MERRILLVILLE | All eyes will be on Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend as six state football champions will be crowned.
But for Andrean coach Phil Mason, his chance at the Class 3A state championship against Indianapolis Brebeuf started last summer in a hot and musty weight room.
That was the place, when no one else was looking, that his offensive line became what they've been this season: dominant.
"People are saying we're a 3A program that's like a 5A," Mason said. "We are a big, physical team. We have 10 kids who can bench press over 300 pounds. That comes from hard work in the summer in the weight room."
Andrean's offensive line of (RT) Matt Kish, (RG) John Daugherty, (C) John Zemkewicz, (LG) Adam Kopil and (LT) Alex Khadivar does look like a 5A team.
Kish is 6-foot-2, 230. Daugherty is 6-foot-3, 230. Zemkewicz is 6-foot-0, 230. Kopil is 6-foot-0, 225. Khadivar is 6-foot-3, 245.
"Their offensive line is big," Brebeuf coach Mic Roessler said at Monday's state news conference. "That concerns me. They have some great skill players, but the size of their line makes it even tougher."
Andrean was third in their class in the state, scoring 44.6 points a game. Do the lineman ever wish they could score a touchdown and get their name announced over the PA?
Instead of, "Holding. Off sides. False start," Khadivar joked.
"I got a few of those," Kish said. "I don't think about scoring. If we score then we know we did our job."
"I love the satisfaction of getting pancakes," Khadivar said. "TDs are nice but that's not my forte."
The 59ers are one win away from becoming the third region team to win a state championship undefeated. Playing in Indianapolis on an NFL field only brightens the lights that are already on this team, this game.
Kish understands this and is ready to make another big block.
"We have to humble ourselves," Kish said. "We're part of something that's much bigger than you."