Page 1


RUNNING SUCCESS While all four local running backs have made their presence felt to opponents all around Southern Indiana with their moves and cuts, they’ve also all played a key role in helping lead their respective programs as mentors and vocal leaders. Page 12.



With a solid core, the Wildcats are looking to make some noise in the Big Eight and beyond. Page 2.

The defending 2A champs have the pieces to make another deep run in the postseason. Page 4.

The Herald ■ YO U R C O M M U N I T Y N E W S PA P E R S I N C E 1 8 9 5 D U B O I S C O U N T Y H E R A L D. C O M


FOREST PARK New starters highlight Forest Park’s deepest team to date. Page 8.

HERITAGE HILLS After a 5-5 season in 2017, the Pats have high hopes for a bounce back year. Page 10.




Members of the Jasper Football team are, from left, first row: cheerleaders Julia Gobert, Ella Kelly, Emily Rennie, Kylie Patterson, Jaysee Pierce, Olivia Biggs, Brynn Sermersheim, Olivia Ariens, Cade Crutchfield, Courtney Vennekotter, Zoe Biggs, Jurney Sturgeon, Breann Mehringer, Ava Collins, Brynn Schwartz, Hallie Hubert, Taylor Bachman and Brooke Johnson. Second row: Landon Betz, Gabe Lehane, Will Smith, Carter Gentry, Reece Milligan, Jadon Mehringer, Jacob Ahlbrand, Trevor Krapf, Corbin Weisensteiner, Lawson Land, Zach Rydberg, Zachary Flynn, Will Sternberg, Tyson Brandt and Kyle Hedinger. Third row: Ronnie Monge, Sam Kluemper, Caden Schmitt, Nathan Schmitt, Tyson Schwenk, Dalton Moore, Isaac Bartley, Corbin Libbert, Lance Schmitt, Phillip Noblitt, Zach Watson, Abhay Rathee, Hagan Patton and Drake Siegel. Fourth row: Daniel Berg, Ben Schroeder, Emerich Leinenbach, Kadon Hurm, Cale Lichlyter, Mitch Kaiser, Kade Love, David Uebelhor, Kole Terwiske, Collin Cassidy, Jackson Kabrick, Ethan Lents, Nathan Rillo, Lucas Ortega, Daniel Uebelhor and Joe Wood. Fifth row: Liam Kibby, Noah Willoughby, Cordell Padgett, Ethan Gardiner, Ross Peter, Gavin Hopf, Elliott Hopf, Carson Park, Grant Mehringer, Lance Dawkins, Cameron Weisheit, Christian Mehne, Zach Williams, Evan Crowder, Nick Buechlein, Tyler Kelly and Carson Chanley. Sixth row: Managers Ainsley Small, Claire Witte, Trevor Weisman, Drew Hurst, Kale Burke, Jace Hopf, Andrew Wallace, Will Collon, Jack Uebelhor, Quade Popp, Jalen Moya, Luke Ruckriegal, Luke Schmitt, managers Colby Kreilein, Skyler Padgett, Ava Noblitt and Sydney Small. Seventh row: Coaches Zack Beckman, Luke Keller, Joe Shelton, Geoff Mauck, Nick Eckert, Cameron Harris, Aaron Hohl, Tony Ahrens, Jarrod Land, Chris Tucker, equipment manager Jim Waddell, team physician Dr. Dean Beckman, Ben Mundy, Shawn Kane, Brock Goggins and Conner Persohn.

Expectations are high for balanced Wildcats By JONATHAN SAXON Tony Ahrens has made one thing perfectly clear: he isn’t going to be satisfied with members of the Jasper football team resting on their laurels or thinking that success will come without putting in elbow grease. Going into his sixteenth season with the Wildcats, Ahrens is quick to talk about how on-field wins won’t just happen because of talent; the practice reps and other forms of preparation are just as important as strength, speed, and fast-twitch reflexes when it comes to the Wildcats performing their best under the Friday night lights. In Ahrens’ experience, it’s a lesson that sometimes takes awhile for the players to grasp. “It’s interesting, you can have a really good athlete and can’t get anything out of them because he just doesn’t understand you’re talented, but you still have to work,” he said. “But we have a bunch of guys that are working very hard and they’re looking forward to our season. They feel like they can be good, but feeling like you can be good and actually going out and doing it are two different things.” Ahrens is returning a lot of kids from the last season’s team that went 8-3 and won their first round sectional game before falling to Evansville Central. But this season they’re looking on to bigger and better things as they prepare for another gridiron campaign. Ahrens will be looking towards players who can replace the contributions of guys like Justin Persohn, Malik Chatman, and Eric Nordhoff, leaders who understand what a situation calls for and are willing and able to step up and deliver when it counts. “I think a lot of times you have to find the pulse of your team, and your leadership has to be in place,” he said. “You got to have guys that the team respects and can get it done by example. Guys willing to speak up and get everbody to do the right thing.” Here is a preview of the season for the Jasper Wildcats.

