TERRE HAUTE —
If you’re worried about the NFL season being canceled and you can’t wait months for the college and high school seasons to begin, you can get your football fix tonight at Memorial Stadium.
The West Central Wildcats, a semi-pro team that played its home games at Clay Youth Field in Brazil last season, will play home games in Terre Haute this season.
Tonight’s season-opening clash with the Indiana Generals, an Indianapolis-based team that handed the Wildcats their only losses during a 9-2 campaign in 2010, will kick off at 7 p.m. The Generals finished 12-0 last season, so these are no push-over opponents.
Tickets cost $5 and children under 10 will be admitted for free. Gates will open at 6 p.m. and Wildcats T-shirts can be purchased inside.
Mike Rindone, beginning his fourth season as coach of the Wildcats, insists revenge will not be a motivational factor for tonight’s showdown.
“It’s all business,” he emphasized. “It’s just about getting over a hurdle. It’s that simple.”
Rindone and defensive coordinator Jason Trainor do think the results will be drastically different for the Wildcats than the 52-0 and 63-17 setbacks they were dealt by the Generals last year.
“Our athletic depth will give us a huge advantage [over last season] because there is not much dropoff from our starters to our reserves,” Rindone explained.
“We’re better than we were last year — without a doubt,” Trainor added.
Rindone said the Generals, who have switched from the Interstate Football League (IFL) to the Mid States Football League (MSFL) since last season, may be the Wildcats’ toughest foes this season.
“They have an air of confidence about them,” he mentioned. “They’re coming off an undefeated season and they’re thinking this game is going to be another notch in their belts.”
Rindone, who lives in Brazil but works in Indianapolis, said he has heard first-hand what the Generals think about this matchup.
“I hear about it all the time,” he admitted.
So revenge won’t be a factor, huh Mike? OK, I’ll play along (wink).
Anyway, the Wildcats have several former Indiana State or Wabash Valley athletes among their 50-55 players — including Kenneth “K.C.” Wilson (ISU), Jerry Calvert (ISU), Russell Dedeaux (ISU), Dan Smith (Terre Haute North), Kyle Dean (Terre Haute North), Cogan Keith (West Vigo), Robbie Hoole (West Vigo) and Mike Landry (Northview).
Rindone said Keith is likely to start at quarterback.
Wilson, 25, last played for ISU in 2008 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science in 2009. He now works as a personal trainer at Stan’s Fitness Center, but he still makes time for football.
On that note, Wilson acknowledged that he never imagined being able to play on the Memorial Stadium turf after he left the Sycamores.
“I look forward to playing there again,” he said Friday. “I played in that second game [against the Generals at Indianapolis] last season. They’re a tough team. But if we have trust in our brothers and our brothers have trust in us that we’ll do our jobs [on the field], then we can compete in this game.”
After tonight’s contest at Memorial Stadium, the Wildcats will play the rest of their 2011 home schedule at Rose-Hulman’s Cook Stadium. Those dates are next Saturday against the KC Mustangs, July 9 against the Indiana Hitmen, July 23 against the Indiana Cutters, Aug. 6 against the Wanee Hurricanes and Aug. 20 against the Elkhart Shamrock.
Their IFL playoffs will begin Sept. 10, but sites for those games have not been determined yet.
For more information about the Wildcats, check out their website at www.westcentralwildcats.org.
David Hughes can be reached after 4 p.m. by phone at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or at (812) 231-4224; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.