HUTTON: Indy-bound Niners chasing perfection, immortality
By MIKE HUTTON 613-0141 or firstname.lastname@example.org November 22, 2013 11:18PM
Andrean's Tylor Petkovich celebrates after defeating West Lafayette 52-7 at Andrean High School on November 22, 2013. | Jim Karczewski\Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 24, 2013 6:15AM
MERRILLVILLE — Poor West Lafayette. They had no idea what they were getting into when they walked onto Father Eckert Field.
Andrean belongs to another class of good. The Red Devils were pummeled back to earth by the finely tuned 59ers machine, which is, in a word, unforgiving.
The game was in the bag for Andrean before the first quarter ended after Trevor Berg scored from 3 yards out, making it 21-0.
The 59ers scored on their first three drives in all different manners.
They started with a three-play, 59-yard drive then they scored on a blocked West Lafayette punt. They set up their third touchdown with an interception by Noah Pavlina. It was over that quickly. The Red Devils were so spooked that they opted for a quick kick on fourth-and-2 from midfield in the second quarter. Andrean was leading 35-0.
The angst about Matt DeSomer’s sprained ankle was wasted energy. He played flawless football. His ankle was fine. For West Lafayette coach Shane Fry, it wasn’t the 59ers’ offense, which he knew was first-rate, that did the most damge.
It was their front eight. Andrean held the Red Devils to 189 totals yards. Most of those came when it was over.
“We’ve played against good teams,” Fry said. “But none that had the combination of players like they did.”
He’s talking about on offense and defense.
The beat down lends itself to this proposition: Where does Andrean fit on the scale of state champion-caliber teams from Northwest Indiana?
Former Hobart, Notre Dame and Miami great Bob Kuechenberg sometimes starts his e-mails with this line: “1972…. Perfection is immortal, imperfection is…just that.”
If you are from Northwest Indiana, if you know just a little bit about the NFL, you already know where this is going.
For the uniformed, I’ll lay it out there.
Andrean has more than just a chance to be another state champion, not like a state title is anything to diminish.
But this needs to be established right now. This team, these 59ers, these coaches and these kids, have the opportunity to hit the Kuechenberg bar.
They can be perfect.
They can be the best state championship team in the history of Northwest Indiana.
They can be the bar-setters for every other team that travels down the same road.
Consider that the only other undefeated team from Northwest Indiana to ever win a state title since there were at least five classes, Hobart in 1987, was challenged at least three times. The Brickies beat Andrean 17-12 during the season, they beat LaPorte 9-6 and they defeated Munster 7-3 in the regional championship.
This year, Andrean is the smallest school in 3A, yet the only game that was close was against Merrillville, a school that has four times as many students. The 59ers won 34-32.
The Niners’ average margin of victory is 30 points.
Perfection is immortal but that kind of perfection, the kind that Andrean has executed so far this year, is a different kind of immortal.
It’s premature, of course, to anoint them as the greatest team ever. They still have to play either Brebeuf or Gibson Southern for the state title.
It’ll likely be Brebeuf. Assuming it’s the Braves, that will be the most difficult game of the year. It will be on turf against a team that has not played in a close game in the tournament.
No one said immortal would be easy.