2018 Schedule All Times EST Aug. 17 — at Evansville Memorial, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 24 — at Southridge, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 31 — BOONVILLE*, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7 — HERITAGE HILLS, 8 p.m. Sept. 14 — VINCENNES LINCOLN*, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 — at Princeton*, 8 p.m. Sept. 28 — MOUNT CARMEL*, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5 — WASHINGTON*, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12 — at Mount Vernon*, 8 p.m. *conference opponent In a perfect world, Ahrens would love to simply line up his offense — which averaged a little over 33 points per game last season — get the line of scrimmage established, and run the football down an opponent’s throat until they screamed, “no mas.” But, the former running back knows that offensive flexibility and being able to get the ball to his guys in good scoring positions will be key for the times they run up against teams that can match Jasper’s physicality. While he is a big believer in letting the run game set up passes, he won’t be afraid to mix in some spread formations to get the athletes in space and take advantage of one-on-one matchups that the Wildcats feel they can exploit. Here is a look at the team’s position groups on offense. Quarterback Ahrens was adamant in his stance that leadership is the key that unlocks good things for a football team, and on the offensive end that mantle rests with the quarterback. The signal caller this fall will be senior Jacob Albrand. In addition to having a good arm, Ahlbrand also sports a good pair of wheels that can be used to extend the play or give opposing defenses something to think about if he decides to pull the ball down and run. Junior Nathan Rillo is the second QB on the roster and will be the backup option for the Wildcats. Running back The backfield is full of talent for Jasper. Junior Elliot Hopf figures to be the main

go-to back, but he probably will not be used as the typical three-down back as Ahrens plans to use a mixture of ball carriers for different situations to give the Wildcats flexibility in their gameplanning. Ahrens also highlighted his fullbacks like seniors Zachary Flynn and Zach Watson as well as junior Carson Park, who will be key in establishing those lead blocks and operating in short yardage situations. Receivers/Tight Ends Ahrens’ mandate for the receiver group is simple: they will stay on the field if they catch the ball. But in addition to that he wants guys on the field who run good routes and are able to manage their spacing to make themselves open targets for Ahlbrand. Senior Reece Milligan, who will also see carries out of the backfield, will be the number one option out wide. Senior Phillip Noblitt will also be catching passes from the tight end position. There are a slew of younger guys behind them that will get opportunities at passes this season, but their routes must be clean and hands must be certain if they want to solidify their place on the field. Offensive Line Jasper is returning quite a few linemen from last season who hope to open the holes in the run game and create the wall around the QB in the passing game. Seniors Will Sternberg, Carter Gentry, Lawson Land, Jadon Mehringer and Trevor Krapf will be doing most of the heavy lifting for the Wildcats, but the team will also have the luxury of depth on the line with guys like juniors Gavin Hopf and Sam Kluemper who can step up and fill assignments to keep guys fresh during the course of a game. Jasper’s intent is to be active and aggressive on the defensive side of the ball, where the Wildcats gave up an average of 16.5 points a game last season. They don’t want to give opposing offenses the time to get comfortable and allow them to get into a rhythm during their games. The Wildcats

want to be able to put pressure on teams in order to disrupt their timing and movements, which in turn could lead to big plays as the game moves forward. Here’s a look at the defenders who will be lining up for Jasper. Defensive Line The activity and chaos will start along the defensive line, as Ahrens wants his guys slashing into the backfield as that first wave of pressure for their opponents. Seniors Zach Rydberg, Watson, Mehringer, and Gentry will be tasked will busting up offensive linemen as they make their pushes to sniff out the football. But again, Ahrens and the coaches plan on moving a lot of bodies in and out on the line to keep up with game situations and make sure players get a breather so they can keep operating at a high level. Linebackers The linebacker corps will be anchored by Park and senior Kyle Hedinger. Ahrens said both of those players have great understanding of the game and know how to be physical on the field. The rest of the linebackers fall in behind those two. Secondary Ahrens was noncommittal when it came to the topic of defensive backs. He mentioned Ahlbrand and juniors Mitch Kaiser and Kadon Hurm when asked about who stood out, but he also said that there were still quite a few guys trying to earn their position. Jasper will look to have a lot of those questions answered after their first game of the season. Special Teams While Jasper graduated a few key members of their special teams unit last year, including kicker Jacob Lents and return man Malik Chatman, the Cats feel confident in the group they have this season. Soccer star Jackson Kabrick will be the team’s kicker while Rillo will handle punting duties. Milligan, Hopf and Isaac Bartley will be the returners.







