Consistency, experience, effort, confidence.
There are four Sycamores most likely to fill the open cornerback position left by standout All-American stopper Johnny Towalid.
Travis Starks (consistency), Alex Stowers (experience) and Tony Newman (effort) all had their own spin on what made them the right man for the job.
Oh … and there’s also junior college transfer Clay Guess. He would be the confident one.
“Confidence is everything, especially at corner. If you believe you’re the better man, it’ll show. If you’re timid because a guy has a name, it doesn’t matter what he did before. It matters what he did that night, that play and the play after that,” Guess said. “If a guy has been all-conference three years in a row? It makes no difference. I didn’t guard you three years in a row. Show me something. I like to bring that approach to the table.”
Whatever approach ISU’s next starting cornerback brings to the table, ISU coach Mike Sanford knows they have big shoes to fill. But he also knows they have a solid mentor on the other side of the field.
Calvin Burnett was a first-team All-MVFC selection in 2011 and a second-teamer in 2012. The man ISU claimed from the wreckage of Hofstra’s eliminated football program after the 2009 season has started in each of his previous three seasons. Burnett is also ISU’s leading returning tackler as he notched 60 in 2012. He helped lead an experienced secondary that helped ISU rank 14th in the nation in pass defense last season.
All of the Sycamores vying for a chance to join Burnett as a starter praised his leadership.
“Calvin is a great leader. I call him sometimes and ask about plays. I ask him a lot of questions. He’s a veteran and Calvin has a lot of technique he can pass on to us,” Starks said.
Burnett, 5-foot-9, won’t wow you with size, but Sanford noted that the Orlando, Fla. native does everything he expects a corner to do and plays bigger than his size. Burnett fits Sanford’s template for the ideal corner.
“You want ball skills first of all. You want a guy who can break on the ball and make plays. Who has catch up speed and can run. The ideal scenario is do all of the above with height. That’s hard to get at this level,” Sanford said.
None of the would-be starters is taller than 6-foot. Stowers has the most experience for the Sycamores as he had 12 tackles and played all but one game in 2012 as a redshirt. Stowers was given a scholarship by Sanford in the offseason. Starks also played in 2012 as he had three tackles in three games.
Newman did not play, but was on the roster as he sat out the season as a redshirt.
“I’m going to give going to give 100 percent. I go hard. I don’t accept the ball being caught against me,” Newman said.
Guess came to ISU from Orange Coast College. He had three interceptions in 2012 and had 46 tackles.
Of course, the competition is making all of the cornerback candidates better in the long run, or so they hope.
“I feel like with all of the corners that are trying to get that spot, it heightens how we play. We have to make sure we know what we’re doing and that we’re doing it right,” Stowers said.
Entering preseason practice, the concern over the second starting cornerback spot was mitigated somewhat by the depth ISU had at the safety positions. But that comfort zone went out the window when starting safety Larry King tore his ACL during the first preseason practice on Aug. 1.
King’s loss takes away 57 tackles (second among returning defenders) and three interceptions. King has always played smart and has the knack to force turnovers at key junctures.
“It was a huge loss to lose Larry King. From an ability standpoint, a leadership standpoint, a team camaraderie standpoint. He’ll still be with us, but it’s different when he’s not playing. That’s the bad news. The good news is that’s one of our deeper positions,” Sanford said.
Junior Donovan Layne returns after he was injured in the season finale at Youngstown State in 2012. Layne had 48 tackles. Sophomore Mark Sewall started on occasion and had one interception last year.
After that, the experience dries up. Sanford said redshirt freshmen Phil Wilson and Tsali Lough would get a chance. Both are likely to get playing time as well as special teams opportunities. Senior veterans Kamerin Mitchell and Othniel Harvey are also in the mix, along with freshmen Carlos Aviles and Jameer Thurman.
At least four Sycamores are vying for starting spot
Consistency, experience, effort, confidence.
- High School
Game’s the same, no matter park’s name
Maybe they should play this at Valle Field. It’s called Terre Haute Boys & Girls Club Park now, but the venerable ballpark was the site of some classic high school baseball regional games in the 1970s when coach Don Jennings and Terre Haute North’s local dynasty fought off stiff challenges from the best the rest of the Wabash Valley had to offer.
Ex-Brave Johnson happy to welcome back ex-Patriots
When recent Terre Haute South graduate Jacob Johnson watched his baseball counterparts from Terre Haute North march through the IHSAA state tournament to the Class 4A title game against Noblesville last month, he had mixed emotions.
North wrestling club performs well at Disney World
Several athletes from the Terre Haute North wrestling club fared well this week in the AAU Scholastic Duals National Championships at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World.
Collett named first-team All-State in Class 4A
T.J. Collett led Terre Haute North to the Class 4A state championship game at Victory Field.
The sophomore catcher was rewarded as a first-team All-State selection by the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association. Collett hit 17 home runs with a .536 batting average this spring.
Tribune-Star Spring Sports Athletes of the Year: Hard-working sluggers
It’s not a challenge to figure out one of the things the two players chosen as the Tribune-Star’s Athletes of the Year for high school spring sports have in common. Both Cheyenne Thompson of Marshall and T.J. Collett of Terre Haute North make the ballparks they play in look way too small.
Gold surprises Black 35-12 in WVFCA All-Star Game
A dozen players from Terre Haute North were hoping that Saturday night’s Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association All-Star Game at Memorial Stadium would put a fitting exclamation point on their historic 2013 high school season.
But there were four other smaller schools in the Valley that also had excellent seasons, and Brian Oliver drafted all of them.
“I’m a coach at a small school,” said the Linton coach, whose first year resulted in an Indiana Class A semistate appearance and earned him the right to be an all-star coach opposite North’s Chris Barrett, “and I picked [Casey, North Vermillion and North Central, among others] because I know how much heart those schools play with.
