Floyd Central football coach Brian Glesing, as the smoke of postgame fireworks and another uncontrollable Columbus East wildfire was clearing over Stafford Field on Friday night, turned to stare down the orange horde.
The question was an easy one, with a difficult answer: How long will East’s dominance of the Hoosier Hills Conference continue? The Class 5-A No.3 Olympians are, barring a stunning upset during the final three games against opponents who are currently a combined 5-13, marching like Sherman through the Confederacy toward another conference championship.
East’s dynasty – in this case, that word is not misapplied – is staggering. The Olympians have won 60 consecutive HHC games, and 81 of the last 82. They are powering their way to the 12th straight league title, a number matched by one other program (Bedford North Lawrence girls basketball from 1984-1995) in the history of all HHC sports.
Glesing pointed to his answer following the 49-13 loss: the nearest East linemen, wearing the large numbers on 2X jerseys.
“Just look at them,” Glesing said. “They’re twice as big as everybody else. We don’t have a kid in our school that looks like any of them. That’s the bottom line. They’re huge. You have to have size. That’s just where we are.”
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On its 86-player varsity roster, East lists 11 athletes over 250 pounds, and all of them looked like Olympians, fit and formidable. By contrast, the Highlanders have two among their 55. Football is definitely a numbers game.
“What do you do?” Glesing asked. “There’s nothing you can do about it. Our kids have a lot of courage and fight, we don’t back down. That’s the way it is.”
Even with the intimidation factor of East’s tyranny, Floyd Central didn’t back down, but the Highlanders did wear down. They couldn’t force a punt, and a manageable game (21-7 at halftime) became a blowout when the Olympians scored three times in seven minutes to start the third quarter.
East has obvious talent. The program, which hasn’t lost a regular-season contest since 2011, has produced two of the state’s last four Mr. Footballs. This team doesn’t have any next-level stars like Gunner Kiel or Markell Jones, but there are few noticeable weaknesses to the untrained eye.
“Their scheme is simple, and it can be because they don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Glesing said.
“They can just beat you with what they have. All the other teams, we have to scheme and try to do things, devise ways to beat them, where they can just come out and play their game because they are bigger than us.”
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There are no signs of an end to East’s reign. Josh Major, a sophomore who was supposed to be a receiver for returning senior quarterback K.J. McCarter, was moved into the backfield when McCarter started having issues with a hamstring injury. He won the job in the preseason scrimmage.
All he has done is complete an astonishing 78 percent of his passes, with 12 touchdowns and 1 interception. He was 11 of 12 for 182 yards and three TDs against the Highlanders, who sold out to stop the running game and paid for it.
“He’s done an outstanding job for us,” said East coach Bob Gaddis, the architect of all the destruction his team leaves in its wake. “He’s just a leader. Nobody expected it to happen.”
The rest of the conference expects it, accepts it as inevitable, until that night when the East beast is finally slain. Floyd took its shot and is limping away.
“Our kids are resilient,” Glesing said. “We have three games left that will be competitive. You can throw them all in a hat.”
Best of the Rest
Corydon’s Austin Kopp continued his scoring spree, ripping Paoli’s defense for 373 yards and six touchdowns as the Panthers conquered the Rams 38-20. Kopp had four touchdown runs of 55-plus yards.
Silver Creek’s defense posted the second shutout in program history, limiting Clarksville to 37 total yards during a 40-0 victory. Brannon Russell led the way on offense with 115 rushing yards for the Dragons. The Generals have scored only twice this season, none in the last four games.
Charlestown ran for 349 yards during a 37-27 win over Salem. Quarterback Brendan Lawler had 114 yards on 10 carries, including a 43-yard touchdown.
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Justin Sokeland can be contacted at email@example.com