Varsity football to host Terre Haute South in Sectional

Head coach looks to seniors for leadership during tourney run


Caroline Stieger

The student section shows its spirit at a regular season game. The students will be out in force during the Sectional game at Tech on Nov. 1.

Annika Garwood , Sports Editor

On Nov. 1 at 7 p.m., the football team will begin its State tournament run against Terre Haute South Vigo at Arsenal Tech in the second round of the Class 5A Sectional. 

Some Class 5A teams played on Oct. 25 in the first round of the Sectional, but the Irish drew a bye. Head Coach Mr. Bill Peebles ’88 said the off week provides time for the team to recover. “It’s been a grind of the regular season with the quality schedule we have played in regards of the competition and traveling, especially early in the regular season. So this time gives us a chance to take a deep breath, get rested a little bit, then also give us time to work on things we haven’t had time to in the last few weeks,” he said. 

During the bye week, the practice schedule changed. Peebles said he gave the team off Oct. 21, Oct. 25 and Oct. 26 but is practicing for two hours Oct. 22-24 to work on fundamentals and execution. Peebles said, “At the same time we are going to be preparing for Terre Haute South, but also working on us, too.”

Something the team isn’t lacking, according to Peebles, is senior leadership. “If you’ve just looked at the way our games have evolved, we’ve played a tough road schedule against top nationally ranked teams where we’ve either won or come close.

“Our tough games here at home, like rivalry games against Center Grove and Bishop Chatard, we were behind at halftime and obviously nobody panicked. They stuck together, showed great leadership and we came out in each game and had great second halves,” said Peebles. He said in order to have a run in the tournament, that same leadership needs to be present. 

Relying on that senior leadership, Peebles said the team will use those leaders as a strength during the tournament. “We don’t have or rely on tricks. It’s all about playing good fundamental, solid football and making plays when opportunities present themselves,” said Peebles. 

Every day before practice, Peebles said he tells the team to work hard, take every game one game at a time, and the process of getting better every day continues. Peebles said, “It’s not like we hit our peak, we still need to get better and we do that every practice.”

Peebles explained the significance of the team’s motto “Strength of the Pack.” “We chose that because we knew this was a tight season and there were a lot of young players playing with the hardest schedule in the country. We knew there might be some tough moments throughout the season and we would have to stick together. So if we believe our strength comes from each other, and the team’s strength from us as individuals, that we would be a better team.”

Mr. Tim Herrin, Terre Haute South’s head coach, said he has watched the video of the Irish. “Our strength is our offensive line and they will have a big challenge against Cathedral’s defense,” Herron wrote in an email.

As for key players, Herrin said his top offensive linemen include seniors Griffin Comer, committed to Indiana State University; and Jason Swarens, committed to Wisconsin in shot put and discus. Top wide receiver James Mallory is being recruited by several MAC schools, according to Herrin.

South lost its last three regular season contests, but Herrin said the team let two of the three games slip away at the end. “We had opportunities to beat Brebeuf (Jesuit) and Southport at the end of the game and came up short. We will build off those experiences to give us an opportunity to compete. The bye week has helped us a great deal because we have had several players battling illnesses and injuries. We should be at full strength on (Nov. 1),” he said.

Herrin said he doesn’t remember the last time Cathedral played South in football, but traveling to Indianapolis will not bother the team since it made the trip to both Columbus and Evansville during the regular season.

“We have had a great week of practice and focus getting ready to play Cathedral. Cathedral will pose some problems with their offense being able to pass and run the ball efficiently. Also, they have a very good defense, especially against the run. We will be able to control the line of scrimmage and run the ball,” the South head coach said.

Tickets are available in the athletic office for $6 or can be purchased at the gate, which opens at 6 p.m. on the night of the game. Student passes do not provide admission.