Class 1A Indiana Varsity Scout Ratings

There are no more rabid high school football fans in Indiana than the small school football fans. What was once Hoosier hysteria over winter roundball is now replaced by Friday night tail gating and filled bleachers under Friday night lights. With the new IHSAA realignment, things have a different look, and new sectionals will spark new rivalries for the next two seasons.

# 1 Lafayette Central Catholic
Lafayette, IN
Head Coach – Kevin O'Shea (LCC Record 9-2)

Everyone who follows football in Indiana knew that when Sheridan's 4 year run was over, LCC would be waiting in the wings. Finishing 9-2 in 2008 and losing to the eventual state runner up in the sectionals, most everyone has installed the Knights as the prohibitive favorite.

Chris Mills is returning as the heir to what is almost every record a quarterback could possess at LCC. He threw for 2,588 yards. Mills threw 253 times, completing 159 passes for 23 touchdowns against 7 interceptions. With 6,200 yards of career passing, the total will just get larger in 2009.

But so many LCC fans will be disappointed if the season doesn't end at Lucas Oil. The real key to the Knights' success is the return of their offensive line. Jim Schrader (6-3, 205) is back at center. The guards are Drew Smedley (6-3, 250) and Alex Schrader (6-1, 245). The tackles are Alex Anderson (6-1, 215) and Jason Aldridge (6-3, 210).

I have always felt that championships are won with defense and if LCC is going to realize their dream, it will have be done with stingy defense. There are 8 players returning on defense, but the standout is at defensive end with IFCA junior all-state defensive end, Mark Strong (6-3 230).

#2 Pioneer
Royal Center, IN
Head Coach – Mike Johnson (Pioneer Record 144 – 66)

Pioneer is looking for that magic they once had when they won the coveted Class 1A state championship in 1997. The wing-t was their offense. It still is because Mike Johnson is still coaching. Bryce Kiser (senior running back and defensive end) told IVS this, "When we were beaten by Sheridan last year, we competed all 4 quarters and came out of that game with a lot of confidence pointed toward 2009."

Tyler Miller is going to be just a junior. He is 5-8 150lbs and will enter the season as the quarterback with a year of varsity experience. But as any coach knows, for the offense to be successful, it must be solid up front, and a nucleus of offensive linemen are returning in offensive tackle Ross Fox (5-11, 217 lb, Jr.), guards Ethan Sell (5-11, 201 lb, Sr.), Josh Rance (6-5, 179 lb, Sr.) and Braxton Baker (5-11, 163 lb, Sr.).

The defense is anchored by IFCA Jr. All-State defensive end Bryce Kiser (6-2, 213 lb) and will be supported by his teammates, Andrew Glassburn (5-6, 153 lb, Sr.) who is a 3rd year starting linebacker; Riley Thimlar (5-10, 156 lb, Jr.); John Rance (6-3, 170 lb, Sr.); Deven Lee (5-11, 150 lb, Jr.); along with Logan Brock (6-2, 180 lb, Sr.) round out the defensive starters.

Well that's two teams out of sectional 34. Here comes the third.

#3 South Newton
Kentland, IN
Head Coach – Chris Bell (South Newton Record 80 – 62)

South Newton has been knocking on the door of Class 1A football, most notably making it to the semi-state game in 2006, losing to Sheridan. But at some point, knocking on the door is not enough. In football, at some point, you have to kick the door in and crash through to the other side. Many feel that this could be the year for South Newton. When they kick the door in and crash through to the other side, both Pioneer and Lafayette Central Catholic will be waiting.

South Newton has 18 players returning with varsity experience. At the top of the heap is returning wide receiver Trent Alenduff (5-11, 175 lb). Trent caught 71 passes for 1198 yards. But the work South Newton will have to do is across the front, replacing 3 of the front 5. Tyler Low is coming back as quarterback after throwing for 2,083 yards during the 2008 campaign. He threw 136 passes on 290 attempts, accounting 20 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in an eye opening season.

Linebacker Ryne Bell is a 2 time all-state honoree he has accumulatted 343 career tackles coming into his senior season.

Will this be the season that South Newton breaks down the barriers and maximizes its opportunities? Could be, but they are like most other Class 1A teams. They will have to use players both ways and stay healthy. If they do, Sectional 34 may be considered one of the toughest sectionals in the state in any class.

#4 North Daviess
Elnora, IN
Head Coach – Scotty Helms (North Daviess Record 73 – 80)

Last year the North Daviess team ended their season with one of the wildest finishes in the history of class 1A football in southern Indiana. Linton Stockton won 18 to 16 over North Daviess and ND put up the equipment. But it left a sour taste in the Cougars' mouth for most of the off season. North Daviess returns 18 starters and The Indiana Varsity Scout not only believes ND can win a sectional, but actually think about further steps to gridiron glory.

Ryan Webster (5-8, 185 lb) is returning as the leading rusher. He will have 4 years of starting for the Cougar football team this fall. In 2008, Webster rushed for 1,900 yards and scored 23 touchdowns. Four of his offensive linemen who pave the way are back which gives rise to thoughts of a championship year. Guards Brandon Hughes (5-11, 235 lb) and Clayton Byrer (6-1, 215 lb), along with center Justin Miller (6-3, 325 lb) and tackle Jayce Wininger (6-1, 275 lb) hope to open the way to the end zone for Webster and returning fullback Dalton Sellers (6-0, 210 lb). Jano Davis will start at quarterback (6-3, 212 lb).

Jano Davis is North Daviess' defensive stalwart, earning All-State honors as a junior. Davis plays linebacker for the Cougars and hopes to continue the defensive success this coming season. He accumulated 65 tackles and 3 interceptions from his inside linebacker position.

#5 Rockville
Rockville, IN
Head Coach – Herb King (Rockville Record 56 – 26)

No one will give the Rockville Rox much of a chance this year because they know that Matt King will be at Indiana State this fall. But what Herb King knows is that he has 16 players returning from his team who know how to win. They will be relying heavily on running backs Caleb McMullen (5-10, 180 lb) and Tophel Secuskie IV (6-0, 220 lb). McMullen has the more impressive numbers. He rushed for 731 yards on 138 carries, scoring 12 touchdowns.

Two quarterbacks will be vying for the starting position. Senior, David Coleman (6-0, 185 lb) and sophomore, Clint White (5-11, 165 lb). These players on offense will be the stronghold to build the core of the offensive line: James Kent (6-0, 250 lb) and Cody Stout (5-9, 270 lb). Kent and Stout are seniors and four-year starters. Other linemen are seniors Drew Kelley (6-5, 220 lb), Nick Wheeler (5-11, 230 lb), Levi Berry (6-0, 250 lb) and juniors Billy Bettis (5-11, 240 lb) and Troy Leach (6-4, 195 lb).

Defensively, the Rox, as mentioned in the other top 4 teams, will have players that are going both ways. If the Rox are going to be rock solid, they are going to have to play "iron man" football with several talented players going both ways.

{next up class 2A}

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