STEVE HANLON: Facility musical chairs could change playoff picture

2013-11-07T18:00:00Z 2014-06-24T19:25:18Z STEVE HANLON: Facility musical chairs could change playoff pictureSteve Hanlon Prep Beat
November 07, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

In two years Lake Central will have a new football complex, with the ever-so-popular turf surface that's all the rage with big schools in Indiana.

Keeping up with the Joneses catches on like a runny nose, you know.

It's a good thing that the Indians aren't playing top-ranked Penn in the Class 6A regional two years from tonight, but now.

The old-school, new-school debate is dying down now. Anyone who's anyone plays on turf. But give me old-school any day of the week.

Because L.C. has God's green mud on its field, the Great Equalizer is on the Indians' side. Mother Nature can alter the scoreboard as much as a quarterback that runs for 300 yards a game.

If Hobart played Griffith in the 1995 regional on turf, the Brickies lose by four TDs and the nickname "The Mud Bowl" never enters our lexicon. If L.C. played Merrillville on turf last Friday, there's no way it wins 31-0.

And if L.C. played Penn on turf, turn in the equipment now, fellas. There wouldn't be a chance.

But playing on a wet sponge in a tub of mud gives L.C. a puncher's chance.

"I don't know if the field conditions favor us but that's the common assumption," L.C. coach Brett St. Germain said. "It seems in our kids' minds they like playing on it. They feel good playing on it. They know people come there and have an impression of our field that isn't favorable. But it's our home."

St. Germain said in last week's game against Merrillville that quarterback Ethan Darter commented whenever he took a snap in the shotgun there were chunks of mud on the football.

Since the November rain turned cold, Penn has played back-to-back games on turf. It will be an adjustment trying to win a regional in quicksand. Maybe the Kingsmen are good enough to overcome?

Maybe they're not.

"Our field is how it is," L.C. senior running back Brandon Scott said. "We love playing on it. Now days you don't get to play in mud much anymore."

This has been a week of football field musical chairs for the playoffs. West Side tried to get its field ready for the Cougars game against E.C. Central but was denied by the IHSAA and the Class 4A Sectional 17 game was moved to Morton.

Bowman Academy tried at first to get Morton for its Class 2A Sectional 33 title game against Rensselaer. The game was moved to Roosevelt, then moved to E.C. Central.

I'm sure the Eagles would rather play the Bombers on turf than in mud.

It isn't just who you play anymore. It's also what you play on.

Lake Central shocked NWI last Friday. If the same kind of game is played tonight it can shock the state. The mudder flooders can do it. It's possible.

It's up to them. And Tom Skilling.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at

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