Although the recent weather may say otherwise, it seems like we were just gearing up for the first week of the prep football season in mid-August. But just like that, another year on the gridiron is in the books. Although it’s not over for three region teams (Andrean, La Porte, New Prairie - all of whom we’d like to see bring home state titles), nearly all the play on the gridiron has concluded. And what a season it has been.
There were a fair share of upsets, comebacks and barn-burners. With three of the first four weeks riddled with numerous lightning delays, we even had a few Saturdays sprinkled in as well.
Here at Ideas in Motion Media, we had quite a bit of fun during football season this year. While we have always been known as the ones taking hundreds of photos at sporting events, this year we added a few new features to our high school football coverage.
In addition to having our photographers provide articles on rivalries, special events and the unique atmosphere at some games, we had someone on our Twitter dashboard every Friday night during the season and first few weeks of the playoffs. Interacting with student sections, school officials, fans, parents and other media online has proved to be engaging and fun for us as we see updates by the minute when following the right people.
A big thanks to Lake Central High School. The @LCHSnews account has favorited, re-tweeted and responded to nearly all our calls for school spirit. Whether it was a game at home or on the road, the Lake Central fans brought it both to the game and in the Twitterverse. We enjoyed engaging with all our area’s schools and fans, and hope all will be like Lake Central next year and hop on for some Friday night fun.
We didn't forget about all the others, @CP_Fanz, @MichiganCityHS, @ChestertonHS and @HobartHS to name a few. We also can't leave out @HighlandHHS - which was consistent in updating us and other media as well with scoring updates during all Trojans games. As always, our friends at Region Sports Network are always on top of the prep football beat, providing updates of all games in progress in addition to in depth insight through game previews, recaps and the weekly Top ten rankings.
Our own publisher (Chris Mahlmann), managing editor (Brett Fuller) and sports editor (Tim Moran) all had fun on the "dashboard" - taking in all the action from the warmth of our own homes while the fans showed their pride in some fierce conditions. Although we added stories to our galleries and a Twitter information gatherer, our bread and butter is still taking several photos of players, fans, school groups and cheerleaders.
"Working the Friday night sports desk brings me back to my life spent in front of a trading screen watching the financial markets," Mahlmann said. "You get to see reports from every media, student, team, fan group, and parent that is out there talking about the games, the weather, and the kids online. We help them share their pics, highlights, fun moments, and updates with others in the region that are at home, at work, and sometimes around the world. Having our crew out there at some of the key matchups each week and telling the story of the teams and the fans more than the plays and the stats, is what the good news crew is all about."
Here's a list of all the football games we’ve covered in 2014 with links to the associated galleries. Thanks to all who braved the elements throughout the year to spread the good word about high school football through articles and photos: Anna Hanson, Michelle McCaskey, Caitlin Vanlaningham, Brett Fuller, Lydia Gerike, Taylor Clemons, Jessica Marquez, Megan Berchem, Tim Moran and TJ Stephens. Hanson, in particular, delivered spectacular photos on a weekly basis.
"Compared to last year our coverage of the football season really took a step up," Hanson said. "I had a better year out there covering football games every Friday night from the beginning of the season to the end of sectionals. That was all due to the great moments I captured with my camera and by talking to everyone who was so passionate about their team."
Lake Central vs. Portage (at Lucas Oil Stadium)
Week 10 (Playoffs)
Week 11 (Playoffs)
Week 12 (Playoffs)
Week 13 (Playoffs)
State Championship Weekend
New Prairie vs. New Palestine (at Lucas Oil Stadium)
Andrean vs. Tri-West (at Lucas Oil Stadium)
La Porte vs. Indianapolis Cathedral (at Lucas Oil Stadium)
On the field, we saw some quality play and story lines that are continuing to take shape deep into the IHSAA playoffs. Andrean remained as the RSN's top-ranked team from the preseason to now, adding on to their incredible win streak that included a state championship and 2013. The feel-good story of the year would have to go to La Porte, which has delivered on their promise to "Play for Jake" with their finest season on the gridiron in quite some time. Charles Salary has led them on the field, but the inspiration of fallen teammate Jake West in 2013 has not only resulted in the painting of the '26' yard-line orange but the return of pride in the Slicer football program. Not to be outdone in their own County, however, is New Prairie - a team that suffered an upset loss to the Slicers in Week One , only to reel off wins in every game since and now playing in their first semi-state game since 2004.
UPDATE: La Porte, Andrean and New Prairie all made sure prep football in Northwest Indiana would not end until the final buzzer in Indianapolis. All three came home with semi-state championships. So here's to the region and the possibility of sweeping the 3A, 4A and 5A state championships!
UPDATE 2: It turns out Northwest Indiana would be the land of the runner-ups. Taking no shame in being 2nd in the entire state in their category, the Andrean 59ers, New Prairie Cougars and La Porte Slicers made the region proud in Indianapolis on Championship weekend, but lost to Tri-West, New Palestine and Indianapolis Cathedral, respectively.
Thanks to all the teams, fnas, parents and students for their efforts and our wonderful sports staff on making 2014 the best prep football year yet at Ideas in Motion Media.