December 29, 2013

Season for the ages

Running back Katschke is Loganland Offensive Player of the Year.

By Beau Wicker Pharos-Tribune

---- — This season for Winamac’s football team was one for the record books.

The Warriors broke six team records this season and joined their highly revered 2000 squad as the only teams in school history to go 13-1 and finish as semistate finalists.

Leading the way for the Warriors this season was star fullback Tyler Katschke, this year’s Pharos-Tribune Loganland Offensive Player of the Year.

The 5-11, 200-pound senior rumbled his way into the school record books as Winamac’s single-season and all-time leading rusher.

Katschke rushed for 2,124 yards and 33 touchdowns on 232 carries for an average of 9.2 yards per carry this season. He added five catches for 96 yards and a touchdown.

He finished with 3,744 yards rushing in just two seasons to become Winamac’s all-time leading rusher.

Katschke ran with brute force and was a punishing runner while at the same time showing nimble footwork and good speed.

As good of a running back that he is, Katschke might even be a better linebacker. He was second on the team this season in tackles with 71 which included 46 assists and 21 tackles for a loss. He had four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and a sack.

Katschke was named the Midwest Conference MVP and was also named to the IFCA’s Senior Class A All-State team as a running back.

Winamac coach Tim Roth said Katschke will play football in college and added he’s undecided as of yet. Katschke also has good combine numbers. He runs a 4.9 second 40-yard dash, has a 39 inch vertical jump, benches 330 pounds and squats 500.

“Hopefully he’ll get the opportunity to make the most of it. That’s what he wants to do,” Roth said. “He has a tremendous work ethic with a lot of God-given ability.”

The following are capsules of this year’s All-Loganland offense.

QB — Parker Fox, Winamac

Fox, a 5-9, 155-pound junior, missed five games with a broken collarbone before returning for the sectional final against West Central.

He finished with 493 yards rushing and 7 TDs and an average of 7.9 yards per carry. He was 37-of-67 passing (61 percent) for 780 yards with 10 TDs and two interceptions. He averaged 21.1 yards per completion.

He also on defense and had a team-high three interceptions. He added 21 tackles, 11 assists and a fumble recovery.

“He’s a very good, instinctive player on both sides of the ball,” Roth said. “On offense he added a dimension running and throwing the ball and understanding to get the ball where it’s got to be. In the passing game he made plays with both his arm and feet.

“On the defensive side of the ball there’s not a more instinctive defensive back than he is on our team. He has a nose for the ball and would make interceptions when people threw at him, which wasn’t often. He broke his collarbone on defense on a fumble recovery when he got hit out of bounds.”

QB — Sam Kiser, Pioneer

Kiser, a 6-2, 175-pound sophomore, rushed for 1,064 yards and 21 TDs and averaged 8.3 yards per carry for the 10-3, sectional champion Panthers. He was 34-of-69 (49 percent) passing for 534 yards with 6 TDs and five interceptions.

He was named to the Junior Class A All-State team as a defensive back. He had 42 tackles which included 30 solos and 24 assists, one interception and one forced fumble.

“He was our player of the year,” Pioneer coach Mike Johnson said. “I thought he had a really good year for a sophomore. He ran the offense a lot better. He showed he can throw the ball. He threw the ball a lot better than a year ago and he’s only going to get better in that aspect. He’s very quick and hopefully he’ll only get quicker.”

RB — Justin Mersch, Pioneer

The 5-8, 170-pound junior rushed for 1,829 yards and 26 TDs, averaging 7.7 yards per carry. He added four catches for 56 yards and a TD.

“He possesses good quickness and hopefully he has a great offseason and he’s only going to get better,” Johnson said. “He put up pretty numbers for a first-year starter on offense.”

RB — Levi Schultz, Winamac

Schultz scored a total of 13 touchdowns on the season. The 5-10, 172-pound senior running back scored five on the ground, four through the air, two on punt returns, one on a kickoff return and one on defense.

