Center Grove senior Jackson Sodrel has made too many sound football plays to be reminded of his worst one.
Trojans coach Eric Moore occasionally teases him anyway.
Included in the drama of last season’s 44-38 defeat of Cathedral was Sodrel, a starting middle linebacker doubling as the up man in punt situations, calling his own number on fourth down.
The result, a 1-yard loss, hadn’t been part of the game plan.
“Midfield in the fourth quarter … Jackson stepped into it, went about two feet and fell down,” Moore said with a laugh. “As mad as I was I just started to laugh. He said, ‘I have no idea why I just did that.’”
This proved to be the tiniest smudge on an otherwise productive junior season.
Sodrel finished the program’s fourth consecutive semistate season second in tackles with 66, including 8.5 for loss, for a defense loaded with older and higher-profile teammates.
Ironically, his career-high of 11 tackles came in the win against Cathedral. Sodrel also posted nine tackles in both Center Grove’s 21-14 loss to Carmel in Week 3 and its 49-31 conquest of Lawrence Central three weeks later.
“I feel like I had a good season. I definitely have room to get better, though. I’ve got to be more physical setting the edge over there,” said Sodrel, who always played linebacker, and some running back, coming up in the Center Grove system.
With the 2015 season and Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference opener at Warren Central only 11 days away, the 6-foot, 218-pound Sodrel is stronger, quicker and more determined than ever to elevate his game.
Sodrel at this time last summer could bench-press as much as 275 pounds just once; he can now hoist the same weight five times in succession. Sodrel’s lower body strength also has improved, going from squatting 365 pounds once to his current maximum of reps of four.
Moore, meanwhile, raves about Sodrel’s ability to be as effective in blitzing situations as he is dropping back in zone coverage.
“Playing linebacker, I just like the way you can see the whole field. The way you see everything happen,” Sodrel said.
Moore has 34 seniors on his roster, which equates to no shortage of leaders.
Anticipate Sodrel being among the most followed.
“Last year Jackson didn’t have very good two-a-days in the preseason and I was a little disappointed. As the year went on he really found his niche,” Moore said.
“This year he’s been a total workout warrior. Jackson’s offseason was tremendous. His summer was tremendous. His camp right now has been tremendous. He runs the drills, he’s the most agile, he runs the sprints and is the leader of the line.”
All, the coach notes, while barely saying a word.
“Jackson is a total leader by example,” Moore said. “Just an excellent kid. A tough kid. A great team leader.”
Sodrel and his teammates have their work cut out, particularly in the postseason because of a change in Class 6A sectional assignments for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years.
Center Grove as the frontrunner in Sectional 8 could find itself facing Warren Central (Sectional 7) at regional. Potential semistate opponents include Avon, Cathedral, Pike and defending 6A titlist Ben Davis.
Nonetheless, four straight semistate setbacks makes for plenty of motivation.
“We’re all very close together this year. We have that anger from not winning those games,” Sodrel said. “We’re going to take it one game at a time, but in the back of our minds we’re all thinking Lucas Oil Stadium.”
THE SODREL FILE
Name: Jackson Sodrel
Family: Parents, Brandon and Angie; sister, Katie, 20; brother, Zeke, 18
Favorite TV show: “Entourage”
Favorite food: Chicken
Favorite movie: “Gladiator”
Favorite athlete: A.J. Hawk
Favorite team: Green Bay Packers