Passionate play leads local stars to honorDecember 21, 2017
By HENDRIX MAGLEY
It’s been almost a month since the Southridge Raiders won their first-ever state football championship but the accolades are still rolling in.
Senior quarterback Jayce Harter and senior defensive lineman Mitchell Carter were named to the 2017 Indiana Class 2A All-State team. They were joined by two fellow teammates as junior defensive lineman Matt Gentry and junior defensive back Tucker Schank were named to the Class 2A All-State honorable mention roster.
Also receiving recognition was senior Jasper jack-of-all-trades Malik Chatman who made the Class 4A All-State team as a defensive back and Forest Park senior wide receiver Sam Englert who was named to the Class 2A All-State honorable mention team after breaking the Rangers record for most receiving yards in a single season.
For Harter, the All-State recognition is just icing on the cake after the Raiders won the state championship and he was also awarded the Mental Attitude Award at the state title game.
“I really don’t know how to put (this season) into words,” Harter said. “I’ve always dreamt about having a successful season like we had and for all of this to come together my senior year, it’s just awesome.”
Harter finished his senior season passing for 1,772 yards, 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,177 yards and 12 touchdowns and on the defensive side of the ball, he finished with three interceptions as a safety.
When he first got word that he was going to be a member of the All-State team a couple of weeks ago, he said it didn’t quite hit him immediately just how big of an honor it was.
Harter said the same thing after winning the state championship — a game he says his family still watches on a near-daily basis.
“My family watches the game three to four times a week still, so I think I’ve seen enough of it,” Harter said with a laugh. “I don’t really think I’ll be able to fully realize how important all of this is until it all settles in a few years from now down the road.”
Carter, who was hanging out with a few of his buddies when he received a text from Southridge head coach Scott Buening congratulating him on being named to the All-State team, said the honor is a culmination of all the hard work he and his teammates have put in over the last few seasons.
“It’s like all of the puzzle pieces have finally fit together,” said Carter, who finished with a team-leading 22 tackles for loss along with four sacks. “All of the 6 a.m. summer morning practices, all of the lifting was all worth it. I remember getting up every morning and getting beat up by bigger guys every day at practice when I was a sophomore but all the coaching staff, my friends and my family encouraged me to stick with it.”
Jasper’s Malik Chatman was named to the Class 4A All-State team as a defensive back, though he could’ve very well made the team as a running back or a kick returner as well.
Chatman finished with five interceptions on the year, including one for a touchdown, as a defensive back. He also ran the ball for 289 yards and six touchdowns and also accounted for six other touchdowns through a mix of kickoff returns and receiving touchdowns.
Wildcat head coach Tony Ahrens described Chatman earlier in the year as a guy who not only has a tremendous personality but also a guy who didn’t allow too many things to bother him or get under his skin — something that allowed him to have a very successful season.
“Let’s say, he doesn’t catch a ball on one play. He’ll just look at you and say, ‘Oh, I got that next time’ and just moves on,” Ahrens said. “He’s an extremely fun guy to coach and his athletic ability, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything like it.”
The Class 2A All-State honorable mention roster also had a wide array of talent from Dubois County.
Englert finished the season with 49 receptions for 922 yards and 11 touchdowns, a Forest Park receiving record. Englert scored nine of the Rangers’ final 16 touchdowns during the 2017 campaign.
Gentry, a junior defensive lineman, finished with 12 tackles for loss on a defensive line that included himself, Kortland Hartke and Jose Chavez. Gentry also was a key member of the offensive line that helped block for guys like Harter and Schank.
As a defensive back, Schank finished with three interceptions and 10 pass deflections along with 42.5 tackles on the season. Schank was also a huge factor on the offensive side of the ball as he finished the season with 1,307 rushing yards and 26 rushing touchdowns — the most of any area running back.
Harter said it was awesome to see a guy like Schank make the All-State team as a junior.
“Me and Tucker have been best friends for as long as I can remember. We’ve been lifting partners our whole life and whenever I’d go out to the field to get a little extra work in, I’d always call Tucker,” Harter said. “We always kind of joked around about being named to the All-State team because it just seemed like such an unreachable goal, but we both did it and it’s quite the honor.”
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