Schultz finished the season with 505 yards rushing and averaged 14.0 yards per carry. He added 15 catches for 356 yards and averaged 23.7 yards per reception. He averaged 23.4 yards per punt return on nine tries.

“He’s a coach’s player. He’s a coach on the field,” Tim Roth said. “He knows more about Winamac football than half the assistants. He’s a great young man, a quality player, a four-year starter on defense. This year he scored in every way possible other than kicking and passing. He wants to play at the next level and probably will at some place. He’s a very good role model for the young kids.”

Schultz was named to the Senior Class A All-State team as a defensive back.

RB — Jacob Shelton, Logansport

Shelton, a 5-10, 180-pound senior fullback, rushed for 608 yards and 10 TDs, averaging 5.2 yards per carry for the 3-7 Berries this season. He played in just seven games, averaging 86.9 yards per contest on the ground.

He missed three games late in the season after suffering a deep thigh bruise injury during the Muncie Central game that was serious enough to hospitalize him for several days.

“He would have had 1,000 yards had he not gotten hurt,” Logan coach Brad Urban said. “He had a great year. I won’t say it surprised us but he really stepped up his senior year and had some huge runs early on when we didn’t have anything else going on offense. He carried us for awhile, unfortunately he got hurt for a month during the season but still got 600 yards.

“The fullback is the focal point of our offense and he really carried the load. I was pleasantly surprised with what he did.”

RB — Gabe Welch, Cass

The 5-5, 163-pound senior fullback led the 5-5 Kings in rushing yards (884) and touchdowns (10). He averaged 7.0 yards per carry and 88.4 yards per game.

He also started at linebacker on defense and led the team in tackles with 50. He had 46 solo tackles, eight assists and six tackles for a loss.

“Gabe had a really good year on both sides of the ball. He was our MVP,” Cass coach Scott Mannering said. “He was our leading tackler and our main guy inside on defense.”

WR — Sean Lynch, Winamac

The 5-11, 188-pound senior led the Warriors with 19 catches for 498 yards and 10 TDs. He averaged 26.2 yards per reception.

He also started at defensive end and had 47 tackles, 42 assists and 20 tackles for a loss. He had three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

“He made more strides from when he was a freshman to a senior than anyone we’ve ever had,” Roth said. “When he was a freshman I didn’t know if he’d come back out for the team and by the time his senior year rolled around he had a great year. He had a decent year last year and he and Katschke and [Keegan] Kasten spent all winter in the weight room.

“He had three or four highlight-reel catches where he took the ball away from the defender. He had a record 10 receiving touchdowns. He had a real solid year at defensive end, too. He’s getting some small college looks as well.”

OL — Brady Barber, Cass

Barber, a 6-foot, 285-pound senior, helped the Kings churn out 3,222 yards of offense including 2,762 on the ground. The Kings outgained their opponents on the ground by over 1,400 yards for the season.

“He was a first-year player at center. He adapted very well to the position,” Mannering said. “He played on the defensive line as a junior. He had a real solid season.”

OL — Dalton Button, Winamac

The 6-2, 285-pound junior helped the Warriors gain 5,639 yards of offense including 4,262 on the ground. They outgained opponents by more than 3,300 yards and outrushed them by more than 3,000 yards.

Button also started on the D-line and had 51 tackles, 46 assists, 23 tackles for a loss, four sacks and a forced fumble.

He was named to the Junior Class A All-State team as an offensive lineman.

“He’s a mountain of a man,” Roth said. “He was all-conference and all-state. The majority of our offense ran behind him. You see him on offense stick out but on defense I know at our conference meeting some coaches said they had to game plan around him and Mitch Reed. Our D-line in the majority of ballgames took total control. Hopefully his best year is yet to come.”

OL — Cody Campbell, Cass

Campbell, a 5-11, 244-pound senior, was named to the Senior Class 2A All-State team for his efforts this season.

