Prep Football

Andrean's Petkovich wants to change the picture

2013-11-20T18:00:00Z 2014-06-24T21:00:15Z Andrean's Petkovich wants to change the pictureSteve Hanlon steve.hanlon@nwi.com, (219) 933-4198 nwitimes.com
November 20, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

MERRILLVILLE | The date of Nov. 16, 2010 is one that will live in prep football infamy. Especially at 5959 Broadway.

Andrean's remarkable season was soundly shut down by Fort Wayne Luers in the Class 2A Northern Semistate. The score was 35-21, and it wasn't that close.

Luers went on the next week to win the state championship at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Andrean's Tylor Petkovich remembers the emotion and loss he felt that night. He has a daily reminder on his cell phone, a photograph of him on one knee with his arm around a teammate.

"I see it every day," Petkovich said. "I remember it every day. I don't ever want to feel that feeling again."

Petkovich and the 59ers get a rare opportunity Friday. Andrean gets a second chance. The top-ranked 59ers (13-0) will host No. 6 West Lafayette in the 3A semistate with a trip to Indianapolis waiting on the balance.

"Hopefully, on Friday I can change that photo," he said.

The 6-foot-7, 220-pound Petkovich has caught 16 passes as a tight end for 325 yards and three scores. The linebacker has 71 tackles with 7.5 sacks.

When asked if he'd prefer catching an 80-yard touchdown pass or making a hard hit that puts an opponents' face into the ground, he said it was a no-brainer.

"I would much rather hit someone than anything, every day of the week," Petkovich said.

A growth spurt and hard work in the weight room has several colleges looking at the St. John standout. He grew two inches over the summer and raised his bench press to 300 pounds.

He has offers from Illinois State and Southern Illinois. But Indiana, Eastern Illinois, Central Michigan and Indiana State are all googling Petkovich's game each week.

"There is no doubt he is going to be a big player on Saturdays," Andrean coach Phil Mason said. "What he's done over the last two years has really raised what the colleges think of him. He's tall and really, really strong.

"He's been very good for us, but I think his best football is still ahead of him."

Like Friday night, when a lifetime of dreams will be nervously on the line.

When he was playing for the Tri-Town Raiders, they played Lowell. The Raiders were up 33-0 and Petkovich was streaking for a TD. Out of nowhere came a kid named Matt DeSomer, Andrean's QB.

"He tackled me before I scored," Petkovich said. "It was the first time I met him."

If someone got a picture of that when back then, the two are hoping new photos will be taken at Father Eckert Field.

With smiles instead of tears.

"I need a new photo on my phone," he said. "It's time."

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