The saddest sound of the football season is the echo inside an empty locker room. The last click of cleats on concrete, the final slam of a metal door, and deafening silence. It’s over. Finality tackles hard.
The somber postgame speeches marked the end of the 2015 season for Jeffersonville, for Floyd Central, for Silver Creek, for Charlestown . . . the area mass exodus of area teams from the IHSAA state tournaments was swift and stunning on Friday night. There were no survivors.
Surprising? Not really. Floyd Central and Silver Creek had legitimate shots to advance to a sectional final. The rest were overwhelming underdogs. They were kicked and mistreated. Now the questions have to be answered: where do they go from here?
The obvious, immediate answer is home. The long-term answer is the weight room. To make up ground against superior forces, the only path to success is getting bigger, faster, stronger. And when the area programs look at their current postseason positions, it will take a lot of that.
Jeffersonville is locked in a Class 6-A sectional with Indianapolis power Center Grove, which crushed the Red Devils 56-6. The Trojans are ranked No.1 and will regenerate. That’s what great programs do. Jeffersonville’s is now in limbo, with the process to name a permanent head coach beginning immediately. The Devils finished 6-5 under interim coach Alfonzo Browning.
Floyd Central was totally muzzled by Bedford North Lawrence 17-0. The Highlanders punted five times, threw four interceptions, got stopped on fourth down three times, and crossed midfield only three times. After an impressive win at Jeffersonville, the Highlanders limped home with five straight losses and a 4-6 record.
“We ran into some good football teams,” Floyd coach Brian Glesing said. “That’s where we’re at. Bedford (5-5) has a deceiving record. They lost some games they should have won. They might be a 7 or 8 win football team.
“We have to get stronger. Hopefully some of opponents’ seniors will graduate. That’s a big deal. When seniors go against sophomores and juniors, it shows. It’s tough. We had to get first downs, and we didn’t get any first downs. We couldn’t control the ball.”
Silver Creek posted the most wins (6) in its program’s short history. The Dragons had conquered Seymour earlier in the year, but the Owls exploded in the second half for a 40-21 victory. In reality, that Class 4-A sectional has given a two-year reprieve when Columbus East was bumped to 5-A because of the IHSAA’s “success factor” rule. That window will likely close after next season.
Providence suffered a 41-7 loss to Class 2-A No.1 Evansville Mater Dei. Unless the IHSAA shuffles the playoffs again, or Mater Dei gets kicked up a level, that will be a constant high hurdle.
Of all the area teams, Charlestown is positioned to compete. The Pirates won the sectional last season, but they got thumped twice by rival Brownstown this year. That Class 3-A sectional will always be brutal three-game grind.
So of the three conferences that cover this corner of Southern Indiana, five teams are alive: Columbus East (11-0) will host New Palestine (10-0), BNL (5-5) will host Castle (6-4), Seymour (5-6) will visit East Central (9-2), Brownstown (9-2) will host Southridge (8-3), and West Washington (10-0) will travel to North Decatur (8-3).
“It’s awesome,” BNL coach Steve Weber said, speaking for all those still shouting. “Now it’s a very good team coming up. But we’re in the hunt still. We’re not going home. Another week to fight.”
For everyone else, it’s another winter of silence, and a lot of work ahead.
The Best of the Rest
x-West Washington’s Landon McPheeters ran for 165 yards and four touchdowns as the Senators stopped Eastern Greene 34-21 in Class A Sectional 47.
x-Seymour sophomore quarterback Alan Perry was 18 of 26 passing for 199 yards and two touchdowns against the Dragons.
x- Jeffersonville’s Cam Northern was 14 of 23 passing for a modest 116 yards and a touchdown against the Trojans. Brandon Coleman caught 6 passes for 68 yards.
x- Providence’s Alex Roederer ran for 133 yards and a touchdown against Mater Dei.
Justin Sokeland can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org