Leroy Marsh began coaching at Munster in 1973, when the IHSAA state football tournament was in its infancy. There were three classes and 12 teams in the entire tournament.
On Sunday, Marsh was excited as the 41st state tournament pairings were announced. A new Class 6A field begins this year, with the top 32 enrollment schools in the state there.
Munster will stay in Class 5A, playing schools with similar enrollments. Munster drew the bye in Sectional 9 and will play Michigan City in the semifinal.
"A lot of coaches put a lot of time and effort into this thing," Marsh said. "It will be interesting to see how the privates (schools) do with this."
This is the first year where the success factor bumped certain schools up. Class 3A No. 1 Andrean is one of them. The 59ers will host Knox on Oct. 25.
"This tournament has come a long way, believe me," Marsh said.
There is a state-record 322 teams playing in this year's tourney. Sectional play will begin on Oct. 25, with the sectional championship played on Nov. 8 in classes 1A through 5A.
Class 6A has four teams in each sectional. The sectional final will be played on Nov. 1 in 6A, with regional games on Nov. 8.
The semistate will take place on Nov. 15 in 6A, with the winners taking a two-week break before the state finals.
In the other classes the semistate games will take place on Nov. 22. The six state championships will be held the weekend after Thanksgiving at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the tournament sponsor Colts.
Class 4A Sectional 17 is the most interesting in the area. Clark plays at Griffith. Morton, winner of four straight sectionals, will host E.C. Central in the other game on that side of the bracket.
Streaking Lowell will travel to high-flying West Side in one game and Highland will travel to Gavit in the other.
"This is the third straight year we've played E.C. in the sectional," Morton coach Roy Richards said. "In my opinion the four best teams are playing each other. (E.C.) is a good team, a good defensive team. Playing them helped us.
"We learned some things."
The Govs (7-1) beat E.C. (6-2) 19-6 on Sept. 27. They won 50-28 in last year's sectional.
West Side, who beat Lew Wallace 82-20 on Friday, is averaging 54 points a game, which is third in the state. Lowell is only giving up 11.38 points a game.
"We know they're on a streak and playing well," West Side coach Jason Johnson said. "It will be a contrast in styles. We know from their history they're a power-running team. We felt like we should've beat Morton and Morton beat (Lowell).
"So we're excited about the challenge."