“Cody made the all-state team for the second year in a row. He’s one of the stronger players we’ve had at Lewis Cass,” Mannering said. “He’s a really good offensive guard in our system.”

OL — Alex Emmerd, Logansport

The 6-5, 260-pound senior, who was a state finalist in the discus last spring, helped the Berries gain 2,637 yards of offense, including 2,160 on the ground. They outgained their opponents by more than 440 yards on the ground for the season.

“Alex was probably our best offensive lineman,” Urban said. “One of the biggest moves we made was to move him to center after the Peru game, and that’s when really our offense took off. We had the ability to move the ball a lot better, especially in our running game. He was a leader on our O-line, which was a really inexperienced group except for him. He was the glue that kept us together. Overall we became a much better offensive team after a really slow start the first couple of games, and he was the main reason for that.”

OL — Jacob Lytle, Pioneer

Lytle, a 6-3, 250-pound sophomore, helped the Panthers gain 4,582 yards of offense including 4,045 on the ground.

He also started on the D-line and had 25.5 tackles which included 11 solo tackles, 29 assists, 4.5 tackles for a loss and a forced fumble.

“He’s a very solid offensive tackle. He has good size and good strength,” Johnson said. “We know he’ll work hard and get better. On the defensive side he’s pretty good over there, too. He got a lot better.”

K — Zach Markley, Winamac

The 6-3, 191-pound senior was named to the Senior Class A All-State team as the place kicker. He had 78 PATs on the season and three field goals of 47, 48 and 50 yards.

He added eight punts that averaged 42.4 yards per punt.

“He’s a super kid. Right now I think there are schools that are looking at him. Trine is very interested. He wants to study engineering and is a smart kid,” Roth said. “He’s a great athlete. He’s our conference sprint champion and he’s an athlete on the soccer field even though our soccer program is down. For us on the football field he broke six different kicking records, from kickoffs to single-game PATs to field goals. He also broke the punting average. He only punted eight times but in our records you only need five to qualify. We didn’t have to punt much this year.”

Beau Wicker is the sports editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5113 or

2013 All-Loganland Football Team Offense QB -- Parker Fox, Winamac QB -- Sam Kiser, Pioneer RB -- Tyler Katschke, Winamac RB -- Justin Mersch, Pioneer RB -- Levi Schultz, Winamac RB -- Jacob Shelton, Logansport RB -- Gabe Welch, Cass WR -- Sean Lynch, Winamac OL -- Brady Barber, Cass OL -- Dalton Button, Winamac OL -- Cody Campbell, Cass OL -- Alex Emmerd, Logansport OL -- Jacob Lytle, Pioneer K -- Zach Markley, Winamac Defense DL -- Ryan Coffing, Caston DL -- John Hartley, Cass DL -- Tyler Shaw, Pioneer LB -- Khalil Carter, Logansport LB -- Quentin Douglass, Caston LB -- Tyler Hanna, Pioneer LB -- Keegan Kasten, Winamac LB -- Michael Leonard, Logansport LB -- Conner Martin, Caston LB -- Nick Price, Pioneer LB -- Mitch Reed, Winamac DB -- Jacob Brown, Logansport DB -- Brayton Jellison, Caston DB -- Marcus Record, Logansport Honorable mention: Cass -- Raistlin Coppernoll, Payton Young, Brendan McGehee, Kyle Dwiggins; Caston -- Jake Kingery; Logansport -- Bailey Craven, Isaac Eastburn, Ryan Schrock, Austin Gaby, Caleb McLochlin; Pioneer -- J.P. Smith, Kamrin Buell; Winamac -- Brant Howard, Devin Kistler, Quest Fritz, Jeffery Nies. The 2013 All-Loganland football team was selected by the head coaches from Caston, Lewis Cass, Logansport, Pioneer and Winamac and Pharos-Tribune sports editor Beau Wicker.