Playing a regular-season game in Lucas Oil Stadium can mean extra work for staff members, but local coaches see the benefits.
“I think logistically it’s kind of a hassle, but it’s fun for everyone,” said Whiteland coach Darrin Fisher, who since taking over in 2005 has taken Warriors teams indoors to face New Palestine (2008), Franklin (2010), Plainfield (2011) and Center Grove (2012). “Our kids enjoy it, and our community enjoys it; so I think it’s worthwhile.”
The next Johnson County visitor in the downtown Indianapolis stadium will be Center Grove, who faces winless North Central at 6 p.m. Friday as part of a doubleheader. Westfield plays Hamilton Southeastern at 8:30 p.m.
Fisher, who early in his career twice coached Cascade in games against former West Central Conference rival Tri-West in the Hoosier/RCA Dome, notes one major difference between now and before — no longer can a team practice in the facility the night before the game.
He also points out it’s better to play early than late because of additional warmup time before the opening kickoff. The negative is a 6 p.m. Friday game tends not to draw as well as a nightcap.
Since Eric Moore became Center Grove’s coach in 1999, his teams have always been the visiting team indoors during the regular season so the school won’t lose revenue generated by a home game. It will be that way Friday, as well, as Moore aims for career victory No. 200, including his years as coach at Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda, Florida.
Moore is much more a fan of playing games indoors in late November than in September. However, for a program with state championship aspirations, there is a plus side.
“It’s a logistics nightmare trying to count all the guys and making sure there are buses for everyone to go in. Trying to get all that taken care of when you’re still trying to prepare to win a football game … but I do think it’s great for the kids to be recognized. They love it,” Moore said. “My feeling is we should go there for the state championship.
“We’re going to use (Friday) as, ‘Hey, we’re going to familiarize ourselves because the next time we come here it’s going to be for the ring.’”