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Members of the Southridge Football team are, from left, first row: Rhiley Peters, Allyson Buening, Kendall Radabaugh, Abbi Hall, Madelyn Lau, Elisha Painter, Chaney Barrett, Kiesha Wampler, Kira DeWitt, Hannah Barnett, Baileigh Schneider, Ansley Bicknell, Lexi Flores, Jenifer Najarro, Bailey Prickett, Alivia Reese, Braylee Reese, Caitlyn Lee, Grace Middleton and Paola Valenciano. Second row: Tyler Bolen, Seth Nunamaker, Logan Seger, Tucker Schank, Joe LaGrange, Caden Harmon, Matthew Price, Ben Hudson, Tristan Boerner, Wyatt Kramer, Jayvin Thewes, Matt Gentry, Devin Murphy, Derek Brunsman and Jeovany Dubon. Third row: Jesse Prickett, Weston Allen, Wes Keusch, Sam Schroeder, Brad Springer, Sebastian Street, Austin Kaeck, Cort Gerber, Jeffrey Echeverria, Jude Songer, Jadon Culbertson, Cole Calvert, Garrett Voegerl, Cade Patton, Conner Oxley, Austin Burton, Chanler Balsmeyer and Trevor Hunefeld. Fourth row: Reece Siddons, Gavin Duncan, Junior Zarate, Austin Hayes, Colson Montgomery, Leyton Lauderdale, Sam Sermersheim, Erik Hernandez, Mike Will, Luke Lange, Quinn Barnett, Parker Kippenbrock, Adam Jochem, Matt Springer, Elijah Horton, Gabe Wilkey, Kaleb Wibbeler, Aidan Blessinger and Kade Tretter. Fifth row: Michael Price, Andrew Conlin, Jace Bieker, Hunter Eckert, Cameron Fuesler, Carson Niehaus, Camden Gasser, Chase Taylor, Rick Pflanz, Kaden Neukam, Cayden Andrews, Colton Polley, Matthew Altmeyer, Christian Calderon, Noah Abbott and Christian Andasol. Sixth row: Jax Nicholson and Aidan Jochem. Seventh row: Brad Ohanian, Evan Michel, Pic Jones, Chad Wertman, Steve Winkler, Scott Buening, Jay Maxey and Luke Messmer.

Talented Raiders have another run in sight By HENDRIX MAGLEY If you look up and down Southridge’s football roster, one thing becomes very clear almost immediately — the Raiders have the pieces to make another run at a Class 2A title. After defeating Woodlan 15-14 in a state championship thriller last year, the Raiders knew they would be moving from several key pieces of that team including quarterback Jayce Harter and linebacker/ defensive end Mitchell Carter. But with the playmakers the Raiders still have intact and with the plethora of newcomers who will look to make an immediate impact, Southridge looks geared up for the future. Here’s a breakdown of Southridge’s roster by position group: Quarterback Losing a veteran as smart and gritty as Jayce Harter would be tough for any team, but the Raiders will have a new player taking the snaps from the center and wearing the No. 2 jersey this season in the form of sophomore Colson Montgomery. Even though he’s making his debut as a starting quarterback for the Raiders this season, Montgomery is no stranger to the spotlight, as his basketball and baseball performances for Southridge last season turned heads across the state. Raider head coach Scott Buening believes that experience will pay dividends for Montgomery this season. “He’s played in so many high-level games, whether it’s the summer tournaments he plays in or the basketball and baseball postseason tournaments,” Buening said. “We need a guy that’s composed, who can lead and can handle the lights, and that’s him. You take those things and put the physical attributes together, he has the ability to make things happen.” Buening has been impressed with Montgomery’s arm strength and the touch he can put on the ball as well as the ability to make something out of a play after it breaks down. Running back Southridge will have an extremely ex-

2018 Schedule All Times EST Aug. 17 — LINTON, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 24 — JASPER, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 31 — at Forest Park*, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7 — at North Posey*, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14 — SOUTH SPENCER*, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 — at Tell City*, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28 — HERITAGE HILLS*, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5 — at Pike Central*, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12 — at Gibson Southern*, 7:30 p.m. * = conference opponent perienced and talented backfield led by allconference rusher Tucker Schank. Schank, who scored 26 rushing touchdowns last season, is hoping the veteran leadership of himself as well as juniors Cole Calvert and Brad Springer will help Montgomery feel comfortable in the pocket during stressful situations. “(Montgomery) knows if he has any questions about the offense, then he can ask me because me and Jayce (Harter) memorized the entire thing our sophomore year,” Schank said with a laugh. “We want him to have the confidence to run at full speed like the rest of us do.” A new member to the Southridge backfield this season will be senior Seth Nunamaker. Nunamaker acted as a safety and as the Raiders’ backup quarterback last season, but this year will see time as a running back as well due to his explosive speed. Senior Caden Harmon, junior Cort Gerber and sophomore Colton Gasser will also rotate in at running back while junior Chanler Balsmeyer will see time at fullback. Receivers/Tight Ends The Raiders graduated a couple of key offensive weapons in Grant Maxey and Colin Smith, but Southridge will still have plenty of targets for Montgomery’s arsenal. In fact, Buening says “this is the best core of receivers we’ve had” from wingbacks to tight ends to split ends. Matt Price (27 receptions, 346 yards) and Garrett Voegerl (7 receptions, 110 yards) will be two of the top targets for Montgomery, as both of them can be utilized in different fashions. Buening says Price is a “good

