INDIANAPOLIS | It was a tough week for North All-Star coach Brett St. Germain. And the final score of Friday's loss to the South, 16-7, was only part of it.
Four Region football players, all from the Duneland Athletic Conference, did not show up for the game at Indianapolis North Central.
Merrillville's Kourtney Berry was not allowed to play because of the coaching staff at Alabama State, where he will attend next. Fellow Pirate Will Isabell, an Alcorn State recruit, did not show. Michigan City's Giorgio Karallas did not come because his grandfather was in a Nebraska hospital. And Chesterton's Kyle Schmidt called on Sunday and told St. Germain he couldn't play because of a leg injury.
“It's a head scratcher,” St. Germain said. “But I don't know everyone's circumstances. So what are we going to do? I guess I don't like it because I'm a region coach and the kids are from the region.”
It isn't easy to get players on the team. A lot of good prep players are in the mix and coaches talk and work the list down. The four no-shows could have future repercussions.
“I hope this doesn't hurt us next year,” St. Germain said.
BIG HONOR FOR BIG MAN: The Indiana Football Coaches Association gave out the John Friend Distinguished Service Award to Jeff Adamson from Eastbrook. It was the first year the honor was given.
Munster's Friend was an IFCA coach for 23 years. He was an assistant at Merrillville one year, an assistant at Pepperdine University for three, an assistant at Hammond for two and he started Munster's program and was head coach there for 16 years.
“It means a lot to me,” Friend said. “I've been a part of this for a long time. We got the coaches organized (in early 1970s) to get the state tournament going. The tournament has really helped football in Indiana. And the Indianapolis Colts being a part of this has helped quite a bit.
“I am just honored by this.”
KEYS TO THE KINGDOM: Crown Point's Emily LaMere and LaPorte's Grace LeRoy were both selected as managers for the North squad. The two were overseen by Valparaiso's Stacie Pluskota, the Vikings Director of Football Operations.
LaMere started managing the Bulldogs her sophomore year.
“This week was awesome,” LaMere said. “The managers and the guys all knew each other by name. The guys gave us their keys during practice. We had 100 keys. It was crazy. “
LaMere plans on attending IUN and continuing working with C.P. Football.
EMERGENCY KICKER: With the North short on kickers, Valparaiso's Jake Grossnickle filled on placements.
"They were saying, 'Does anybody know how to kick?'" Grossnickle said. "I was hoping I wouldn't have to do it. I hadn't kicked since my sophomore year. Then they saw my leg (in practice) and they were like, 'All right, let's give this a shot.'"
Grossnickle hooked a 42-yard field goal that had plenty of distance and connected on his only extra point.
"I was (mad) I missed that," he said. "It must've been my plant foot. In warmups, I kicked a 50-yarder, so I'm thinking, 'All right, I've got this one.'"
Defensively, Grossnickle, who will play at the University of Indianapolis, put in a productive night, recording a North-best four solo tackles to go with three assists.
"It's hard to get in a flow doing the rotation, but we're all here to have fun," he said. "For a lot of guys, it's their last time playing. It was good to get the pads on and hit again."
IFCA YEARS OF SERVICE: Several area coaches received plaques at halftime for their years of service in the Indiana Football Coaches Association. The area coaches getting 30-year honors were Merrillville's Joe Atria and Boone Grove's Tony Tinkel.
The 40-year honorees were Hobart's Steve Balash and former Valparaiso head coach Mark Hoffman.
“Forty years,” Balash said on Thursday. “Just means I'm getting old.”
ONE EYE ON THE STATS: Morton's Alfred Dickey picked off a South pass in the end zone on a two-point conversion attempt. The standout Govs skill player ran off the field excited. Then, he was told, “Nice play, but it doesn't count as a pick.”
“Man, I thought they were going to put that on the stat sheet,” said Dickey, who finished with two tackles and one pass breakup.
NO MAN'S LAND: Andrean's Mason Zurek, The Times Offensive Player of the Year, only carried the ball one time for two yards. Falling behind 16-0 at halftime didn't help.
“It was unexpected,” Zurek said. “We were like 50/50 all week running to pass. But when you fall behind 16-0 you can't run.”