Josh Strauch has been hearing from former Southside football players. The former Rebels have been telling the current quarterback, their former teammate, that they wish they could have played the schedule Strauch and his teammates have played this year, thinking it would have better prepared them for the state tournament.
Southside is 0-8 this season, but against a difficult schedule that has included five Hoosier Heritage Conference teams (HHC squads are 17-3 against non-league competition, among the top records for conferences in the state).
The Rebels are hoping those difficult losses will help them as they prepare for their last regular season game, and then the beginning of sectional play. Southside will host South Dearborn, also 0-8, at 7:30 p.m. today in its final regular season matchup.
With both teams winless, Strauch sees the game as an opportunity for his team to finally secure a victory.
“You’ve still got to go into it with the attitude that you can easily get beat,” Strauch said. “Because we’re obviously both 0-8. But it’s definitely in our grasp.”
The IHSAA released its sectional draw on Sunday, and Southside will play at New Castle (0-8) in the first round. Although a win against New Castle would guarantee a home game in the second round of the playoffs, tonight is Southside’s last guaranteed home game of the season.
Southside’s long-term future is uncertain — as is that of Central High School — as the board of Muncie Community Schools is considering possible consolidation options. Strauch said he and his teammates think about the possibility of tonight being Southside’s last ever home game. Speaking during Monday’s practice, he said the subject had come up that day. But his response is rather simple.
“Coming back here second round is our goal, is what we have right now,” Strauch said. “Obviously (we want) to go as far as we can. But we want to play again at Southside.”
Strauch is in his first year as Southside’s quarterback after playing receiver last season. He said he is more comfortable in the role at this point in the season, and he thinks the Rebels’ offense is functioning better as well.
Southside scored 42 points against Fort Wayne Northrop three weeks ago, and put up 27 points last week against Pendleton Heights. Those two games represent two of Southside’s three highest-scoring games this season.
The Rebels are averaging 20.5 points in their last four games, more than five points better the first four.
The increased scoring is little consolation for a team that has yet to win a game. But coach Wenstone Nash said he has seen progress from his offense as it prepares for one last regular season game and the postseason. He thinks the difficult schedule will help in the end.
“It’s definitely prepared us for our sectional,” Nash said. “I feel like we get better and better each week. We’re giving up a lot of points, the scores look kind of deceiving. We’re playing well in the games. It’s third down, we can’t get stops. The last two weeks we’ve given up six touchdowns on third and more than 10 yards. So we’re going to be working on that a lot this week.”