Wolves are in it to win it
MICHIGAN CITY — The numbers are staggering.
Top-ranked and undefeated New Palestine averages over 60 points per game while allowing just nine an outing. Dragons coach Kyle Ralph is 72-4 in six seasons at the school with four sectional, three regional, two semistate and one state title (Class 4A) in that span.
Michigan City coach Phil Mason knows all about it and he’s not flinching.
“We’re not looking at them by any means like this is the end of the road,” Mason said. “We fully look at them like, we’re going to beat them. I’ve seen the tape of them and yeah, but I’ve put on the tape before, sat down and went oh (shoot). Not even close.”
There have been times in Mason’s career when he did feel that way.
“I remember when I started coaching with Roy (Richards) at East Chicago and we played Ben Davis,” he said. “It took us a couple days to get the film back and Roy’s like, don’t worry about it. I go, what? What do you mean? It’s high school football, everything matters. All of a sudden, you put the tape on and go, oh. I remember 2011 (at Andrean). We got Luers against Cincinnati St. (Xavier). I’m looking at it going, wait a minute, who sent me this? What is this? This is the ACC. What am I watching here? This is not a high school football game.”
New Pal running back Charlie Spegal has an astounding 2,942 yards and 63 touchdowns, but Mason takes the numbers with a grain of salt.
“Obviously, (Ralph) isn’t playing (other) kids, if this kid’s got what? 75 touchdowns?” Mason said. “I’m watching tape, it’s the second quarter, they’re up 68-0, and he’s carrying the ball in to go up 75? Why is he carrying the ball?”
No close calls: Michigan City hasn’t had a tight finish during its eight-game winning streak. That’s likely to change this week.
“I keep asking myself, are we really this good or are we playing that bad of competition?” Mason said. “When you look at what’s happened in the Duneland (Conference) outside of Valpo and us, I don’t know. The thing about us is we just continue to get better. Everybody says, you haven’t been in a game, what’s that going to be like? I’ve been through that where you steamroll into the regional, then, boom, all of a sudden, you’ve got a lockdown. I’m not worried about that.”
Ringing endorsement: Concord coach Craig Koehler spoke highly of Michigan City prior to Friday’s Class 5A Regional and nothing that happened in the game changed his mind.
“We’re a program with a proud tradition, we’ve been to the state championship game three times,” Koehler said. “We’ve seen a lot of really good teams and had a lot of really good teams along the way. We know what it looks like. We played Snider a couple times, (Fort Wayne) Dwenger multiple times, (Indianapolis) Cathedral. We had some wars with Lowell when we were in 4A. (M.C is) as talented a team as I’ve ever competed against top to bottom. They’ve got a lot of really good players.”
Class 5A Northern Semistate
No. 3 Michigan City (10-2) at No. 1 New Palestine (12-0), 3 p.m.