route runner,” while Voegerl is coming off an impressive sophomore season. A new weapon in the Raiders’ offensive arsenal this season is senior Joe LaGrange. LaGrange will be positioned as a split end, as he’s playing his first competitive football since elementary school. Buening says LaGrange has looked like an “old-school veteran” and has been able to track the deep ball well. Leading the tight end group will be senior Logan Seger and sophomore Chase Taylor — two players who will look for more receptions this season. Offensive Line/Defensive Line Southridge lost a few key pieces of its offensive line from the championship team last season, but the Raiders do regain a few key members such as all-conference linemen Wyatt Kramer and Matt Gentry at the tackle positions as well as returning starting center Devin Murphy. Juniors Sam Schroeder and Conner Oxley have spent the majority of the offseason at the two-guard positions, even though Buening admits they’re not the biggest of guys — Oxley comes in at 191 pounds and Schroeder at 172. “Those two guys would be fullbacks for a lot of teams, but they’re very tough and intelligent and they’ve had a great summer,” Buening said. Sophomore Leyton Lauderdale and senior Tyler Bolen have also rotated in at the guard positions, while senior Ben Hudson and junior Cade Patton have rotated in at the other tackle spots. On the defensive line, Gentry returns as a starter for the third consecutive year, and Hudson will also get a lot of playing time as a starter after some really good summer workouts, according to Buening. Kramer and Murphy will also spend a lot of time on the defensive line. Linebackers/Defensive Ends Buening is excited to have his “good core guys” back, including Seger and Calvert in the middle. Seger was one of the biggest stopgaps on the Raider defense last year with 651⁄2 tackles, while Calvert took Southern Indiana by surprise with his monstrous sopho-

more season as he led the area with a whopping 111 tackles (20 for loss, three fumble recoveries). “Logan will be a three-year starter for us, and Cole will be a second-year starter as a junior,” Buening said. “They’re just great instinctual kids, which is what we like.” Buening said Taylor has also had a great preseason at the linebacker position, while a group of five players will rotate in and out of the outside linebacker positions — junior Jude Songer, Springer, Balsmeyer, Schroeder and Oxley. Secondary Southridge had a ball-hawking secondary group last season, which helped them thwart many offensive attacks by their opponents as the Raiders finished with 25 total interceptions (led by Jacob Masterson’s seven) and 69 pass deflections (led by Maxey’s 17). While Masterson and Maxey have both graduated, the Raiders bring a strong group in to compete for playing time at both the safety positions as well as the corner spots. Schank, Nunamaker, Price and Gerber have all spent time rotating in at the safety positions this preseason — Schank and Nunamaker both had successful seasons in the secondary last year as they both had three interceptions each, while Schank swatted away 10 passes. At the corner positions it will be Voegerl, LaGrange, Gasser and Harmon getting the majority of playing time as Buening said he’s seen a lot of good play from the secondary in the offseason. Special Teams One of the most underrated units on Southridge’s roster in the special teams group led by senior kicker Jeovany Dubon. Dubon was 59 of 69 on PAT attempts last season (4 of 7 on field goal tries), while sending 21 kickoffs into the end zone for a touchback. The Raiders also return their other specialists — Taylor at punter (Buening said “I haven’t seen a kid kick and punt like he can”), Nunamaker at holder and Kramer at long snapper. Schank will be the primary kickoff return guy, but Buening says they have a plethora of other returners as well.



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Members of the Forest Park High School football team are, from left, first row: cheerleaders Olivia Englert, Madi Fleck, Ally Voegerl, Layne Prechtel, Marna Davis, Riley Prechtel, Kennedei Spencer, Audra Deel, Shielyn Nippers, Lauren Troesch, Liseth Trejos and Ava Evans. Second row: Chelsea Kenley, Drew Day, Nathan Hamilton, Swayde Moran, Gavin Pierce, Ryan Burke, Nick Werner, Zach Lueken, Abby Eckert and Emma Welp. Third row: Brandee Johannemann, Gavin Knust, Garret Berg, Jeremiah Erwin, Isaac Brosmer, Jared Schipp, Logan Smith, Reese Verkamp, Brennan Weyer and Ashtyn Welp. Fourth row: Trey Toby, Cole Mohr, Corbin Bell, Cory Uebelhor, Dylan Bays, Nolan Winkler, Landon Nalley and Caleb Moya. Fifth row: Jacob Bettag, Tyler Tretter, Anthony Weyer, Anderson Peters, Jake Begle, Daniel Eckert, Evan Hassfurther, Cooper Uebelhor, Beau Rasche and Issac Fuhrman. Sixth row: Brody Kluesner, Ethan Beckman, Chase Verkamp, Logan Ferguson, Kaden Bowman, Henry Hagedorn, Austin Hoppenjans, Ethan Hassfurther and Clayton Brames. Seventh row: Jeff Bettag, Matt Aders, Jesse Hagedorn, Ross Fuhs, Eric Hopkins and Nathan Lueken.

