FORT WAYNE — Some things change, and some things stay the same.
The IHSAA added a sixth class this year and thus the Associated Press preseason football poll, announced Monday, will have a sixth set of teams. It will also bring a new lineup for the state finals in November.
But when it comes to area teams getting the recognition in the polls, the SAC usually leads the way, and this year is no different. Six area teams were recognized in the top 10 and four come from the SAC – Snider No. 2 and North Side No. 7 in Class 5A, Bishop Dwenger No. 8 in 4A and Bishop Luers No. 2 in 3A.
“To me it is pretty much based on last year, the preseason polls,” North Side coach Ryan Hall said. “It is hard to rank a team when you haven’t even seen them play. There is a little bit of research of what you have coming back or your potential. A lot of it is based on tradition. (The SAC) usually has someone going down to Indy for the state finals or going to semistate, and it is usually numerous teams.”
Both the Panthers (5A runner-up) and Knights (2A champion) played in last year’s state finals. The new lineup for the state finals will have 1A, 3A and 5A playing on Friday, Nov. 29 and 2A, 4A and 6A playing on Saturday, Nov. 30 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“People think of Bishop Luers football, and they think of our 2A state titles and anybody who has watched us and follow us knows we are going to strap it up every Friday no matter who we play,” Luers coach Kyle Lindsay said. “Polls are polls, but it does show a lot of respect for the program overall and the tradition and the success we have had.”
Also in the top 10 from northeast Indiana were East Noble (9th in 4A) and Churubusco (10th in 2A).
Area teams receiving votes in the AP poll were Carroll (6A), Homestead (6A), Leo (4A), New Haven (4A), Heritage (3A), Tippecanoe Valley (3A), Garrett (3A), Bluffton (2A), Adams Central (1A) and Southern Wells (1A).
Along with Luers’ ascension to 3A, all five of last year’s state champions will be playing in a larger class. Lawrence Central went from 5A to 6A, Indianapolis Cathedral, 4A to 5A, Indianapolis Chatard, 3A to 4A and Lafayette Central Catholic 1A to 2A.
In the Indiana Football Coaches Association preseason poll, Snider is second in 5A, while Luers is in the same position for 3A. North Side is ninth in 5A, Bishop Dwenger sixth and East Noble seventh in 4A, Churubusco is eighth in 2A and Adams Central is ninth in 1A.