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HOBART | One of the most significant days in the life of Joey Sparks occurred Aug. 23, 2013.
Ryan Turley and his Hobart Brickies have a huge game tonight in South Bend. Instead of sleeping in before they open their Class 4A Sectional 18 game against St. Joseph's, the Bricks are going to the movies.
HAMMOND | Jarrett Dickey is a stud. A rock star with a football in his hands. The Morton senior wide receiver makes a strong case for being the No. 1 skill player in Northwest Indiana.
For the 42nd year in a row, it seems, yours truly -- the humble, balding sports scribbler -- will tell you who is going to win our local football sectionals and what teams will raise the hardware at Lucas Oil Stadium.
EAST CHICAGO | When Jay Novak was hired to take over the E.C. Central football program this summer, there were a lot of things to do. Time was of the essence.
HOBART | When speaking about the college football playing possibilities, Hobart senior Noah Smith did make the typical wish list. Schools like Notre Dame, Alabama or Florida State never crossed his lips.
HAMMOND | Some people get the silver spoon when the bowl of four-star soup is brought to their table. Others do not. That is life, unfortunately.
Sometimes a fresh start is exactly what a person needs. A new day with fresh flowers and unknown experiences. Take an easy breath.
Kody Lemley and Kyle Gooch have known each other "forever." The two Lake Station senior football players have a very close bond.
MERRILLVILLE | Phil Mason stood in the middle of the muddy field of Father Eckert Stadium on Friday night and he could've run for mayor. Countless friends and supporters of Andrean football came up to give him a hug.
MERRILLVILLE | Surprisingly, the backbone of the 2014 Lowell Red Devils had a start far away from the corn and Indiana Route 2. It began at 5959 Broadway back in the 1990s.
CEDAR LAKE | The lights were on, buzzing on a dark Friday night. The stands were filled with football-crazy fans sopping up the newness of it all. The collective pulse of the event was causing choppy waves on nearby Cedar Lake.
OK, class. Time for a pop quiz.
Maybe it was the heavy interest in football a generation ago in Northwest Indiana that kept fall basketball clinics from sprouting. These hoops think-tank sessions are commonplace In central and southern Indiana,
In the past four Octobers, Lowell hasn't won a single game. The Red Devils last postseason win was against Fort Wayne Dwenger in the Class 4A semistate in 2009.
The 43rd annual IHSAA football draw was released on Sunday with all the ping pong balls and possible scenarios bouncing around Indiana.
The celebration was only seconds old and people were already looking ahead. With the IHSAA postseason draw on their minds, many in Rensselaer were thinking about a semistate rematch with Lafayette Central Catholic.
RENSSELAER | The afternoon started in Hobart. Got stuck downtown by the Brickies' homecoming parade. This stuff is still cool to me. Made a sign of the cross when I drove by the Brickie Bowl.
MERRILLVILLE | It is something most every high school athlete covets, strives for: to attain a level of excellence where their talents and personalities are noticed by all.
Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever has the gap between the best team and the worst team in the Duneland Athletic Conference been so narrow. Never.
Herb Arihood was the mayor of Rensselaer from 2000 through 2012.
MERRILLVILLE | Rarely, if ever, do schools have pep rallies on a Monday morning.
The current state of high school basketball is not your daddy's version of Hoosier Hysteria. No, not at all.
Since the IHSAA began a state football tournament in 1973, there have been 184 state champions. Of those ultimate winners, only 77 have done so with an undefeated record.
WHEATFIELD | There have been whispers and rumors running up and down the streets of Northwest Indiana this autumn. I've heard them. You've heard them. Heck, some of you have likely said the same things.
ST. JOHN | It doesn't have the rich history or quirky surroundings that Hobart's Brickie Bowl did. No trains tooting by or fans watching games on a tree branch.
MERRILLVILLE | There was a lot of talk when Josh Barajas transferred from Mount Carmel to Andrean more than a year ago. But he wasn't the only football player who made the caravan from Chicago to Merrillville.
Here is a quick look at the Top 10 games ever played at Lake Central's Burial Grounds. Tonight's game against Chesterton will be the last game played there.
NEW CHICAGO | Before every River Forest cross country meet, junior Christopher Ramos gathers the nine Ingots on the small-school team, they lock arms and bow their heads.
LOWELL | We've all heard this tale time and time again, in different schools and in different programs and different decades. Over and over again.
Football is under attack in America — like a blitzing defensive back from the blindside.
CALUMET TWP. | Quinton Harris was sitting on the porch of his Glen Park home with his mother a few years ago. It was a beautiful summer afternoon. Norman Rockwell's brush could've immortalized the moment with a few strokes.
Matt Childs was an eighth-grader, walking the sandy beaches on vacation. Back home in Munster, two-a-day football practice was just beginning. Childs had always played soccer. Then, a light went on in his head.
WHITING | Kris Krzyston is not your typical Whiting Oiler. He's not a Bears fan. He doesn't score touchdowns at a moment's notice. Yet, he lives and breathes the game that comes alive each fall in the little town on Lake Michigan's shore.
CROWN POINT | It started simply enough. It is the kind of story starter that makes you want to shake your head.
INDIANAPOLIS | The day before the first NFL Sunday kicks off, Antwan Davis was in the end zone of Lucas Oil Stadium watching a perfectly spinning ball dart in his direction.
The cool autumn wind enveloped the place. Everyone in town — no, in the county — was there. It was if Bronko Nagurski and Jim Brown were in attendance, wildly applauding old-school football at its finest.
ST. JOHN | There was only one emotion for Colin Studer in March of 2012 when Peyton Manning was cut by the Indianapolis Colts.
It's been said winning a sectional championship in football is the most difficult because to take home the hardware you have to be very good for three weeks, three Friday nights.
Jay Novak was obviously nervous last Friday night. The first-year football coach at E.C. Central was going through the pregame checklist before his Cardinals took the field for the season-opener at Hammond.
HAMMOND | Midsummer didn't look too good off Calumet Avenue. Hammond's football coach, Eric Schreiber, had left for Clark in the night. His replacement, Roosevelt Moore, was not officially hired until the opening day of practice.
Davon Dillard is not at LaLumiere, the prep school in LaPorte. And the Indiana Junior All-Star, who has been offered by California, Creighton, Iowa, Pittsburgh, Providence and Purdue has never officially left Bowman Academy.
There's been an adage around prep football for a long time. The biggest improvement a team makes usually comes between Week 1 and Week 2.
Highland's scrimmage at West Side on Aug. 15 was supposed to start at 7 p.m. But the first snap took place at 6 p.m. because of a common issue at the Gary school's football facility.
This is not the time for the boys basketball coach at Lowell High School to step down. But that's exactly what Nate Richie did recently, going 46-39 over the last four seasons.
MERRILLVILLE | The sidewalk was mostly empty. Almost barren. The cold, wintery wind swept over the hills of Fort Thomas, Ky.
MERRILLVILLE | It's like Sammy Hagar taking over for David Lee Roth or Andrew Johnson stepping in for Abraham Lincoln. A daunting shadow is there, always, in the background.
Keith Kilmer already knows what he'll see when he takes his Lowell Red Devils onto Bulldog Turf in Crown Point. He chuckles ahead of time.
Mark Barnhizer has been hired as Gavit's new athletic director. And the 2003 Indiana All-Star coach will also take over the Gladiators boys basketball program.
The dream seemed to be over. Crown Point senior forward Bret Barclay ended his final prep basketball season with the Bulldogs in March. The future seemed unclear.
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