Winamac’s football team is off to an 8-0 start for the first time since the semistate team in 2000.
Like the unforgettable team of 13 years ago, the Warriors are led on the field by a star fullback.
Tyler Katschke is posting a huge season for the Warriors at fullback as he’s already rushed for 1,265 yards and 22 touchdowns.
The 5-10, 190-pound senior is averaging a whopping 11.7 yards per carry.
“A lot of people are comparing this team to the 2000 team,” said Winamac coach Tim Roth. “We had a Tyler on that team playing fullback [Tyler Roth] and we have a Tyler on this one. Both guys ran hard and weren’t afraid to run in between the tackles and had the speed to run outside. Tyler Katschke is obviously bigger. But there’s a lot of parallels. Both are very humble and are quiet leaders who have a great love for the game.”
Katschke is also getting the job done on the defensive side of the ball for this year’s dominating Warriors squad. He has 35 solo tackles, 26 assists, 13 tackles for a loss, one sack, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries from his linebacker position.
“He’s a good player on both sides of the ball. He runs with authority and hits hard on defense,” Tim Roth said.
The Warriors are scoring 50.9 ppg, which is 10th in the state, while holding opponents to 6.9, which is fourth. Their average margin of plus 44 ppg is second only to North Vermillion.
The Warriors are ranked third in Class A behind Linton and North Vermillion in the AP poll and are back at No. 1 in this week’s coaches’ poll.
Katschke is certainly a big part of the success.
“He’s a very humble young man and he’d tell you he’s successful because he’s part of a successful team and because the guys up front are doing their job,” Tim Roth said.
The Winamac coach said Katschke came to the program following his freshman season at North Judson and added he’s a relentless player on the field.
“Every day, every down he brings his lunch pail to work. He gives every effort he can as long as he can,” he said. “He knows how to work. He’s not afraid to work. He’s just a quiet young man who has got things turned around and is headed in the right direction and is a joy to be around.”
Roth said Katschke is set to visit Franklin College for football and expects other programs to give him a look soon as well.
The following is a question-and-answer session with Katschke.
Q. Of the sports you play, which is your favorite? Why?
A. Football, I love running the ball and hitting people on the other team.
Q. How did you first get started in sports? At what age?
A. I played Pop Warner in Judson when I was 8.
Q. Do you have any family members who played sports?
A. My dad, Paul, and my uncles Brian, Brent and Tom played football, wrestling and baseball.
Q. Have you ever played a sport that you were not successful at?
A. Ping pong.
Q. How do you feel you’ve improved as an athlete since you first started playing?
A. I’ve gotten faster and stronger and way better at my game.
Q. Who do you consider your biggest role model? Why?
A. My dad, because he pushed me to work hard and helped me get on track.
Q. What experiences have you had in sports have made you the athlete you are today?
A. My coaches always wanted to make us great on and off the field and to work hard and success would be achieved.
Q. What is something that not everyone knows about you?
A. I’m really shy until I get to know you.
Q. What is your favorite memory of playing sports at your school?
A. My favorite moment is winning the sectional championship.
Q. What’s your favorite music, movie, TV show, etc.?
A. My favorite music is rock because it gets me ready for games. Artist is Rob Zombie, band is Trapt. TV show: Family Guy. Book: Of Mice and Men. Sports team: Patriots.
Q. Who is the best athlete in your respective sport you’ve ever gone up against?
A. Joey Miller of Pioneer. He’s very fast and can make things happen.
Q. What are your goals for your future? Do you plan on attending college?
A. To go to a four-year college and play college football and major in sports management.
Each week during the school year the Pharos-Tribune recognizes an athlete from one of five area high schools. The recipients are selected by each school’s athletic department.