Tag Archives: football

Baddude prepares to roll on to Wheaton

Story by J.D. McKay

This weekend, I made my official football visit at Wheaton College. It was one of the best weekends I can remember, including the weekend of the Jeffersonville sectional championship game. 

I started looking at colleges my freshman year. We would visit two or three each spring break. I was looking for a Christian school, with great academics, chapel, and hopefully a football team. 

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Last Spring Break I visited Wheaton for the first time. I talked to since retired head coach Mike Swider and was introduced to my recruiting coach and Wheaton’s Defensive Coordinator, CJ Nightingale. Since then, I have been up to campus for football junior day over the summer, a football game day visit against Washington University (Wheaton won 52-13 after scoring 35 points in the first quarter), and then a ROTC scholarship interview before this weekend. 

On the way up Thursday afternoon, I checked the ROTC scholarship web page and saw I received the four-year scholarship to Wheaton College. That means 100 percent full tuition, saving my family and me over 40,000 dollars a year. It was the only school that I received the four-year scholarship to. As I heard Coach Swider say over 20 times in the three times I heard him speak, “Thank You, Jesus.” 

mom dad and meThen, I got onto campus and got to talk to a few other coaches and share the good news with Coach Nightingale. He was genuinely about as excited for me receiving the scholarship as my parents and grandparents are. After listening to interim head coach Jesse Scott talk about Wheaton’s program philosophy, I was introduced to my roommates for the weekend. We went to bed early because there was a 6 a.m. workout the following day. 

We woke up at 5:20 a.m. for the optional workout. After the workout, I went to breakfast, a class, and chapel. Following chapel, I had my meeting with Coach Scott. During that meeting, he made an official offer to be on the team. I could have signed it in the meeting room, but he suggested we wait at least a day and take it home. That meant that pretty much everything I wanted and more had worked out. It was a school with chapel, a Christian school, and a chance to play football. Plus, I had a way to pay for it. 

After that meeting, I went to another class and had two other meetings with coaches before working out with the players. Then, we ate dinner and went up to the room for a few minutes. The team building activity for that Friday night was dodgeball. It was pretty crazy. We went to Los Burritos Tapatios. Finally, we headed back to play shirtless poker. 

Throughout the day, I saw what I had heard every coach I talked to say: The reason you go to Wheaton is not for the facilities (which are good), the food (which is also good), or the academics (which are great), you go for the people. The guys I lifted with, hung out with, and stayed with were all great guys who were pushing each other to the cross. That was exactly what I wanted, so at about 2 a.m. in Traber room 609, I signed the sheet and Little Brass Bell incoming
decided I will continue my academic career and play football at Wheaton for the next four years. 

I am extremely excited to be a Wheaton Thunder for the next four years. I am looking forward to playing for Coach Nightingale, who ran the best defense statistically at any level in college football this year. I am also excited to hang out with Christian guys all the time. But, I am looking forward to playing for the Little Brass Bell with North Central, conference championships and hopefully, national championships. Let’s Roll.

 

Previewing the NFL Conference Championships

By J.D. McKay

Well, after the National Championship Monday night, we have three real football games left this season. So, I thought I would give my take on the next two. 

Titans vs Chiefs 3:30

I have been picking the Titans throughout the playoffs. They have dominated the game by running the ball with Derrick Henry, which is one of the most important parts of any playoff run. They have also done two things considered impossible throughout the regular season: beating the high power Ravens offense, and beating the Patriots in New England in the playoffs. However, neither offense was as good throwing the ball as Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are. The Chiefs have also probably had this weekend marked since they lost to the Patriots in OT last year. The Chiefs are going to come out hotter than they did against the Texans. The Chiefs will win, probably by quite a bit, even with the Titans terrific ground game. Final Score- Chiefs 35- Titans 17

Packers vs 49ers 6:40

This game I am expecting to be about as close as the early game, so not much of a game. I am not very convinced with the Packers. They have barely beaten some bad teams, like the Lions in Week 17. They seemed to just slide in as the two seed. The 49ers dismantled the Vikings last week, the Vikings were coming off a big win too, so they had some momentum. The 49ers also have a very strong defense, which should give the Packers more problems than they had last week against the Seahawks. Final Score 49ers 31- Packers 17 

 

Indiana rallies around Bowsman family with football

Photos Courtesy of Noah Lukinovich

Story by J.D. McKay

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West Washington’s field lit up for anyone who wanted to come by and remember their deceased coach. Photo courtesy of Noah Lukinovich


Earlier this year, I wrote a column about how sports can make an enormous impact on a community and nation. It focused on national tragedies with a focus on 9/11
because I published it on 9/11. 

Recently, another heart breaking event happened in the area with the passing of head West Washington football coach and athletic director Phillip Bowsman. He died unexpectedly in the hospital on Nov. 25 after suffering a stroke during the semi-state championship game on Nov. 22. His son was the starting quarterback for the team. 

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FC’s field lit from a distance. Photo courtesy of Noah Lukinovich


But the state has rallied around the Bowsman family. Last Friday night, the memorial was held on West Washington’s field. But as this was happening, schools all over the state were turning on their football field lights to remember coach Bowsman. The first school to do it was Southwestern. They do not have a football field but had a moment of silence and lit their basketball gym with cell phone flash lights to remember the coach. 

