News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 4, 2009

Amey Takes Aim: We’re one week away from dream prep playoff football matchups

By Andy Amey

Isn’t it about time for the Rockville-Linton high school football game? And can you have too many games between Casey and Marshall?

Both those scenarios could be a little more than a week away, provided the four teams take care of playoff business Friday and Saturday.

Linton and Rockville actually don’t appear on each other’s schedules, although by this time they may as well. The two schools have staged a pair of exciting games the past two seasons for Class A regional championships — and, by extension, the Indiana small-school championship of the Tribune-Star area — and have been stopped after that only by future state champions Sheridan (over Rockville in the RCA Dome in 2007) and Indianapolis Ritter (in a spell-binding semistate game at Linton last November).

Neither Rox nor Miners were probably picked to be playing in November when the season started. Graduation ripped away the so-called skill-position players from both teams.

Well guess what. At Rockville and at Linton — and at Marshall and at Casey — blocking and tackling also qualify as skills.

I was fortunate enough to get to see the Rox last week at North Vermillion (where the Falcons’ field, incidentally, was in a lot better shape than the Class 5A field I walked a week earlier) but wasn’t able to fully recognize all the Rockville stars. James Kent and Nick Wheeler got in the paper, but I should have found ways to talk about Levi Berry and Cody Stout and Jared Paxton too.

All five of those Rox are linemen. So is Stefan Sparks, who was probably Linton’s best player the night I saw the Miners this year at West Vigo (although I have to admit little Evan Magni was pretty good then too).

Both teams are underdogs on Friday against conference opponents that have already beaten them — Rockville at Fountain Central, Linton at home against North Daviess. I’m not about to bet against either one, however, and would be happy to walk both sidelines in about eight days.

Casey and Marshall, of course, do appear on each other’s schedules. That would be the game, on each slate, with the big circle around it.

It’s probably been more than 35 years since I covered my first Marshall-Casey game, and I quickly realized then that I was watching two teams that really liked to hit each other. I haven’t seen as many of their battles lately, but I doubt anything has changed in that regard.

They’ll be playing Saturday — Casey at Red Bud, Marshall at home against Williamsville — for the rare opportunity to beat each other up twice in one season. A spot in the Illinois Class 2A semifinals would be the prize for the winner of that game — not that any additional incentive is needed.

• • •

• Panther senior headed for Lucas Oil Stadium — Riverton Parke’s Shawn White has been named to the Indianapolis Colts Academic All-Star team, and will be one of 24 players honored Dec. 13 when the Colts play the Denver Broncos.

White was an all-purpose back for coach Hank Lopez’s team this fall and will be the valedictorian of the Riverton Parke Class of 2010. He is one of six valedictorians on the all-star team, which also includes nine salutatorians. All 24 players selected — from a field of 80 finalists — are in the top two percent of their respective classes.

He’ll get a plaque from team president Bill Polian of the Colts and will also be part of a pre-game press conference. His mother, Penny Griffin, will also get tickets to the game as part of the award.

Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. for comments or news items at (812) 231-4277 or at 1-800-783-8742; by e-mail at; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.