With the chill of autumn finally in the air, local high school football teams wrapped up their regular seasons Friday night. We’d like to single our three of our local teams for their accomplishments on the field in 2013.
1. Concord — By mid-season the Minuteman were the top-ranked team in 5A and looked to be rolling toward an undefeated season after thumping Goshen. But back-to-back upset losses to Jimtown and Plymouth proved how difficult it is to run the table in Indiana high school football. Still, Concord, now ranked No. 8, managed wins over Northridge and Warsaw to stake claim to its fourth-straight Northern Lakes Conference championship, a first for the program.
2. Fairfield — After an early-season loss the Falcons ran off seven straight victories, including a 35-14 domination of host Churubusco, a four-time defending NECC champion, on Oct. 11. Fairfield’s offensive output that night was more than the Churubusco defense had allowed in its first seven games combined. The win also gave the Falcons a share of the NECC title for the first time since 2009.
3. Northridge — Heading into the 2013 season the Raiders had won just one game on the field the previous two years. Even with new coach Tom Wogomon taking the helm this season, there weren’t many who expected dramatically different results. Well, that’s what they got. A win over Elkhart Memorial on Friday pushed Northridge’s record to 7-2 for the season. It was the first winning season for the Raiders since 2009 and their first seven-win season since 1977.
IT IS NOT UNCOMMON for us to sing the praises of our local student-athletes here on the editorial page. It is important that they know the positive contribution they have on the community. High school athletics have a way of bringing us together. They also illustrate how hard work, dedication and commitment to a broader cause can pay off later in life, regardless of results on the field. There are many lessons to be learned on the fields of competition, both in victory and defeat.
We feel all our local teams, no matter their final regular record, should be congratulated for putting forth their best effort each and every week. And we wish all our teams the best of luck heading into the state playoffs that begin this Friday.
SPEAKING OF PLAYOFFS, it is hard for us to fathom that it has been 25 years since Goshen began its 1988 run through the 4-A playoffs that culminated with a state championship in the old Hoosier Dome. That team was loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. While led by All-American quarterback Rick Mirer, that group was the epitome of teamwork. Every piece of that team was necessary for the level of greatness it achieved.
Sports makes for great life lessons. They also make for great memories, which may explain why 1988 can still feel like yesterday.