Jeff Sanders State Champs Journal

Jeff Sanders talks about the thrill of winning the Illinois state championship two weeks ago as well as last week's official visit to the Indiana campus.

Dear Hoosier Nation,

We did it! We won the Class 5A State Championship! The past two weeks have been the best days of my senior year. Despite all the accolades we received with the championship game win, the best feeling I had was watching Coach Leonard's face as he smiled all the way home!

The game was ours from the start! We scored early in the first quarter with my third touchdown of the year. Bobby Brenneisen had another field day passing the ball with approximately 340 yards. I completed the day with ten catches, six of them coming in the first quarter.

Chicago Tribune All-Stater Alex Reavy led all receivers with 12 catches including a wide open 60-yard catch when the Rock Island Alleman defense bit on our "money" play just as we had planned it all week. The defense had a stellar day! They forced three-and-outs throughout the game and caused so many turnovers, Coach Taylor and I couldn't eat them all.

After a wild celebratory ride home, a police escort awaited us at every corner in Springfield. The local fire department provided an archway at the school entry and it looked like the whole town was cheering as we got off the bus. We donned State Champion t-shirts and our medals as we were led into the West Campus gym for a reception.

People I didn't even know congratulated me! Our second reception was at the Knights of Columbus Hall where all the players were interviewed on the radio. We were also interviewed on TV and recognized by the City Council. The rest of that night was awesome! We were overwhelmed, yet relieved that we had accomplished our goal.

Yet, reality set in the next morning, as I had two lawns to mow. Let's just say the lawns didn't mow themselves.

I encountered another humbling experience at basketball practice on Monday afternoon. After the first three sets of wind sprints, I was sucking air worse than a Hoover vacuum cleaner. On Tuesday, Coach (Bill) Lynch came to the house to talk about my official visit (last) Saturday. It seems that every time that I come in contact with someone from the Indiana football program, I want to be a part of it that much more.

More extended basketball practices on Wednesday and Thursday led to a win at Friday night's basketball game. We won by 20, but it was another humbling experience for the Hoover vacuum. At 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, we left for Bloomington.

My official visit was a whirlwind experience; every minute a new activity awaited my family and me. We ate a boat load of delicious food, met a bunch of the coaches and guys for a small sample of college life. I'm grateful to Ty Harangody who was a great host. Throughout the night, he kept introducing me to people like I was a celebrity. On Sunday morning, after another awesome meal, we rode out to Coach Hep's house for an individual meeting. I was very inspired by our conversation and was given the feeling that Indiana football is more than just a team. I can't wait to join the Hoosier family next fall!

Thank you for reading my journal throughout this year!

Jeff Sanders GO HOOSIERS Top Stories