TERRE HAUTE —
It’s been a great year so far with more to come for a pair of longtime friends and St. Patrick’s School classmates.
Former Terre Haute resident Jack Meggs quarterbacked the Bellevue Wolverines football team to the Washington Class 3A state championship this fall, culminating with a 35-3 win over Sammamish Eastside Catholic — Bellevue’s fifth straight crown.
Danny Etling, meanwhile, has completed graduation requirements at Terre Haute South and is preparing for an upcoming high school all-star game and his first college classes in a couple of weeks.
In the rout of Sammamish, Meggs rushed eight times for 108 yards on the day, and was happy to get that opportunity.
“That’s what I’ve wanted to do all year,” he told USA Today. “This kind of put an exclamation point on my football career. It’s just awesome to be out here with my friends.”
With Eastside Catholic hanging around in the second quarter, Meggs broke free for a 29-yard touchdown run. He followed that with a six-yard score in the final quarter.
“It’s indescribable,” Meggs said. “My last football game my senior year, scoring two touchdowns. Just being out here with my best friends and winning a state championship, I couldn’t ask for more.”
The Wolverines ranked second in the final USA Today Top 25 national rankings.
Meggs’ senior year is not yet over, as the 6-foot, 170-pounder is already preparing for baseball.
The sweet-swinging lefty has signed a national letter-of-intent to play baseball at the University of Washington to play for his father, Lindsay. Older brother Joe will be a senior for the Huskies this spring, and older sister Kelly is the starting point guard for the California-Irvine women’s basketball team.
“It’s going to be baseball every day,” said Meggs. “I’m going to be in the weight room getting bigger and in the cage, swinging it.
“I’m pumped,” he said. “I can’t wait to get out there, play for my pops, for UW and get to represent the Bellevue baseball community. It’s going to be awesome.”
Coach Meggs is happy to be getting his son on next year’s squad.
“Jack is a baseball player,” Meggs declared. “He can play all three outfield spots, he can swing the bat and he can run the bases. Because he can handle the bat from the left side, Jack would be ideal in the leadoff spot or the two hole. Yet as hard as Jack plays, and as talented as he is, the best thing about Jack is he’s a winner. He will help us immediately."
Etling, one of Meggs’ childhood chums, will also be a Division I athlete next year as a Purdue Boilermaker quarterback.
Etling is honoring his commitment to fired Boiler Coach Danny Hope made earlier this year, and will play for former Kent State Coach Darrell Hazell.
“He told me I was his first call and first visit,” Etling told WTHI-TV. “No matter what anyone is trying to say at other schools, he wants me there, and thinks I can do big things there.
“He told me not to think they didn’t want me and I told him, ‘Don’t feel like you just have to [take] me because you inherited me.’ I want it to be something we both want. I liked him. He seemed really down to earth and he seemed like he really wanted me at Purdue.”
Hazell led Kent State to a runnerup finish in the Mid-American Conference this season.
“He is a really good guy first off, then a really good coach,” said Etling. “Those two things really mix together and make a great person you want to play and win for.”
Etling is the highest rated recruit in the 2013 Purdue class. He’s ranked 172nd, in ESPN’S top 300 in the 2013 class.
He has finished his graduation requirements at South, and as many college football players do, will enroll at Purdue for the spring semester without that time counting against his eligibility limit.
“Purdue has told me I can go in and at least compete. If I don’t win, I redshirt. That’s the worst case scenario for me,” said Etling. “I just want a chance to compete and see where I stack up with the other guys.”
On Sunday, Etling will be in Houston playing in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl at Reliant Stadium.
“I’ll try to do Purdue proud,” he said.
The game is in its eighth year, and features 80 of the country’s top players from coast to coast.
Among the former participants in the game are NFL stars Cam Newton and Dez Bryant.
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.