New faces bring energy to Ranger squad By HENDRIX MAGLEY Upon first glance of the Forest Park football roster, you’ll notice the Rangers are missing a few key names from last year’s team. Players such as Sam Englert (49 catches, 922 receiving yards, 11 touchdowns), Braydon Voegerl (77.5 tackles, 448 receiving yards, four touchdowns) and Noah Fleck (1,438 passing yards, 17 passing touchdowns) will have to be replaced as they have graduated from the Ranger football program. While losing players of that stature may be stressful for most football coaches, Forest Park boss Ross Fuhs feels confident about the Rangers’ roster this year, as this is one of the deepest teams Fuhs has seen in his tenure as head coach. “This is the most players we’ve had in a long time, which is very encouraging,” Fuhs said. “We have 44 on the roster this year, and we’re usually around 34 or 35 or so.” Here’s a breakdown of Forest Park’s roster by position group: Quarterback Forest Park will begin the 2018 season with a new quarterback at the helm in junior Garret Berg. While Berg is a junior, this will be his first year of extended playing time — at least the Rangers hope. Berg had a leg injury his freshman year, and then broke his collarbone at the beginning of his sophomore season. Through the work the Rangers have put in during the offseason, Fuhs has been impressed with what he’s seen from Berg. “He’s been learning, and every practice he’s gotten better,” Fuhs said. “He’s continued to learn reads and he’s done a nice job — hopefully we’ll be able to have him back there all season.” Senior running back Gavin Pierce has experience of playing a big role on the varsity team for the past three seasons and he’s hoping the experience he has at the running back position will rub off on Berg, a good friend of his. “Me and Garret have been best friends and we’ve played together since the sixth grade so we know each other really well,” Pierce said. “Your quarterback has to be your number one leader, and I have no

2018 Schedule All Times EST Aug. 17 — GIBSON SOUTHERN*, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 24 — at Perry Central, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 31 — SOUTHRIDGE*, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7 — at Tecumseh, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14 — at Pike Central*, 7 p.m. Sept. 21 — NORTH POSEY*, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28 — at South Spencer*, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5 — at Heritage Hills*, 8 p.m. Oct. 12 — TELL CITY*, 8 p.m. * = conference opponent doubt that he can do it — he just has to set his mind to it.” Junior Cory Uebelhor, who saw action last year when Fleck went down, will be his backup, and freshman Cooper Uebelhor will be the third-string QB. Running back The Rangers have had a tradition of a senior running back being the primary back, and 2018 will be no different with Pierce in the backfield. Pierce, who missed a little bit of game action last season due to injury, feels completely healthy and is looking forward to a strong senior campaign. “We’ve done a lot of extra stuff conditioning wise this offseason, so I feel really good about this year,” Pierce said. “To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect with a small senior class of just five guys, but I’m feeling pretty good about it — I like what I see so far.” The other backs the Rangers will feature are junior Drew Day (185 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns in 2017) and sophomore Jake Begle, who Fuhs said is coming off of a very strong junior varsity campaign as a freshman. Corbin Bell will line up in certain formations as the Rangers fullback. Receivers/Tight Ends While Forest Park graduated its two top receiving targets from a year ago (Englert and Voegerl), the Rangers do bring back some players with varsity experience as well as several who have had strong summer workouts. Junior Jared Schipp (107 receiving yards, two touchdowns) and senior Nathan Hamilton will be the primary wide receivers for Forest Park this season. Hamilton has been impressed with what he’s seen from the group so far this offseason.

“Our passing game this year is pretty even across the board,” Hamilton said. “I like our energy during practice, and I think if we just keep working hard and stay focused, we can do a lot of good things.” Cory Uebelhor will be the Rangers’ slot receiver, while juniors Isaac Brosmer and Cole Mohr will also rotate in and out at the wideout position. Junior Gavin Knust will line up as the team’s primary tight end, with junior Reese Verkamp as his backup. In terms of the group as a whole, Fuhs feels pretty confident about its abilities and also the amount of players at those positions who can make an impact. “At our skill positions we really have some depth at those spots,” Fuhs said. “We feel like if guys go down (with injuries), which we hope they don’t, we have some guys who can be put in there.” Offensive Line/Defensive Line Fuhs figures Forest Park will be pretty solid at the offensive line position, with three-year starter senior Nick Werner back at tackle along with senior Ryan Burke back at a guard spot after starting last season. Forest Park’s starting center will be junior Brennan Weyer, who has battled some injuries the past few years, while sophomore Dylan Bays and senior Zach Lueken, who Fuhs says has “earned his dues and earned his way into a starting spot,” will be the other starters at guard and tackle, respectively. Junior Logan Smith has also spent some time rotating in and out with the starting offensive line group. Forest Park will be without senior Swayde Morgan more than likely for the entire season as he continues to deal with a lingering knee injury that’s caused him issues. While the Rangers have the size up front, Fuhs is hoping his guys continue to get better with the more varsity games they have under their belt. “We’ve got a lot of young guys that we can fit in as well, but when you’re putting freshmen and sophomores in against the big boys on the other side, it’s tough,” Fuhs said. On the defensive line, Knust is coming off of a big year at the defensive end spot (22 tackles, two fumble recoveries), while Day will be moved to the other defensive end spot due to Morgan’s injury. The Rangers will use Werner and Lueken at the defensive tackle spots, while Burke and Bays will also rotate in and spend some

