It is the most bittersweet reality of a winner-take-all tournament. There can only be one winner.
Or, in the case of the IHSAA class football championships, five winners.
That means 310 schools go home with an “L” in their last game.
Let’s not confuse that with a team’s body of work over the entire season, though.
No way. There is much more to remember than a negative balance on the scoreboard as the clock reached zero for the last time.
For local teams especially, that is not the epitaph for the season. Instead, it has been another banner year on the gridiron.
No ‘L’ in Trojans
Center Grove proved once again that it is, well, Center Grove, simply the dominant Class 5A team in the southern half of the state on an annual basis.
While Friday night’s loss to Lawrence Central (let’s say it here, the Class 5A champ) stings, a little perspective is helpful.
The Trojans have gone to the semistate four of the last five seasons. In each of those seasons, they have either won the title or lost to the eventual champion.
You just can’t get much better than that.
In fact, only state finalist Fort Wayne Snider has had better postseason success over the past two years.