“I knew those kids would come out tonight and give me everything they had, and they did,” he continued after a 35-12 victory by a Gold squad that had probably been considered an underdog.
Fireworks likely: Plenty of offense expected in tonight’s All-Star Game
Predicting the offensive attack for the Black Division in tonight’s 10th annual Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association All-Star Game shouldn’t be difficult.
Metro: ISU’s Wise starts out well in USATF championships
Indiana State sprinter Katie Wise advanced to the semifinals of the women’s 100 meters as she ran 11.42 seconds in the opening heat of the event Thursday evening at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships.
TH North puts 12 players in WVFCA All-Star football game
The third week in June has become an unofficial reunion for members of the Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association, who make their way to Indiana State’s Memorial Stadium to swap stories and coach — officially or unofficially — the two all-star teams for the Saturday game.
Terre Haute North has taken the concept one step further this week, however.
North wrestlers set for big AAU meet
Sixteen members of the Terre Haute North AAU wrestling team — coached by Luke Register, Mark Frisz and John DeLisle — will leave today for Orlando, Fla., to compete in the Scholastic National Duals meet at the ESPN Wild World of Sports Complex on the Walt Disney World Resort property.
Sweet season: Shakamak wins Class A baseball title
Shakamak baseball wins the IHSAA Class A state baseball championship.
Rockville philosophical about championship game defeat
Rockville philosophical about championship game defeat
North's Turner departs Patriots after title game loss
Terre Haute North coach Shawn Turner will leave his head coaching and teaching job to join McCutcheon's staff.
Just a little short: TH North strands 10 runners while losing in Class 4A state title game
Pitching depth came into more play than one might have expected Friday night in the Indiana Class 4A baseball state championship game, and that’s what Noblesville had in abundance.
It's go time for North, Rockville and Shakamak
Terre Haute North, Rockville and Shakamak will be playing for high school baseball state championships this weekend, the Patriots at 7:30 p.m. today against Noblesville for the Class 4A title and the Rox and Lakers against each other at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Class A final.
Rockville gets its first Victory Field shot in Class A title game
Rockville's talent runs deep as it plays in its first Class A baseball championship game.
Thompson leaves big legacy in TH swimming
Jeff Thompson, of Terre Haute South and the Terre Haute Torpedoes, has taken the head coaching position at Germantown Academy in Pennsylvania.
The final inning: Close-knit Terre Haute North seniors hope long journey winds up with a state title
Most of them have been close enough to a state baseball championship already to decide that close just isn’t good enough anymore. But the lessons they learned and the bonds they formed in those previous tournaments are among the reasons why Terre Haute North’s nine seniors are looking forward to Friday night’s Class 4A high school state championship game with excitement and optimism.
This time, Shakamak coach is really retiring
This isn’t the first time that a story has been written about the retirement of Chip Sweet as Shakamak High School’s baseball coach.
Sullivan 12th heading into today’s final round of boys golf state finals
It was hot and windy for the start of the IHSAA boys golf state finals Tuesday at The Legends of Indiana Golf Club.
Columbus North was the leader at the conclusion of 18 holes and Sullivan is 12th going into the final round to be played today with tee times beginning at 8 a.m.
Sullivan opens bid for state golf title
Play begins today in the high school boys state golf finals at The Legends of Indiana Golf Club at Franklin.
Prep/Metro roundup: Hambrock named to all-state tennis team
Lauren Hambrock of Terre Haute South was named to the all-state first team on Monday by the Indiana High School Tennis Coaches Association.
IHSAA baseball game times set
Game times set for IHSAA state baseball finals.
Shakamak tops Rivet in pitchers' duel to advance to Victory Field
When your name is Yeryar, Shakamak High School expects great things on the baseball diamond. Vincennes Rivet dodged Brett Yeryar intentionally walking him. But Rivet had to face Braxton and pitch to Tanner and their performances lifted the Lakers to a 1-0 victory and into the Class A state championship game.
Braxton Yeryar pitched a three-hit shutout and Tanner Yeryar singled up the middle in the eighth inning to drive in Kyler Fulford with the game-winning run.
Terre Haute North heading to Victory Field after semistate win
If Terre Haute North becomes the Class 4A state champion a week from now — and who would bet against the Patriots at this point? — there’s one prediction that might be safe: it won’t be a typical, run-of-the-mill high school baseball game that makes it happen.
Rockville to make maiden voyage to Victory Field
Rockville wins the Class A Kokomo baseball semistate.
Rival Castle up next for Patriots
Revenge isn’t the purest of motives, but it’s one that two of the three Wabash Valley high school baseball teams involved in semistate games have in common today. And it could come in handy for Terre Haute North’s Patriots.
IU recruit lights up Kentucky for 41 points in All-Star win
James Blackmon Jr. scored 41 points to lead the Indiana boys All-Star team to a 104-94 win over Kentucky on Friday night.
Sullivan boys, South's Drew Cahill qualify for state golf finals
Sullivan’s team and two players from the area extended their high school boys golf season by two days with their play on the links on Thursday.
The Arrows placed third to qualify for the state finals Tuesday and Wednesday, and Alec Davis of Greencastle and Drew Cahill of Terre Haute South qualified as individuals in the Washington Regional played at Country Oaks in warm, mostly sunny conditions.
Rockville baseball coach wants season to last one week longer
Bob Kyle really hopes his Rockville High School baseball team can win its semistate game Saturday at Kokomo against Washington Township.
Not exactly earth-shaking news, but not exactly the usual reasons either.
- More High School Headlines
- Game’s the same, no matter park’s name