INDIANAPOLIS | Phil Mason was talking about finding a bucket. Mic Roessler was talking about trying to kick “the bucket.”
That sums up the talk on Monday morning at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis as the IHSAA held its news conference for the 41st state football championships.
Top-ranked Class 3A Andrean (14-0) will play No. 7 Indianapolis Brebeuf (11-3) on Friday at “The Luke,” with kickoff at 2:30 p.m.
“I've got to find a bucket,” said Mason, Andrean's coach. “(Matt) DeSomer has a tradition of throwing up before every game. He's done it his whole career before kickoff. This place is too nice, so I've got to find a place for him to do that or find a bucket.'
Mason was in awe walking into the building that Peyton Manning built, the home of the Colts.
“Overwhelming is the word,” Mason said of the palace in which his team will compete, “and super gratifying. When I think about all the hours we've put in, all the sacrifices our family's made, it's amazing.
“But really, it's all about the kids. It's special for them. We want to finish. That's what this week is all about.”
This is the first time since 2004 that the 59ers have returned to the state finals, and is Mason's first trip.
For Roessler, the Braves' coach, everything is new. Brebeuf won its first sectional, regional and semistate titles this year. While he had wins on the biggest stage at Indianapolis Cathedral as an assistant, this is all new for his players.
“They have a tremendous quarterback and we have to find a way to contain him,” Roessler said of DeSomer. “We haven't been able to get a lot of pressure on the quarterback this year. We're going to have to find a way to disrupt him a little bit.”
In Saturday's 35-14 win over Gibson Southern in the South Semistate, Brebeuf's LeVante' Bellamy was the star. The junior running back had touchdown runs of 60, 11 and 67 yards. The D-I recruit carried the ball 11 times for 176 yards with only one second-half carry.
Linebacker Stu Dillon picked off a pass and returned it for a touchdown in the first minute of the game.
Brebeuf also recovered two first-half onside kicks, and Adam Iffert returned a punt early in the second quarter 49 yards for a score.
But the Braves were penalized 15 times for 140 yards.
“That's been our Achilles heel all year,” Roessler said. “We can't do that against a team like Andrean.”
Bellamy has carried the ball 250 times for 2,273 yards for 35 Tds. Quarterback Aaron Banks is 135-of-236 for 1,825 yards and 14 scores. Jack Roberts (46 catches for 851 yards and 5 TDs) and Chandler Grau (21 receptions for 379 yards and 3 TDs) are the leading receivers.
Dillon leads the defense with 162 tackles, with 32 coming for loss.
“We spread the ball around a lot,” Roessler said. “We have some good athletes. (Bellamy) is a big part of what we do, he's a great young man and a good football player.
“(Andrean) is built to stop the run. We may have to find some different ways to move the ball."