TIPTON — In the coffee shops and diners around a small town like Tipton, the conversations seem to always be dominated by the recent fortunes of the football and basketball programs.
As it pertains to football, there are a select group of years that stay on peoples’ minds in Blue Devil country. Nine Tipton squads have won sectional titles, and before this season, the 1988 and ‘94 teams often receive the most votes for best-ever Tipton teams for their respective trips to the state finals.
After Friday’s regional championship, the current squad will likely get their due mention as well when the talk turns to football in the future. Led by a senior class that’s 15 players deep, the Blue Devils dispatched Oak Hill to claim their first regional crown since ‘94.
“There’s a lot of them. It’s a nice, balanced group,” coach Aaron Tolle said. “There’s a lot of four-year players in this group. They’ve just got a wonderful mindset about them. There are some that are leaders by example and others who can lead vocally. It’s a great mix. … We’ve talked about and challenged our kids on their legacy and what they’re going to be remembered for, and hopefully that’s going to be determined in the next couple of weeks.”
In their own words, it’s a legacy the seniors take very seriously. They’ve carried on the long-standing traditions of Burying ‘em at the Rock, a Thursday tradition where, following a win, players place a tombstone in the ground before pre-game walkthroughs, as well as spaghetti dinners, senior wills and Thursday’s funky dress-up days at school.
Well aware of the program’s past history and success in between the lines, they seniors were eager to write their own chapter. They certainly have.