By Beau Wicker Pharos-Tribune
---- — Winamac not only boasts of having its all-time leading rusher on its football team this year, the Warriors have many other options to attack opponents with.
In fact the 13-0 Warriors have accumulated 5,340 yards of offense this season, as their wing-T offense has been a machine. They have outgained opponents by a mere 3,325 yards, which is almost two miles, literally, heading into their Class A semistate game against Tri-Central (12-1) on Friday night at Roudebush Stadium.
It all starts with Katschke, as the 5-10, 190 pound senior fullback has gained a school-record 2,005 yards on the season on 206 carries with 32 touchdowns. But it certainly doesn’t end with him. Warrior coach Tim Roth said while Katschke helps open things up for teammates, it’s also vice versa as they help him get room to run.
Junior quarterback Parker Fox is 29-for-49 passing on the season for 608 yards despite missing five games with a broken collarbone before returning for the sectional final against West Central. He has nine touchdown passes to go with just one interception. He is a dual threat on the ground, rushing for 486 yards on 51 carries with 7 TDs.
Senior running back Levi Schultz has been a playmaker all year for the Warriors. He has scored 13 touchdowns on the season overall. On the ground he has rushed for 504 yards on 35 carries with five TDs. He is the team’s second leading receiver with 12 catches for 294 yards and 4 TDs. He has two punt returns for a score, one kickoff return for a TD and a touchdown on defense.
Then there’s Keegan Kasten, a 6-foot, 213-pound bruiser. The senior is a key blocker from his wingback position who has rushed for 299 yards and 6 TDs on 35 attempts and adds 10 receptions for 175 yards and 4 TDs.
“Keegan and Levi are both passing threats and running threats, and I think when we get those two outside it makes Tyler even more effective,” Roth said. “Tyler has all the tools to be a good inside runner and he has all the tools to run outside as well. It gives us good balance.”
Senior tight end Sean Lynch is the leading receiver with 15 catches for 394 yards and five TDs.
The offensive line consists of center Devin Kistler (jr, 6-0, 236), guards Brant Howard (so, 5-9, 206) and Dalton Button (jr, 6-2, 285) and tackles Quest Fritz (sr, 6-2, 255) and Wyatt Spence (jr, 6-2, 200). In a good sign for the future, Fritz is the only senior starter on the o-line.
It doesn’t end there for the Warriors, who have the rare good fortune for a Class A team in that they have a more than capable backup quarterback in senior J.T. Garnett and an all-state kicker in senior Zach Markley.
Garnett kept the Winamac machine going in Fox’s absence and is 18-for-42 passing for 450 yards with 10 TDs to go with just one interception.
“J.T. knows our offense inside and out,” Roth said. “A lot of schools have a JV kid or a freshman kid they have to put in there. A lot of years we have kids where you go ‘please don’t get hurt’ because our backup is a freshman and there’s no way he’s ready.
“[Garnett] doesn’t have the foot speed that Parker does. He can’t get himself out of trouble with his feet like Parker can. When people load up on Katschke we can run play fakes with Parker and not a lot of people can catch him, either.
“And J.T. has had just a great attitude and is a total team player.”
Markley has connected on 76 PATs and three field goals this season, including a 50-yarder. He gives the Warriors an added dimension.
“I don’t know too many programs that have a kid that can kick a 50-yard field goal,” Roth said. “There’s not too many kickers who are the conference 100- and 200-meter champion either. There’s a possibility he could kick [in college], but I think his favorite sport is track. At a small school maybe he could do both. He’s 6-3, 180 pounds as fast as he is.
“Everything has fallen into place. I tell the kids that the football gods are smiling on us this year. It’s very rare to have all of that with a school our size.”