TERRE HAUTE —
The plays Tim Herrin probably liked most and the plays he probably liked least as his Terre Haute South High School football team went through its controlled scrimmage at Northview on Friday were basically two sides of the same coin.
An educated guess would be that Herrin enjoyed the film session that included a big sack by senior Tyler Dobbins. A tackle in the backfield by senior Jacob Stephens — that will probably leave a recurring scab above Stephens’ nose the rest of the fall — may also have provoked some celebration, as it did on Friday.
Asked recently what kind of goals he had for his first team as head coach, Herrin answered, “Being physical, giving a lot of effort. That’s the kind of player I was [at Indiana State and at Highland High School, where one of his teammates was Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson] and that’s what I want to instill in our team.”
A couple of South celebrations for similar plays came prematurely Friday, however. Penalties of enthusiasm cost senior Ian Newton what looked to be a pick-six interception and prolonged a Northview scoring drive.
“Too many mistakes,” Herrin noted. “You’re not going to win many games committing penalties and having missed assignments.”
If the Braves were still working at tempering their enthusiasm with judgment this week, as they head to Evansville North for the season opener tonight, they at least had plenty of enthusiasm to work with.
And although Herrin is a lineman who is always going to appreciate his big guys up front, it also appears he has plenty of players in more glamorous positions too.
“A lot of guys are stepping up at the skill positions,” Herrin said recently.
There remain two candidates for replacing Danny Etling, now at Purdue, at quarterback. Junior Timmy Herrin (6-foot-5, 190), the coach’s son, got the early reps but senior Taxi Brown (5-9, 175) also saw plenty of action.
Newton (5-7, 160) and junior Michael Watt (5-7, 175) have experience at running back, but senior Logan Deady (6-2, 185) also had some carries. And so did senior Junior Berry (6-2, 300), better known as an all-state defensive tackle.
“He’ll be part of our offense,” Herrin said of Berry, who had a 10-yard scoring ramble that didn’t invite potential tacklers.
The ball also will wind up in the hands of a receiving corps led by senior Jacob Johnson (5-11, 170), about to earn his fourth varsity letter. Junior LaMarkis Stevenson (5-7, 145), senior Johnathan Rogers (5-9, 145) and sophomore Justin Jenkins (5-9, 165) also were targets, and three of the four also carried the ball.
Opening holes was a line led by senior tackles Dickie Rollins (6-3, 250) and Dobbins (6-5, 250), senior center Jordan Dressler (5-10, 260) and junior guards Jordon Montgomery (6-1, 240) and Leroy Dickerson (5-7, 230).
Berry is available on the offensive line occasionally too, but usually heads up a defensive front that also includes Stephens (6-2, 225), junior Aaron Wells (5-8, 225), senior D.J. Ramsook (5-11, 260) and available offensive linemen.
Deady, Newton, Timmy Herrin and seniors Duane Deerwester (6-0, 180) and Phoenix Adams (5-6, 155) are among the linebacker/safety types, while Brown and senior Luke Church (5-7, 150) started at the corners. Timmy Herrin will be the punter, senior Carter Hall (5-9, 190) the kicker.
Although there are quite a few players going both ways — including both the quarterbacks — coach Herrin is confident it’s a situation that will take care of itself.
“We’re going to develop some experience,” he said. “We had a large senior class last year, so we only have 12 lettermen [coming back].”
The Braves, like their counterparts on the other end of town, are also looking forward to this year’s schedule adjustment.
“We’re excited,” coach Herrin said. “New conference, 5A sectional … the players know with hard work we have the possibility of winning both, but it’s going to be hard.”