2019 Fall Sports Preview: Football

2019 Fall Sports Preview: Football
By: Curtis Hankins Last Updated: August 23, 2019

School is back in session, which means legions of students are taking to their home fields for another season of football. We invited football coaches from across the Region to share their insights and expectations for this season.

Coach Craig Osika - Hobart High School

Who are your rising stars?

“QB Riley Johnston, WR/DB; Matthew Benton, WR/DB; Zach Vode DE; Haidyn McLamb, LB/RB; Bobby Babcock, LB; Tyler Turley, and RB DJ Lipke.”

What is your main focus this season?

“We have to make sure that we improve every week. We are going to have some young players in key roles and it is our job as coaches to make sure that we have them ready to go. If we stay healthy and our players improve from week to week, I believe that we can have a pretty successful year.”

What are you most excited about?

“Our coaching staff is excited about our senior class. They’re a great group of kids who work hard and are bought into the system. We are also excited to see the growth of our young kids. We started quite a few sophomores last year, so we’re excited to see the growth that they made over the past off season.”

Coach William Marshall – Valparaiso High School

Who are your rising stars?

"Cooper Jones, DE, already has offers from Michigan, Ohio State, IU, and Purdue. John Hofer already has several MAC offers. CJ Opperman looks to become a dual threat quarterback, and Dylan Dingman looks to lead us in sacks again."

What is your main focus this season?

"Our team this year is looking to continue the success from last year, but by creating their own legacy. Last year’s departure in Semi-State has left our players hungry and humble. We know there are things we need to get better at that are going to separate ourselves from others and help us win those five points we lost by in Semi-State. Our effort will affect our outcome."

What are you most excited about?

"The community and school involvement in our program."

Who do you consider your biggest rival, and how are you getting ready for that match-up?

"We're just looking forward to our first game, and then from there it's a game-by-game focus."

Coach Darren Rodriguez – Portage High School

Who are your rising stars?

  • Scott Hansen -Sr.  RB/WR/FS
  • Zack Warchus- Sr.  QB
  • Isaac Hegwood--Sr.  RB/OLB
  • Humberto Morales--Sr.  DE
  • Jared Gunning--Sr.  OL/DE
  • Danny Puplava--Jr.  TE/HB
  • Tylee Swopes-- So.  WR/QB

What is your main focus this season?

“Our main focus is to get better every week. We want to make sure that we are playing for four quarters and not taking anything for granted.”

What are you most excited about?

“We’re excited to see how this team comes together. Every year is a new journey and each team gets a chance to write their story. I’m excited to see what this team wants to accomplish.”

Who do you consider your biggest rival, and how are you getting ready for that match-up?

“Our biggest rival is Valpo. We don’t really do anything special to get ready for them. Every team we play from week one through week seven gets us ready to play Valpo. The DAC is a great conference and playing Mishawaka and Lowell gets you ready for conference play.”

Coach Kevin Enright – Crown Point High School

Who are your rising stars?

“Up to this point, our senior class has had a decorated career with tremendous varsity experience. Captains David O’Toole and Alec Barancyk have really grown in their leadership roles while serving as excellent role models for our group. Ben Uran, Tysen Cazy, Cael Begley, Michael Wolff, Zach Milly, Silas Reeves, Calvin Pawlowski, Collin Flavin, Jacob Woods, Donovan Huffine, Noah Hollendonner have experienced significant varsity playing time and will play a substantial role in the success of our group.”

What is your main focus this season?

“Our main focus is to continue to work extremely hard, continue to foster a great attitude, rely and trust each other through adversity and success, and most importantly, control what we can control.”

What are you most excited about?

“Ultimately, we are very excited to get our 2019 journey started and experience the challenges that Friday nights present.”

Who do you consider your biggest rival, and how are you getting ready for that match-up?

“Our group really gets excited when we play our neighborhood rivals, Lowell and Merrillville. The Crown Point-Lowell game is our first game of the season and the winner claims the “Old Leather Helmet.’ Furthermore, this game is the State of Indiana’s longest standing rivalry. Our previous games with Merrillville have always been tremendously competitive, played at a high level, and extremely entertaining.”

Coach Tony Bartolomeo – Lake Central High School

Who are your rising stars?

  • Mateo Cendano – QB
  • Sam Long – LB

What is your main focus for the season?

“Playing a four quarter game at a high level, physically, mentally, and emotionally.”

What are you most excited about?

“Just starting out a new football season.”

Who do you consider your biggest rival, and how are you getting ready for that match-up?

“All of our opponents are of high quality!"

Editor’s note: Don’t see your favorite school here? Have the coach email share@greatenews.life and we’ll include their insights, too!