All posts by Steve Ford

Economic downturns hurt sports, too

One of the results of the economic downturn Americans are just now starting to recover from is showing up on the soccer field.

With the expense being one of the primary reasons, fewer kids are playing travel soccer. That is beginning to show up on many high school teams.

For instance, the Harrison girls have only three players who play travel or select soccer in the spring and two of them will graduate before next season.

A decade ago teams like Harrison could fill out a team with select players, while programs like Reitz and Memorial had dozens of girls on travel teams.

That is no longer the case and the overall quality of play suffers for it.

Gibson County showdown looms

While most high school football games are in-conference during the fifth week of the season, there’s a really nice non-conference tilt looming Friday at Gibson Southern where Princeton comes to Haubstadt for the unofficial county title.

The Titans are 4-0 under second-year coach Nick Hart, while Princeton (3-1) lost its first game of the season to a rugged Mount Carmel (Ill.) team.

This could be one of the most-competitive games between these two schools in years.

Running backs abound in the SIAC

One of the toughest selections this season will be the running back positions in the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference for its honor team. Good backs are all over the league.

It’s not just Avion Sullivan at Central. Reitz has De’Wayne Esters and Malik Higgins, Memorial McKinley Warren, Bosse Carrington Crutcher, Castle Christian Peach and Mater Dei Nolan Goebel and it’s not like Harrison and North are without.

It looks like some very good runners will be disappointed when the voting ends after the season. My guess is post-season results could weigh heavily in the decision.

North team to beat in girls golf

North is reaping the dividends from having the only real feeder program in high school girl’s golf.

The Huskies have had a feeder program in place for 26 years under former principal Ken Wempe, who is now the North coach.

After winning the Southern Indiana Atheltic Conference crown Saturday, North has not lost this year. The Huskies have two seniors, two juniors and two freshmen currently on the team and a host of strong players in middle school. They will be the team to beat for years to come.

The only current player not from the feeder program, senior Taylor Howerton, can be forgiven. Her father, Jeff, is a golf professional who happens to be a former standout for the Huskies. Taylor joined the program last year when Jeff became the head pro at Sultan’s Run in Jasper.

Volleyball talent strong in SIAC

Having now seen six of the eight volleyball teams in the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference excluding Reitz and Central, I can now say volleyball is on the upswing in the league.

Castle, the defending champion, has Rebecca Nunge, who committed to Notre Dame, and a balanced attack with size around her.

Mater Dei and Memorial will both be strong challengers with size and excellent athletes from other sports like Maura Muensterman and Tori Schickel, who are also outstanding hitters around the net for Wildcats.

Bosse, with Kennedy Madison and Yamani Hunter, and Harrison both have the talent to improve by tournament time and only North might be out of the mix with a young team.

Now I need to see Reitz and Central sometime before they play on Oct. 8, which is also when Mater Dei and Castle square off on the West Side. By then we might just know the next champion.

Girls help the boys in soccer at Tell City

Tell City lost 2-1 to Bosse in boys soccer Wednesday night at the EVSC Fields in a game that was competitive throughout.

But there was something that made the game unusual. The Marksmen field a team with three girls: Emily Heck, Amity Lane and senior captain Cat Diaz.

All played and competed, with Diaz generating a shot, albeit off-target, late in the contest. It’s the difference between Tell City fielding or not fielding a team.

Congrats to the ladies.

Getting out to see teams

One of the things we do at the Courier & Press is try very hard to balance coverage during regular seasons. We try to see all the teams of the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference and as many area schools as possible in any give sport.

For instance, I’ve seen Mater Dei, North, Memorial and Harrison in volleyball and will see Castle and Bosse Thursday (Sept. 12). Hopefully, it will work that I can see Reitz and Central play each other or possibly a strong program from the area like Boonville, Mount Vernon or North Posey, among others.

But coaches give us way too much credit when they get mad at us for showing up at a loss, thinking we know which team will win. We just go where we can, when we can. And, unfortunately, one of the teams at each of those games will lose.

It’s always tough, and we understand that, but it’s not our fault, either.