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November 20, 1987     The Message
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November 20, 1987

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IL I Sports I The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana I I I November 20,1987 q, I I I I II III II I I II III III I I III III II I I II I I I II II Rutter on Sports By DAVE RUTTER MD must reload while Tigers figure to be loaded in 1988 Frank Will and his Mater Dei football Wildcats discovered the down side of being No. 1. Ralph Weinzapfel and his Memorial football Tigers suffered the price of one jolting error. Although Tell City and Jasper fans can rejoice in making the state's final four in their respective divisions, local rooters are left with another winter of what-might-have-beens after last weekend's dream-ending defeats. On the gloom scale, Tell City's 12-7 ousting of Mater Dei gets a "10." Memorial figured to have a tougher assignment with Class 3-A's No. 1-ranked Zionsville Eagles, but ironically, that defeat might have been even more upsetting. The Wildcats left Perry County knowing they hadn't played well enough to vindicate their rank- ing, but the Tigers exited with the knowledge they bd been their own worst enemies. "The bad part of the season is that, if we don't 'win the whole thing, everyone's going to dwell on that last game," said Will. "These kids played some super football. And regardless of what hap- pened Friday, it was exciting. And I think everyone has to consider the season. I didn't know we could win 10 straight. We had one of the toughest schedules at Mater Dei since I've been here. When you play the city teams across the board, toss in Castle and Henderson County; that's a pretty tall order." The Mater Dei streak had been built on last- second wins over Henderson County, Memorial and Reitz, and the No. 1 ranking turned into a large bulls-eye on the Wildcats' helmets. "Yes, I think being No. I was a disadvantage," said Will. "We got that before the Memorial game and it means everyone's shooting at you. Everyone, regardless of their class, wants to test how good you are. That's how it works." Tell City might not have needed any extra motivation to play well against Mater Dei but tak- ing a crack at the No. 1 brass ring has become something of a Marksmen trademark the last three years. "They did a very nice job on us, and we didn't respond very well," added Will. "We had our last chance, but we turned it over with about seven minutes to go. We had played so well that I hoped we could get to Indy to see how we match- ed up. When you don't play well, there's always a team waiting in the wings. But both teams really came to play, and we hurt ourselves with 11 Joseph Becher to coach Marian Heights basketball Joseph Becher of Fezdinand will coach the Marian Heights Academy Girls Basketball Team during the 1987-88 season. Becher, who is a member of the academy maintenance staff, will work with the supervision Df Jorene Brewer, MHA athletic lirector. His experience includes :oaching girls softball for seven mars and he has acted as MHA ymnasium and field manager :or the past two-and-a-half tears. Assisting Becher in coaching he varsity team will be Robin raughn, who will coach the nior varsity basketball team. NEIDIG JOSEPH BECI-I]Ht ONE STOP Dram it All Profelonally Flnlllld Dry Cleaning Coin Operated Dry Cleaning Coin Operated Jim Clayton laundry Ph. 476-1359 FABRIC Clayton's cARE CENTER 1404-10 Win6. Ave. EvmmJ penalties." Self-injury by penalty flag is something Wein- zapfel can more truly appreciate now. The most agonizing play in Memorial's season came with the Tigers leading 7-0 and apparently in firm grasp of an upset. Brian Holt's pass had car- ried inside the Eagles' 15 and set the stage for what might have been a psychological knockout punch. The Eagles were not accustomed to a face- to-face knucklebasher and a 14-0 lead would have been significant. But that pass was wiped out by a penalty. Fac- ed with a second down and 30 hole, Memorial eventually fumbled, and Zionsville rolled in for a 7-7 standoff. That one sequence irrevocably chang- ed the game's tenor. "Yes, I agree 100 percent that play turned things around," said Weinzapfel. "Going up 14-0 certainly would have been a burden on their backs, assuming we could get the last 8-9 yards. We became disoriented after that, and the kids were very upset with themselves." Now each coach turns attention to next fall where the situations could harcily be more different. Except for 1,300-yard passer Scott McDurmon, tackle Rob Weightman and a handful of underclassmen, Mater Dei must rebuild from the very bottom. "Yeah, we're starting over," says Will. "That's the way it happens. You just hope the sophomores and juniors grow a little, lift a few weights and get stronger. We lose our tailback (Todd Lehman) and both fullbacks, so it's hard to tell how we'll even line up." Among the likely future choices are sophomore quarterback Daryl Adler and linebacker Larry Beard, a hard knocker who helped lead Mater Dei's reserves to a co-city title. Will says he expects McDurmon to return as the starter, even though Adler is gifted enough to play quarterback. "He's a pretty good athlete and he'll play somewhere." Memorial has the luxury of returning running back Ken Mills and 15 or so lettermen, including Holt who developed admirably as the season ex- pended itself. But Weinzapfel still must solve what turned out to be an unsolved anxiety this season. Although Mills scored 25 touchdowns and ran for i I I i =n I i SCHNELL VILLE I FOR COMPLETE ELECTRICAL SERVICE H.G. FISCHER RT. 1 ST: ANTHONY I AAA Southern Indiana Group Tour Travel Holiday Motorcoach Tours / the hoklays with AAA Group k, AA Travel Evansville 425-2288 & Jasper 634-1213 or toll-free 1-800.851-0222 1,800 yards, how much more can be expected of him? Probably not much. And that means the Tigers will need another running back to make defenses play honestly. "We certainly relied on him, {Mills), but we spent probably 60 percent on other aspects, par- ticularly the halfbacks," says Weinzapfel. "If we could have an outside threat besides Mills, it would help. We worked at that a lot this year, but it didn't work as well as we had hoped. Bill Mon- tgomery had some bright spots, and he really wanted to play." Weinzapfe] says he has considered switching to the "I-formation" in order to give Mills max- imum opportunity to run, but though better of it. "It's a good offense, but if your tailback gets in- jured, you're in trouble. Still we'd probably want to give him the ball 25 or 30 times. Really though, we averaged about 35 points a game and that's not bad for high school. Personnel is really what makes any offense go." The Tigers could have a little more "go" next year if junior-to-be Carl Lyles, a lithe, whippet- quick 160-pounder stays healthy. Lyles had won the city spring title as a freshman, and Weinzapfel had expected him to contend for the other running back spot with Mills. But Lylas suffered a back injury while punting in practice and was out most of the year. "lie's an excellent athlete, and has got outside speed," says Weinzapfel. "He has the capabilities to be one beck of a high school player. He seems to be pretty well OK now. But for much of the season, he had terrible pain with back spasms." As for the rest of his troops, Weinzapfel is already looking ahead to 1988. "In two or three weeks, all those not involved in other sports will start working," he says. "We're going to wear out those weights. As far as pressure next year, that's no problem. In fact that's great." Yes, the pressure. Mater Dei expected to challenge for the state title this year and did until the roof caved in. It's not inconceivable that Memorial might get consideration for No. 1 early in next season's poll. And the Tigers might deserve it. But as Frank Will can attest, standing on the top of the hill alone is a trying existence. And win- ning the 14th game of the season can be the toughest one of all. i l, Please patronize Message advertisersf I I I SAINT AGNES TURKEY SHOOT Sunday, Nov. 15 & 22 AT DOGTOWN 12 NOON till Dark 16 Post 2 Prizes Each Round Spin Boards Tip Boards for Turkeys Drawing for 112 Side of Beef (or equivalent cash value) on Sunday November 22 Hot Soup and Refreshments