It seems like only yesterday that it was 100 degrees and we were walking from one grid to another taking mug shots for our 2013 football preview edition. The season's over already? Dang.
Well, here's my quick look back at the best and the worst of this great season. It was a lot of fun. Some great moments and a couple of above-par walking tacos. So here we go:
Oink, oink: Not that I like to brag or anything. No, not me. But when the 41st IHSAA state finals were completed, here's a quick recap of how your Times staffers finished in their weekly picks contest.
No. 1 was me. Going 4-2 last week completed my season at 201-46. Jim Peters also went 4-2 ending up at 196-51. Hillary Smith went 4-2 and finished third at 192-55. Al Hamnik went 3-3 and was beloved by Andrean fans, finishing at 186-61. Matt Douthett went 4-2 to finish at 185-62.
I'm sure our Pig Trophy is in the inner-office mail right now. I have a spot on my desk for it.
Best field to play on: This is easy. Lucas Oil Stadium. E.C. Central and Rensselaer finished one game short. Nonetheless gents and lads, great season. Don't let the final scoreboard define your life.
Andrean finished the job. The 59ers were the best team in Da Region all year. Congrats fellas. You earned it.
Worst field to play on: Oh, come on. I'm not going there again. Plus, it's dark. If I drove over there the lights wouldn't be working.
Best 25-second clocks: At every high school in the area.
Worst 25-second clocks: There's a tie, West Side and Morton. The Cougars lost any home playoff games, in part, because the play timer wasn't plugged in. But when they lost to E.C. Central in the sectional final at Morton, the 25-second clock wasn't working there. Almost cost E.C. the game, too.
Toughest boy player around: Hammond's Eric Schreiber Jr. The QB had more headaches than President Obama with healthcare. Yet he fought through and gave it everything he had. I wish you the best, young man.
Toughest girl player around: Easy, Lake Central's Jillian Doan. Came in and won a sectional as a kicker. Worked hard at her craft, too. But please don't tell my two daughters about playing football. I don't want to have that chit-chat. OK, I won't.
Best win: Boy, there sure were a lot of them. L.C. beating Merrillville in the 6A sectional final lifted a lot of pianos off a lot of backs. West Side-Morton (63-56) is the craziest game I've ever seen and I'm still rubbing Ben Gay on my neck. E.C. Central-West Side in the sectional final was riveting, a 46-44 win for the Cards. But what E.C. did the next week against No. 3 New Prairie, 38-37 in overtime, that is No. 1.
Worst loss: Same game. Same night. Why do crazy losses keep happening to Russ Radtke-coached teams? People in Griffith sure remember all of them.
Best officials: All of them. You guys do a great job.
Worst officials: Except for the guys working the Morton at West Side game. Come on.
The hot stove is starting to warm. Who is going where? Who is going to stay? What college is JonVea' Johnson going to end up at? Stay tuned to The Times and we'll answer all of these in due time.