time on the defensive line. Linebackers Forest Park’s linebacking group will be led by Knust, who will split time between the defensive end spot as well as at linebacker. Knust will primarily be in the middle when he plays linebacker, while Bell, who got to see a little bit of time as a linebacker last season, will also play in the middle at times. The Rangers will use three primary players as their outside linebackers including Mohr, Verkamp and sophomore Jake Begle. Secondary Forest Park will look to try and knock down more passes and swipe more interceptions this season, as the Rangers intercepted just a total of five passes in 2017 — one of those, however, was returned for a touchdown in a 35-0 rout of Perry Central. The Rangers’ secondary will be pretty much the same as their receiving core, with Hamilton, Brosmer, Mohr, Schipp and Cory Uebelhor holding down those spots. Schipp had a pair of interceptions last season and will try to build off of the success he had as a sophomore into a successful junior campaign. Hamilton is happy with the depth Forest Park has in its secondary, and is also pleasantly pleased with the effort the younger players have shown throughout the offseason. “I feel like our starters are pretty strong, and we also have some developing new talent,” Hamilton said. “Some of the freshmen and sophomores and guys that have played on JV for a little bit now are putting in some work, so we’ll have some depth.” Special Teams It’s not out of the ordinary for teams to have a soccer player line up as their team’s kicker during football season, but it isn’t everyday that you see a female kicker on the sidelines. Abby Eckert, one of Forest Park’s primary weapons on the soccer pitch, has impressed Fuhs and is expected to be the team’s field goal kicker as well as extra point specialist, while Day will handle kickoffs and punts. Eckert isn’t the first female kicker Forest Park has had — soccer star Madisyn Hunt kicked for the Rangers before transferring to Jasper, and Gina Bettag handled kicking duties for Forest Park in 2010.


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Members of the Heritage Hills football team are, from left, first row: cheerleaders Chloe Johnson, Claire Cronin, Summer Weedman, Peyton Roedel, Hailey Ruxer, Taylor West, Karlie Tischendorf, Emily Frakes, Madison Smith, Rachel Martin, Macie Tullis, Tori Hartwig and Destiny Curtis. Second row: Carson Leibering, Kyndell Carter, Cade Jones, Jordan Hitz, Graham Turner, Aidian Rea, Dakoda Ebert, Dylan Begle, Ben Gordon, Grant Lashley, Zane Schaad and Tyler Brock. Third row: Coach Chris Sigler, Coach Troy Fischer, Coach Kevin Tempel, Spencer Vaal, Cole Sigler, Phoenix Rodgers, Gavin Vaal, Kaden Feldpausch, Jacob Wetzel, Mark Doyle, Cody Frakes, Wes Fleischmann, Alex Hasty, Hunter Wetzel, Noah Mundy, Markus Fahrner, Christopher Barboza, Tyler Litkenhus, Coach Stan Jochim, Coach Adam Knies and Head Coach Todd Wilkerson. Fourth row: Jakob Garrett, Trenton Hill, Erik Thomas, Eli Harney, Dawson Vaal, Adam Guth, David Garmon, Caleb Hayden, Jacob Schmidt, Jordan Mitchell, Garrett Nix, Cody Bolen, Zach Braun, Kolton Brown and Jeremy Merkley.

Pats hopeful that return to roots pays dividends By JONATHAN SAXON The Heritage Hills Patriots are looking to bounce back from a 5-5 season that saw them start off with a three-game win streak before they hit a four-game skid. Heritage Hills coach Todd Wilkerson characterized last season as a function of having a pretty young team, with sophomores filling the starting lineup. They were also plagued by a lackluster running game, which averaged 137 yards per game last season. This offseason, the Pats have been working on strengthening their ground game, and are looking for last year’s starters to take a step forward as they get back to the basics of football in search of a season of progress. “When you struggle through a year playing younger kids, the next year you get to reap some of those benefits,” said Wilkerson, who is entering his sixth year as the head coach for Heritage Hills. “We only had seven seniors last year, so a lot of young kids got experience and I think that’s going to pay off this year.” And in keeping with the thread, the crop is bountiful this season, as the Patriots will be returning 18 players who were starters or saw significant game action last season. Of course the boys are one season wiser in playing high school football, and already showing early signs of playing faster and with more cofidence, but Wilkerson also is trying to hit reset on the program a little bit. He believes the team, particularly on offense, has fallen into the trap of trying to do too much, and he wants to “get back to our roots” and establish a consistent football identity so that his guys aren’t playing outside of themselves or their abilities. The thought is if the Patriots are able to understand and execute a few key concepts well, that will serve them better than trying to do a whole lot of things and stretching themselves thin on the field. “When you try to change your system and you start dabbling in things, I think we tried to do too many things offensively. So we haven’t executed very well,” Wilker-

