pull away in the second half for a lopsided win.

Final score: New England 37 Philadelphia 17

Column: Strong defenses lead teams to NFL conference championships

By JD McKay

The Blake Bortles-led Jacksonville Jaguars will beat the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots in Foxborough Sunday afternoon. This will certainly not be because of Bortles, who is probably the worst QB still left in the NFL playoffs, but the Sacksonville defense will eat Brady alive. Brady is at his worst when he is hit several times. In playoff games where he is sacked four or more times he is 2-3. One of his wins was last year in the Super Bowl where the Falcons blew a 28-3, lead and the other was in 2005 against the Jaguars where he won 28-3.

New England’s attempt to compensate for that will be a monster name Rob Gronkowski, the man probably grown in Bill Belichick’s basement. The Jaguars will need to take him away in short passes with Jalen Ramsey to get their pass rushes to Brady.

Final score- Jags 21- Patriots 20

In the NFL we have quite possibly the goofiest QB matchup in an NFL title game ever. Nick Foles is starting for the Eagles because MVP candidate Carson Wentz is injured. Playing for the Vikings is undrafted previously backup quarterback Case Keenum. The Eagles have the upperhand in this category, but it is like have a C- instead of a D+. The Eagles have a ridiculously talented group of running backs. Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount should make stopping the Eagles in the red zone nearly impossible. The Vikings have a defense that should be able to keep Philadelphia out of the redzone. While the Eagles are at home, the Vikings have one thing on their side, “Bring it Home.”

“Bring it Home” has been the saying Minnesota this season because Super Bowl LII is set to be played in Minnesota at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings will be competing for their city and the chance to be the first team to play the Super Bowl at their home stadium.

Final score- Vikings 31- Eagles 13