The past three weeks, Columbus East has faced football teams that it played and beat handily during the regular season.
That won’t be the case Friday night for the Olympians. This time, they’ll play a Terre Haute North team they’ve never played before in school history.
“At this time of year, it’s trying to learn an unfamiliar opponent,” East coach Bob Gaddis said. “But that’s one of the fun things about the tournament, is you get to play somebody you’ve never played.”
The Patriots (6-5) have played two teams that the Olympians played during the regular season. Terre Haute North beat Bloomington North 42-11 and lost to Columbus North 38-14.
The Bull Dogs started the Patriots on a four-game losing streak to close the regular season. Terre Haute North bounced back with wins at Evansville North (31-0) and against Terre Haute South (34-10) to win their first sectional since 2013.
Junior quarterback Tristin Elder is 112 of 182 for 1,488 yards passing, with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Senior Shawn Hapenny has carried 246 times for 1,253 yards and 14 scores, and senior Nate Barrett has caught 44 passes for 621 yards and five touchdowns.
“They’re a physical football team,” Gaddis said. “They have good size. Their skill players are good. In the middle of the season, they had some injuries, but it appears those guys are back. They have a big tailback who has some good numbers. Offensively, they have the ability to be very balanced.”
Senior Angelo Cooper leads the Patriot defense with 120 tackles, including four for losses. Senior R.J. Londo has five sacks, and junior Alan Holliman has four interceptions.
“Defensively, they have a physical front,” Gaddis said. “A lot of our work this week is to understand how they’re going to align to our formations.”
East senior Josh Major has completed 61 or 78 passes for and 1,046 yards and 11 touchdowns and only one interception and has carried 123 times for 1,142 yards and 16 scores. Senior Jamon Hogan has carried 183 times for 1,885 yards and 31 touchdowns. Senior Ethan Summa has 12 catches for 286 yards and four scores, and Cody Horner has 13 catches for 275 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensively, junior Nash Murphy leads the Olympians with 107 tackles. Senior Dante Seniours has four sacks, and junior Jonah Wichman has six interceptions.
Senior linebacker Zack O’Connor and senior defensive back Caleb Pettit returned from injuries in last week’s 42-14 win at Floyd Central. Senior running back Jaedin Miller is playing with a cast for a broken hand sustained in the sectional opener at Seymour.
“Right now, we think we’re playing pretty good football,” Gaddis said. “Every year, our goal is to be trying to play our best at this time, and a big part of that is staying healthy. Our guys have done a good job of staying focused and staying healthy, so we’ve been pretty fortunate to this point.”
Locals earn academic honors
Twenty-two local girls and 16 local boys players have been selected to the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association Academic All-State squads.
Named to the girls team were Columbus East seniors Addy Galarno, Sarah Johnson, Elena Leddy and Morgan Martindale and juniors Annie Bastian, Sarah Park and Kamebry Wagner; Columbus North seniors Anna Andrews, Jocelyn Maynard, Corrine Orben and Liz Tynan and juniors Christy DeDomenic, Tanner Johnson, Rose Sardina and Elise Whitley; Jennings County senior Alexus Brown and juniors Naomi Beal, Andrea Reitman and Callie Wilder and Trinity Lutheran senior Savanna Setty and juniors Lauren Fleetwood and Delaney Maschino.
Boys selections include East seniors Justin Copas, Andy Davidson, Jake Gesick, Eli Newell, Reagan Perkins and Dustin Rodgers and juniors Daniel Boggs and Mark Nuesterer; North seniors Jannis Anderson, Andrew Potter and Nicholas Stevens and juniors Zach Friend, Alex McGill and Massimo Sanchez-Lara and Jennings senior Victor Antunez and junior Dylan Boswell.
Criteria for selection includes players who are juniors or seniors, have at least a 3.7 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale, be on the varsity roster and be a regular contributor in matches.
Bull Dogs make All-Conference
Five members of the Conference Indiana runner-up Columbus North football team have been named to this year’s All-Conference squad.
Junior quarterback Trenton Kelley, senior wide receiver Jaylen Flemmons, senior offensive lineman Logan Abbott, senior linebacker Brigham Kleinhenz and senior defensive back J.D. Harris are on the first team. Senior receiver Tristan Bailey, senior linebacker Noah Earl, senior defensive back Damon Hunter Jr., senior defensive lineman Nick Tungett and junior linebacker Tay Wells made honorable mention.
Seniors Finn and Jannis Anderson, along with Friend and McGill, from the Conference Indiana runner-up North boys soccer team made All-Conference. Senior Jack Robertson and sophomore Andrew Goble are honorable mention selections.
The sectional and regional champion North girls soccer team is represented on the All-Conference squad by Tynan, Johnson and Whitley. Orben and sophomore Caroline Hollenkamp made honorable mention.
North junior Agustina Fainguersch is on the All-Conference volleyball team. Juniors Lauryn James and Maddy Sebahar are honorable mention selections.
Senior selected East MVP
Rodgers, who led Columbus East to a sectional title, was named the Olympians boys soccer MVP at its awards banquet Monday night.
Perkins won the Olympian Award, and sophomore Zach Roberts took the ISCA Top Team Player Award. Steve Medina was selected junior varsity MVP.
Junior named North MVP
McGill was selected MVP of the Columbus North boys soccer team at its awards banquet on Sunday.
Potter won the Bull Dog Award, and Stevens won the Most Improved Award. Junior Ernesto Perez won the David Green Spirit of the Game Award, and Friend claimed the ISCA Top Team Player Award.
Jets to host alumni game
The Hauser boys basketball program will host an alumni game and pulled pork dinner Friday at the school. The dinner will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the alumni game at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets will be sold at the door and are $3 for adults and $2 for students, with proceeds benefiting the boys basketball program. The dinner will have a free-will donation.