Remember the last time Northwest Indiana was invited to the football state finals party?
Merrillville and Andrean came up one win shy of a trip to the big oil can, making it three years now since Lowell got a ticket to the Class 4A dance in Indianapolis.
The addition of a sixth class only seems to enhance our chances for disappointment in the future. Sure, the success factor will bump up some of the powerhouses around, but save for Class A, there's still going to be a Catholic school standing in somebody's way in most every class. The exception will be 6A, though the roadblocks there remain just as formidable.
Who's the best bet to end the drought next season? It looks like Andrean, which will return most of the components from the team that won a 2A regional.
Chesterton, which ranks 34th in enrollment, seems to benefit greatly by remaining a stripped-down 5A, but timing may have been off by a year. The 2012 Trojans would make a deep run in 2013. Not sure about the 2013 team.
Boy, did the season fly by. Doesn't seem like four months since a petrified Jake Raspopovich climbed onto the back of a horse during our preseason all-area photo shoot. It's the only time any of us have ever seen fear in the eyes of the Merrillville quarterback, the most dynamic offensive player in the area this season. Hope I didn't give anything away with that last sentence.
Kudos to Stacy Adams for restoring life to inner-city football with a 9-2 season at E.C. Central. The Cardinals couldn't dethrone Morton, the benchmark program for urban football in the area, but hopefully the pride is restored on Columbus Drive and the uptick will continue.
On the subject of the red birds, four pick sixes by LaRunte Fairley and nearly a national-record fifth. Great stuff.
Injuries prevented Lake Central's David Yancey and Griffith's Austin Brown from finishing their careers on their terms, severely hampering their teams' fortunes. Here's guessing we'll be hearing from them on Saturdays in the future. Gotta believe the same is true for Chesterton's Joe Troop, if not just for his special special teams prowess.
For the second year in a row, the 59ers played in the season's greatest game. This time, the result wasn't one Andrean wanted to forget, as it survived Cass in an incredible five overtimes. If a DVD of that game hasn't been made and put on sale for a fundraiser, it should be.
Hobart's revival brought back memories in Brickieland. Can the success be sustained through graduation attrition?
We all knew Brad Stewart would get it done at Kankakee Valley. It was just a matter of time. Are the Kougars here to stay?
Boone Grove became a story for something other than being new. With the foundation class leaving, will the Wolves continue to win?
For the answers to these and other questions, we'll have to wait until next season.
As always, it's been fun. See ya' indoors.
This column represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.