By the time Friday came around, this was known throughout the whole state. A few colleges and many high schools began posting pictures of their lit-up football fields with the hashtag Bowsmanstrong. From what I could find, the number was at least 153 schools, but possibly as many as 291, including at least seven out of eight HHC teams. That also includes two schools in Iowa, Bishop Garrigan, over a 10-hour drive away, and North Scott. 

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A few people wander off West Washington’s field after visiting Bowsman’s memorial. Photo courtesy of Noah Lukinovich


This is an incredibly sad story. But it shows the power sports have. One simple action, turning on stadium lights, shows that the Bowsman family was not alone, and the whole state was think of them in their tough time.  

 

Baddude reflects on football career before college

Photo by Brock Kennedy

Story by J.D. McKay

My football career in southern Indiana is over. My last season was exciting. We won sectionals. We also beat New Albany, Jeff, and Providence. It is crazy that it is over. 

I started playing football when I was three years old. I would run routes with my dad, and if I could not get anyone to play with me, I would throw the football up to myself as Peyton Manning and run under it as Dallas Clark. I also would play football in my living room. Astonishingly, I have no scars on my head or body from running into furniture, the fireplace, or mantle during these games. However, I did lose my second tooth playing football with my dad. 

Fast forward to when I was seven, and I played flag football for the first time. Since then, I have not missed a year of football. After one year of flag, I played tackle for the first time. My dad was always one of my coaches. I played almost every skill position on offense in Little League. However, I spent most of my time at QB. One of my funniest memories from Little League was my center, senior linebacker and center Adam Hynes, wearing a cup when I was under center. Another good memory came from fourth grade. My team, the Bengals, beat the undefeated Colts in the Super Bowl, winning my only little league championship. I still have that trophy. 

In fifth grade, my dad started coaching at Highland Hills. He suggested to head FC coach Brian Glesing that he have some actual ball boys instead of injured players having the balls ready during the game. So, starting in fifth grade, I have been on the sideline at all but about two Friday night games, except for my freshman year. 

One of the most memorable games came from fifth grade at Jennings County. It rained, snowed and sleeted like crazy that game. The weird thing was, the whole day was warm, so most people were unprepared for the cold, including several coaches, who wore shorts the whole game. 

Seventh grade was my worst season by record. However, the next year coach Tom Hodge became head coach and we were 7-1. The QB-to-TE connection senior Trace Willman and I had that year was like Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. I caught a ball from him one handed, and, of course, tripped as I turned upfield. He also delivered a perfect pass that I did not trip on and took 40 yards for the game tying touchdown against River Valley. The next play, D-1 senior kicker Cole Hussung took in the two-point conversion for the win. That was the last TD I scored until this year. 

My freshman year, I saw a potential opening on varsity the following year and moved to guard as well as playing linebacker. The paid off the next season when I started as guard from Week 4 on. 

Week 3 of that year was against Madison. It was just after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, so the remains of it were on their way up. It hit us during the game and was the coldest, wettest, nastiest game I have ever played in. 

Unfortunately, the injury bug hit us that game but it opened up a varsity spot for me. Eventually, we pounded the ball against New Albany for two straight games and won the Anchor and the first round of sectionals. That team was very good, but unfortunately, we lost to Columbus East, who was on their way to a state championship. I like to say that we were their closest game, though, only losing to them by 30. 

Last year, I was hit with my first injury in football. I was out from the fifth play of the first game to Week 4. Unfortunately, we were 5-5 last season. I got to play with the best player I have played with so far in Tyler Edwards. He was excellent at hitting creases at running back and reading plays as an outside linebacker.

I also played LB with Levi Hamby. He started playing his sophomore year after going to Christian Academy. He showed underclassmen what great work ethic was. He had to work very hard to even have a chance at playing varsity after starting late. But, he put in work in the weight room and on the field, eventually leading the team in tackles. 

This season was my favorite season of football so far, though. I am sure everyone reading this is shocked by that. I was a captain along with senior Calvin Brown. We won sectionals for the first time in 10 years, completed the sweep (beat New Albany, Jeff, and Providence every year for four years), and finished 9-3. In Week 3 against Vincennes Lincoln, we had six picks. I had one, and Willman took one for six with a cast on his left hand. The next week, we tied the record for the biggest margin of victory against the Dogs, beating them 50-14. We started down 0-14 that game but scored 50 unanswered. The following week, we beat Jeff in the National Guard jerseys. I think I gained a lot of confidence that game that carried through the rest of the season. 

The first round of sectionals was another close, physical battle with Bedford (check out my column on the BNL FC rivalry https://fchsbagpiper.wordpress.com/2019/11/06/bedford-football-rivalry-has-grown-recently/). Then, the next week, we won sectionals. I had my first TD since eighth grade after the Jeff running back fumbled the pitch and after trying to grab it, knocked it into the ground and into my hands. That play has been my favorite individual moment of playing football. Our defense played lights out against Jeff and gave up 0 defensive points. Last Friday was my last high school game. We were up 14-13 at half but stalled in the second half, eventually losing 40-14. I had a pick on the second play of the half, but it did not matter. 

Next year, I am hoping to play football at Wheaton College in Illinois, with a bunch of dudes who love Jesus, as well as a coach who loves Jesus and also has a win percentage over .800 and is ranked third in Division 3 currently.

 

Highlanders finish season 14-40 against Bloomington South