Technically speaking, the Indian Creek ran the football more times than they passed it last season.
The Braves, though, have long had a well-deserved reputation as the most pass-happy team in Johnson County. They threw the ball an average of 26 times a week in 2016, and all but seven of those were tossed by Taylor Voris.
His overall numbers — 155 of 279 for 2,174 yards and 20 touchdowns — dwarfed those of any other quarterback locally. But as he enters his senior season playing for a new coach in Brett Cooper, there is obviously some uncertainty about whether Voris’ role will change.
The answer might be equal parts yes and no.
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“It’s going to be real balanced,” Voris said. “The playbook has changed, but the difference between the ratio of running and throwing, it’s probably going to stay the same.”
“I think everybody gets into that idea that (former coach Mike Gillin) threw the ball all over the place,” Cooper said. “Mike ran the ball a good amount. So I think for Taylor, it’ll be very, very similar.
“It might not be the same quantity, but the caliber of throws he’s making are going to be very, very similar.”
Most of the Braves’ offensive skill personnel is back from last year, so the biggest transition for Voris has been learning an entirely new playbook after growing up with Gillin’s for his entire football life.
So far, he says he and his teammates have handled that well.
“Once we got the hang of it, we just took off with it,” Voris said. “We’ve gotten real good real fast.”
Though he may not put up the same eye-popping numbers as he has in the past — 307 yards passing in the 2016 Western Indiana Conference title game shootout against Sullivan, for example — Voris is fine with it as long as Indian Creek is winning. He says the goal this year is to “just keep on working as a team to keep making each and every one of us better every day.”
The play-calling will depend entirely on what Cooper feels is going to put the Braves in the best position to win on any given Friday.
“If we can run the football, we’re going to run,” the coach said, “and if we need to throw, we’ll throw it. I would like to be balanced, but we will be a run-first team.”
Indian Creek’s 2017 football schedule (all games start at 7 p.m.):
Aug. 18;at North Putnam
Sept. 1;Owen Valley
Sept. 8;at Brown County
Sept. 15;Triton Central
Sept. 29;at Cascade
Oct. 6;at Cloverdale
Oct. 13;WIC playoff vs. TBA
Indian Creek Braves
Coach: Brett Cooper (1st year)
Last year: 6-5, lost to Lawrenceburg 44-21 in Class 3A sectional semifinal
Projected starters: Taylor Voris, senior QB; Avery Welch, junior RB/OLB; Michael Perkins, senior RB; Isaiah Lacey, junior WR/S; Brad Trietsch, senior WR/CB; Dylan Sprong, senior WR/K; Ryan McGillem, senior OL; Austin Meyer, junior OL; Kenny edwards, junior OL; Dawson McGlothlin, senior OL; Skyler Marshall, senior OL; Cameron Elmore, sophomore NT; Zeke Davidson, senior DE; Mason Hawkins, junior DE; Grant Goforth, senior MLB; Tyler Weltich, junior ILB; Vinny Greene, junior OLB; Matt Coy, senior CB; Bryce Smith, junior S
Outlook: Replacing one of the winningest coaches in state history is never an easy chore, but the Braves are moving forward under first-year coach Cooper, a former Greenwood assistant who comes to Indian Creek from Ohio. Voris heads a large group of returning skill players on what should again be a potent offense, and Goforth had a county-best 117 tackles last season. The Braves won a division title in their first year in the Western Indiana Conference and figure to be a threat to do so again.
Cooper says: “It’s football season. We’re ready to go, and it’s just trying to put the best product on the field to represent our school and community to the best of our abilities and hopefully compete at a championship level.
1. Traditional rivalries aside, who are you most looking forward to playing and why?
Triton Central, because last year I got hurt like two minutes in, re-injured a summer injury, so I’m really looking forward to getting out there and trying to get a win up.
2. If football didn’t exist, how would you keep yourself busy in the fall?
Probably take on more of a school load, be in more clubs after school. Maybe run cross country, just to stay in shape.
3. If you could trade bodies with one of your teammates, who would it be and why?
Probably Grant Goforth, because he’s big and strong. It seems like however hard I work, I just get stronger; I don’t get bigger. He’s just bigger, so that’s probably who it would be.
4. Name something fans will see from this team that they’re not expecting.
They’ll probably see more of a brotherhood than they used to. We were a big brotherhood last year, but it just seems like this group’s real, real close and we do a lot of stuff together. Even the underclassmen, they’re in it with us. I think they’ll see just a big family playing out there together.