2018 Schedule All Times EST Aug. 17 — MOUNT VERNON, 8 p.m. Aug. 24 — TELL CITY*, 8 p.m. Aug. 31 — at Pike Central*, 8 p.m. Sept. 7 — at Jasper, 8 p.m. Sept. 14 — NORTH POSEY*, 8 p.m. Sept. 21 — at Gibson Southern*, 8 p.m. Sept. 28 — at Southridge*, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5 — FOREST PARK*, 8 p.m. Oct. 12 — SOUTH SPENCER*, 8 p.m. * = conference opponent son said. “This year we focused as a staff to scale things back and make sure the kids know what they’re doing.” If all goes according to the season-long gameplan, Wilkerson expects his team to challenge for the conference crown, and if they’re playing well enough heading into the postseason, anything can happen at that point. Here is a preview of the season for the Heritage Hills Patriots. Heritage Hills posted a respectable 30 points per game last season, but Wilkerson has decided to move away from the spread offensive system and go with the flexbone to reestablish the power run game for the Patriots. From there they will be able to run triple option packages, use their fullbacks, and set up play-action in the passing game. He likes what he has seen in terms of the kids running the offense in practice and in their scrimmage, and can’t wait to test the system against other teams in live games. Everything will hinge on setting up a formidable ground presence. Here is a look at the position groups. Quarterback Junior Cole Sigler will get the start at QB after splitting time with Cade Jones toward the end of last season. Wilkerson said Sigler is one of the fastest guys on the team, so he’ll be a dual-threat weapon that teams have to account for whenever he has the ball in his hands. Sophomore Jacob Schmidt will be backing up Sigler. Running back Senior Cade Jones, who started at QB for Heritage Hills last season, will be switch-

ing to running back this season. He will be joined in the backfield by junior fullbacks Jacob Wetzel and Phoenix Rodgers. Senior Kyndell Carter will also be seeing touches, as well as junior Gavin Vaal and senior Zane Schaad. Wide Receivers/Tight Ends The Pats will have a lot of bodies between their wideouts and tight ends, but Wilkerson has told them they will be doing a lot blocking on the edge to help the run game. It won’t be glorious all the time, but when the passing lanes open up, they will be seeing touches. Senior wide receivers Dylan Begle and Grant Lashley, along with senior tight ends Dakoda Ebert and Grahm Turner, will feature prominently in the pass catching rotation. Offensive Line The line of scrimmage makes or breaks every football team that suits up in the fall, and Wilkerson likes what he’s seeing from the big boys who will be tasked with paving the way this season. Junior Mark Doyle and senior Aidian Rea, who played center last year, are slotted as the starting guards. Junior Spencer Vaal will start at center. Those three will be the anchors for Heritage Hills’ offensive line. The Patriots have a few other senior offensive linemen on the roster as well, including Tyler Brock, Jordan Hitz and Ben Gordon. The team overhaul hasn’t all been focused on the offense, as Wilkerson acknowledged the Patriots need to make big strides on the defensive side of the ball. Heritage Hills allowed a little more than 23 points per game last season. The Pats’ schedule features a few teams that will try to use spread formations to create lanes and openings to get their playmakers in scoring positions, so Wilkerson would love to see that number head south this season. To that end, he wants to apply pressure early and often to opposing offenses to knock them out of sync and create opportunities for big plays and turnovers. Here is a look at the position groups. Defensive Line The Pats defensive line will have the assignment of keeping the other team’s linemen busy so that blitzes from the lineback-

ers and the secondary can come in clean. Doyle and Rea will be starting on the line along with junior Hunter Wetzel. Ebert, Turner and Carter will be bringing the heat at the defensive end spots. Wilkerson will be keeping a pretty deep rotation on the line so guys don’t get too worn out over the course of a game. Begle may also see some time at the defensive end spot. Linebackers Jones, Rodgers and Wetzel will be manning the middle of the defense. They like to get physical, and they are getting better at seeing the field and making the appropriate defensive calls to stop whatever is coming at them. Senior Ben Gordon and sophomore Garrett Nix will also get some chances to wreak havoc on opposing offenses this season. Secondary Heritage Hills will be returning its two starting corners from last year in Sigler and fellow junior Kaden Feldpausch. They also return two guys with some starting experience in Begle and Vaal to fill in the safety positions. Lashley will also get some time in the defensive backfield. Special Teams The Patriots return one of the area’s most accurate kickers in soccer star Carson Leibering. A year ago, Leibering was 35 of 37 on extra point attempts, and made the only two field goals he attempted all season. Leibering also recorded seven touchbacks and averaged 53 yards a kick on kickoffs. Jones will return to his role as the Patriots’ punter after a season that saw him average 34 yards a punt. He was also able to down six punts inside the opponents’ 20 yard line. Rea and Hunter Wetzel will be the snappers for PATs and field goals, while Rea and Spencer Vaal will be the long snappers for punting situations. In terms of kick returners and punt returns, Heritage Hills expects to rotate a group of five guys that includes Sigler, Carter, Vaal, Jones and Ebert. Of the group, Sigler had the most kick returns last season with six for 146 yards, and he also had two punt returns for 11 yards.




