Harrison has used senior Colin Zeh at inside linebacker, outside linebacker and defensive end over the last two seasons.
No matter where the Raiders line him up, he’s made plays, something he hopes to be doing on Saturdays next year.
“The dream is to play football at West Point for the United States Military Academy,” said Zeh, who will visit West Point on Nov. 21 for Army’s game against Rutgers.
The discipline and desire to succeed at that level is there.
FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL COVERAGE
Through seven games, Zeh already has surpassed last season’s total of 65 tackles. The 6-foot-2 playmaker ranks second in the county behind McCutcheon’s Parker Caldwell with 76 takedowns, and ranks first in all Class 5A programs and 20th overall in the state with 6.5 sacks this season, according to high school statistics website MaxPreps.
“Last year he was very good technically. He got the offensive lineman’s hands off of him and made a lot of sacks because of that,” Harrison coach Terry Peebles said. “This year, I think it has been more effort. He has run down plays from behind. He’s really upped his total tackles because when they’re running away from him, he chases them down.
“He’s a very good athlete, but he is not a freakish athlete. He is able to make plays on the field because he doesn’t stay blocked. He is a true defender that is difficult to take away because of his effort level.”
Zeh has recorded 14 sacks and 19 tackles for loss in his two seasons playing under the current staff.
While there are a number of schools Zeh said are backup plans in case Army doesn’t work out, his main focus is on finishing his senior season strong.
The Raiders lost to Westfield in the sectional championship last season. Injuries have plagued Harrison during a 3-4 season so far entering Friday’s home game against 5A No. 5 Kokomo.
“They are 7-0 and in line to win the conference and to put a damper on their season would be good for us going into the sectional,” Zeh said. “I mostly just want to win a lot of football games and the great thing about Indiana is everyone makes the playoffs. Even though we’ve lost to everybody in our sectional, I think we can beat any team in our sectional. We still have a chance to make a good run.”
Central Catholic junior quarterback Avery Denhart returned to practice last week after suffering a leg injury last month.
Denhart will not start Friday’s game at Rensselaer, but coach Kevin O’Shea expects to have Denhart play a few series against the Bombers. Sophomore Carlos Velasquez will start his third straight game under center.
Twin Lakes junior quarterback Blake Bennington was knocked out of last week’s game at Hamilton Heights. Sophomore Owen Crowel quarterbacked a late drive that resulted in the game-winning field goal.
Bennington will play against West Lafayette on Friday.
McCutcheon coach Ken Frauhiger knew that, despite graduation taking starters at several key positions after last year’s 9-1 season, the Mavericks had a good football team that was talented enough to win games.
What he wasn’t so sure about was how they’d respond when things weren’t going well after a season where almost everything went right.
The Mavericks lost 35-6 at Zionsville to open the season, fell on the road to West Lafayette by a single point a week later and two weeks after that dropped a game to Kokomo they felt they should have won.
Since that Sept. 11 loss to the Wildkats, McCutcheon has beaten Logansport, Richmond and Harrison by a combined 125-23 score.
“It’s tough coming back from going 9-0 when you are not used to doing that,” Frauhiger said. “Zionsville was not a 35-6 game or whatever it was, but our confidence was shaken bad. Then we go to West Side and played very well, but didn’t make the plays we needed to and West Side made plays. We were really concerned after that Kokomo game, but our guys just keep fighting and I am so proud of them.”
The last time West Lafayette gave up more than one touchdown in a game was in August. West Lafayette gave up 56 points in its first two games and just 27 since.
Attribute the defensive success to the unit as a whole.
“We play team football and our defensive is centered around everybody doing their job,” said senior Brendan Adams, who leads WL in tackles. “If everyone does their job, you can’t pick on any one guy. There isn’t that one guy who makes every play.”
The Red Devils host Twin Lakes, wary of Bennington’s dual-threat ability.
WL coach Shane Fry said the Red Devils have struggled in the past against quarterbacks who are able to run and pass well, citing specifically a scrimmage against Harrison in August. Meanwhile, the Indians are skilled in several other areas.
“Twin Lakes has a lot of athletes on their team and that’s the first thing we looked at them,” Fry said. “In the past there’d always be one or two kids that stood out, but now they’ve got guys on both sides of the ball in a lot of different positions that can play.”
Lebanon self-reported that it used an ineligible player in three games this season, resulting in the Tigers forfeiting victories over Frankfort and Crawfordsville.
The changes improve Frankfort to 4-3 and Crawfordsville to 3-4 while Lebanon is now 1-6 and falls to seventh in the league with a 1-4 conference record. The Hot Dogs and Athenians both improve to 2-3 in league play.
Around the area
Benton Central (1-6) at Delphi (1-6)
Delphi earned its first victory last week and tries to build positive momentum nearing the postseason. The Bison also are in desperate need of some positive strides, having endured injuries at quarterback this year and currently riding a five-game losing streak where they’ve scored a total of 28 points.
North Vermillion (6-1) at Fountain Central (6-1)
Both are 5-0 in the Wabash River Conference and the winner is assured at least a share of the league title with a chance to win it outright next week.
West Central (0-7) at Frontier (0-6)
Somebody gets their first win.