Western’s football team owns credentials that would seemingly make it a sectional favorite. The Panthers own an 8-1 record and they won a share of the Mid-Indiana Conference championship.
But in Class 3A Sectional 28, impressive credentials are par for the course.
Seven of the eight teams are 6-3 or better — No. 4-ranked Yorktown, No. 6 West Lafayette and No. 8 Western are all 8-1, Eastbrook is 7-2 and No. 14 Delta, Mississinewa and Northwestern are all 6-3.
“I think it’s the toughest 3A sectional,” Western coach Nate Andrews said. “I think West Lafayette is the headliner and Delta and Yorktown are definitely strong. I think Yorktown is playing really good football right now. And then you have Eastbrook, who is a defending sectional champion and healthy at the right time. And then you throw in ourselves, Northwestern and Mississinewa. It’s loaded.”
Northwestern coach John Hendryx offered a similar assessment.
“You look at that thing from top to bottom, there’s just a lot of really good teams in there. I think at one time or another, seven of the eight have been ranked in the top 15. It’s pretty rough,” he said.
For the Tigers, Class 3A is unfamiliar territory. They spent the last 10 years in Class 2A.
“We’re the little dog,” Hendryx quipped. “The last guy you want to be is the smallest school in your class. Somebody has to be that guy and it just happens to be us. Western is the biggest 3A in Indiana and Delta has been 4A for a long time. Delta and Yorktown hardly even play 3A schools [in the regular season]. It’s just a whole different world for us.”
Hendryx has experience with switching classes. He led Carroll to the Class A state championship in 1995 and a runner-up finish in ‘96. The Cougars previously had played in Class 2A.