Gorches: Who will be headed to the dome?
By Steve T. Gorches sgorches@post-trib. com Twitter: @SteveTGorches November 1, 2012 11:12PM
Andrean's Matt DeSomer runs for a fifty two yard touchdown against Wheeler in the first quarter of play during their first round sectional football game held at Wheeler High School on Friday October 19, 2012. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 3, 2012 6:48AM
And now we’re down to seven region football teams left in the postseason — six of them facing each other and the seventh, North Judson, facing a formidable Lewis Cass in Class 2A.
We will have three regional games next week involving local teams — neither Class 3A or 1A will be represented, and the latter is a little disappointing since Whiting was undefeated after 10 games, but had no chance against West Central after about five minutes of last week’s game.
So next year the Oilers will be trying to end a 16-year sectional title drought, and once again it was a non-area team that ended their season.
But Whiting isn’t the only team that many expected to still be playing in at least a sectional final this week.
The draw may have hurt Chesterton in its quest to reach the final and have a chance at winning its first-ever football sectional trophy. But the Trojans were rolled over by Merrillville in the second half.
Well, it was actually the last two quarters and 0.7 seconds.
I still can’t get over the sudden change in momentum at the end of the first half of Merrillville’s victory over Chesterton. From the Pirates going for the field goal to Chesterton coach John Snyder calling timeout to Merrillville coach Zac Wells being convinced by his assistants to go for it on fourth and goal from the 1-yard-line to Jake Raspopovich trotting into the end zone untouched, it was enough to make anyone’s head spin.
Now I’ll never criticize high school coaches for Xs and Os in print. It’s a no-win situation and not very ethical. All I’ll say is that I wouldn’t have called the timeout, but I also wouldn’t have gone for it on fourth down.
Guess that’s why I’m sitting in front of a laptop while Snyder and Wells are coaching pretty darn good football teams.
The other 2A sectional final is between Rensselaer and Andrean, two football teams that have never played each other. I find that hard to believe, but multiple websites confirm it to be true.
All of a sudden the 59ers look as good as they did last season before Wheeler abruptly upset them in the sectional opener. The offense is clicking on all cylinders, scoring on 16 of 16 first-half possessions in two games — nine touchdowns against Wheeler and seven against Boone Grove.
That’s not exactly a hospitable way to treat two Porter County rivals, but Andrean looks like a team playing angry and on a mission.
Last season pundits thought the 59ers were the best chance at a region team making it to the dome. Maybe they were a year off.
They have a kid in Matt DeSomer playing the quarterback position as well as anybody in Northwest Indiana not named Raspopovich. Yes, they graduated all-area running back Mason Zurek, but this year the 59ers have at least three backs rushing the ball significantly — Trevor Berg, Zack Kogut and Shamir Johnson — in addition to DeSomer’s rushing prowess when he’s not throwing pinpoint passes.
Three heads seem to be better than one, and it could lead to a few more games this postseason.
And then there’s the confident Morton Governors, whose coach Roydon Richards had the quote of the week after his team’s victory over favored East Chicago last Friday: “We’re still wearing the belt.”
Of course, that’s a wrestling (the fake entertainment kind) reference to the Govs going for their fourth straight sectional title.
It’s not surprising Richards would be the coach saying something as brazen as that. He’s always been an engaging personality willing to go out on a limb and say what he feels, and he feels that his team was ready for the postseason — and the kids are proving him right.
Highland is a good story — 1-8 during the season, but winning two sectional games to reach the final. Now granted, the draw helped the Trojans, and the fact that Griffith’s two best players missed the sectional opener due to injuries, leading to Highland edging its Erie-Lackawanna Trail rival by two points. But a win is a win and Highland’s player could have that shutout loss to Morton earlier this season in a back of their minds.
Then again, taking “the belt” away from the Governors may be too tough of a task to ask of the Trojans.
Looking ahead, if you had to ask me how many region teams we’ll have playing in a semistate game in two weeks with a chance at reaching the dome, Broadway could be a very happy road between 5959 and 68th Place since I think Andrean and Merrillville are playing the best football right now and have favorable paths based on other sectionals.
But who knows. That’s why they play the games.