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For group of backs, team needs take priority By HENDRIX MAGLEY and JONATHAN SAXON As the game of football continues to grow and positions get new meanings and definitions, one that has stayed relatively constant is the role of the running back. Sure there’s different types of running backs — there’s the bruising, power type of back like Forest Park’s Gavin Pierce and then there’s the speedster style of running back such as Jasper’s Reece Milligan. There’s also the elusive style of back that cuts in and out of holes with elegance like Southridge’s Tucker Schank and the ‘jack of all trades’ type of back such as Heritage Hills’ Cade Jones who can seamlessly switch from running back to quarterback in the blink of eye. While all four local running backs have made their presence felt to opponents all around Southern Indiana with their moves and cuts, they’ve also all played a key role in helping lead their respective programs as mentors and vocal leaders. An all-purpose threat Senior Reece Milligan is listed on the Jasper Wildcats roster as a wide receiver, but it may be more accurate to think of him as an all-purpose offensive player on the field. Last season he caught 29 passes for 441 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 180 yards and two scores. He did get his start as a ball carrier, but made the transition to the wideout position during his sophomore year when it became clear that is where he could do the most damage for Jasper. “We had a pretty good running back in Ryan Ewing, and the coaches just felt the need to get me on the field somehow and they moved me to receiver,” he said. “I’d say it worked out pretty decent for the team. Being able to play those positions for a program like this is a blessing. I’m very happy to be where I am today.” There were some challenges in picking up the position, since he was given the job the Monday before his first varsity start. But Milligan was able to fit nicely into the role after



picking up the plays and learning the routes. His speed along with the agility to break free in the open field have allowed him to be a threat wherever he lines up on the field. As a senior he takes the role of being a leader on the field seriously and wants to help out the younger guys behind him so that the program is in a good place once he graduates. Of course he has personal goals he wishes to accomplish in his last year playing football for Jasper, but at the end of the day it’s all comes down to doing what’s best so that the team can move forward and be successful this season. “I really want to help out the team anyway I can,” he said. “Being the best kind of team player I can be is my goal. Being a captain of this team has always been a dream of mine. Trying to be the best leader I can motivates me everyday.” Growth as a player and a leader Tucker Schank can recall the very first time he ever stepped onto Southridge’s football field as a freshman — head coach Scott Buening can remember it pretty vividly as well. “It was our first intrasquad scrimmage and he gave our first team defensive group fits as he scored a big touchdown run the first time he touched the ball,” Buening said. “It was then, you realized this kid had something.” And, oh did Schank indeed have something — through his first three years, he’s rushed for a total of 3,158 yards and 41 touchdowns with 26 of those coming in the Raiders’ 2017 march to the state championship. But while Schank has made a huge impact with his production on the field, his main goal now as a senior is to continue to



work on his role as a leader and help pass along the wisdom he has learned throughout his four years. He’s often been seen talking at practices with several of the younger starters on the team such as sophomore starting quarterback Colson Montgomery after a play goes awry or frustration takes over him — Schank has been there before and he’s hoping his experiences can help mentor the younger players into making the right decisions when things don’t always go right. “I figured out the role as a senior is way different than the role I’ve had before,” Schank said. “I remember when I was a freshman it was a huge deal to have the seniors mentor me the way that they did so that’s what I’m trying to do for the younger guys — you’re the student your freshman year and when you’re a senior, you’re the teacher.” Continuing the tradition Josh Franchville, Zach Cline, Bo McCain and now Gavin Pierce — the tradition of having a stellar senior running back in the backfield for the Forest Park football team will continue once again in 2018. While Pierce has been helping the Rangers out in the backfield the past couple of years as a sophomore and junior, he began his focus at an entirely different position. “I actually made the switch from a lineman to a running back when I was a freshman so that was kind of something different but I liked it and it was pretty easy to pick up because a lot of guys were willing to help me,” Pierce said. “We’ve just had pretty good running backs historically, it’s been cool to grow as a running back.”

For head coach Ross Fuhs, being able to have a veteran leader in the backfield every single season has helped make things easier on the other players but this year it may prove especially beneficial with a new starter at quarterback in junior Garret Berg. “Anytime you can have a senior back there is great,” Fuhs said. “Not only for the varsity team’s sake, but to teach the young guys and to tell them about the little things. The big things are easy, like which holes to run through, but the little things that get overlooked like stepping or jabbing a certain way can make a big difference.” New position, no problem Senior Cade Jones is making a switch this season. Last fall he started most of the season for Heritage Hills at quarterback where he completed 90 passes for 1,308 yards and 16 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. He also rushed for 167 yards and four trips to the endzone. But with the shift in offensive philosophies, Jones is doing his part to do the most good he can for the Pats this season. “Our (power run) offense that we’re implementing this year needed guys to step up and make blocks,” he said. “I think that’s why they moved me to running back.” But Jones has taken the switch in stride. Jones is a fan of Christian McCaffrey, the former Stanford all-purpose standout who is going into his second season with the Carolina Panthers, and he sees himself as a versatile kind of back who can do a lot of things on the field for the Patriots. “I’m a little bit of an all-around (back),” said Jones. “I can get up and be physical with guys. I can break tackles and fight for extra yards, while at the same time make cuts and get around the edge.” Jones sees himself being used all over the field and being asked to step up and fill whatever role needs to be filled on any given down, whether it’s running up the middle or taking the ball out to the edge to take the corner. But he doesn’t care what he has to do, he just wants to be out there with his teammates helping the Pats win football games.

2018 Fall Football Guide  
2018 Fall Football Guide