By Beau Wicker Pharos-Tribune
---- — Winamac’s semistate football team could beat opponents in many different ways this year, and perhaps no player better exemplified that than Levi Schultz.
The Warriors playmaker 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.
The Warriors’ season ended in heartbreaking fashion in a 20-14 loss to Tri-Central in a semistate game at Roudebush Stadium. The Trojans scored the game-winning touchdown with 4.5 seconds left and went on to win the state championship with a 20-10 win over Eastern Hancock last Friday.
Schultz said he went to the state championship game with family to Lucas Oil Stadium.
“Tri-Central is a great team. They did the fundamentals well,” he said. “For them to beat Eastern Hancock, we lost to a good team.
“They are a very, very deserving team.”
The Warriors were a dominating team all season and hadn’t faced a battle in the trenches like they saw from the Trojans.
“We hadn’t really been in a close game like that. We had never been behind in a game and most games we were up by a bunch at halftime,” Schultz said. “Tri-Central had played in some close games. I’m not sure if that was a factor. It didn’t go the way we wanted.
“I think the first three quarters we were kind of shell-shocked, like why aren’t we up by 20-some points now. I’m glad we woke up instead of never making a game of it, but it was too late.”
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.
In the semistate game he showed good hands and hauled in three catches for 62 yards and helped spur the Warriors’ fourth-quarter comeback bid after they had trailed 14-0 after three quarters.
“We hadn’t really passed a lot in games and it was good to see we could do that,” he said. “It showed that overall we’re a good team and not just a good running team with good defense and a good kicking game. It helped [quarterback] Parker [Fox] gain confidence a ton, and he had great protection from a great starting five on our offensive line.”
The Warriors joined their 2000 team as the only teams in school history to finish 13-1 and as semistate finalists.
“Any time you mention guys like that, like Tyler Roth, Parker Roth, Taylor McFarland, those are heroes in our eyes. To be next to them is amazing,” Schultz said.
Schultz is also a returning starter in basketball. The Warriors are expecting to be a top contender in the Midwest Conference and sectional this year. Due to the success of their football team, they’re having a late start this year. They open on Tuesday at Rochester.
“I think we have a lot of athleticism,” Schultz said. “We had a lot of guys in the gym who don’t play football that really improved their game. The football guys are still trying to get our basketball legs now but overall we should be pretty good.”
The following is a question-and-answer session with Schultz.
Q. Of the sports you play, which is your favorite? Why?
A. Football is my favorite sport because I grew up with it. My dad and uncle both coached the local youth team while I was growing up.
Q. How did you first get started in sports? At what age?
A. I first got started in sports playing Star City T-ball when I was 5. I was also at every youth football practice while my dad was coaching.
Q. Do you have any family members who played sports?
A. My dad played football and wrestled in high school and my mom was a cheerleader. I also have many aunts and uncles who excelled in Winamac sports.
Q. Have you ever played a sport that you were not successful at?
A. I am horrible at golf. I can’t hit the ball straight and I get really bored really quickly.
Q. How do you feel you’ve improved as an athlete since you first started playing?
A. I feel that I have become more of a vocal leader. Early in my athletic career I didn’t say much and that has been a point of emphasis for me every year.
Q. Who do you consider your biggest role model? Why?
A. I consider my Grandma Richert my biggest role model because she was able to raise 11 children.
Q. What experiences have you had in sports have made you the athlete you are today?
A. Playing for two years next to an all-state cornerback like Jake Minnick has made me such a better player. He took me under his wing and really taught me how to not only play the position but teach the younger guys as well.
Q. What is something that not everyone knows about you?
A. My two brothers and I all share the middle name of John.
Q. What is your favorite memory of playing sports at your school?
A. Winning the regional this year. The whole season in general I wouldn’t trade for anything. My teammates, coaches and the community all came together and it was the most fun time I’ve ever had. It was great to go out on a note like that.
Q. What’s your favorite music, movie, TV show, etc.?
A. Music: Florida Georgia Line. Movie: Friday Night Lights. TV show: Friday Night Lights. Book: Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy. Team: Indianapolis Colts.
Q. Who is the best athlete in your respective sport you’ve ever gone up against?
A. The best athlete I have ever gone up against would be Timmy Mills of Lafayette Central Catholic. He is a very fast receiver with great hands.
Q. What are your goals for your future? Do you plan on attending college?
A. I plan to play football in college and major in business management or marketing.
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.