Remember the kid in high school who spent hours of his summer vacation in the weight room in order to be noticeably stronger by September?
That’s the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference.
Having Pike and Lawrence Central replace charter MIC members Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South makes better sense geographically. It also adds noticeable bulk to what was already the Indiana’s premier high school football league.
“I know, personally, I was excited when I heard we were joining,” said Pike coach Derek Moyers, whose sixth-ranked Red Devils are at No. 2 Center Grove tonight in a clash of Class 6A heavyweights. “One of the reasons I came to Pike seven years ago is that I wanted to play the best competition.
“I’m a competitor, and this is not only the best football conference in Indiana but the Midwest.”
Don’t believe him?
After facing Center Grove, a program that swept Pike in a home-and-home back in 2009 and 2010, Pike plays Class 6A No. 4 Ben Davis at Lucas Oil Stadium before traveling to Class 6A No. 5 Warren Central.
There are six members of the MIC ranked in the top 10 in Class 6A, including No. 1 and defending state champion Lawrence Central. This contrasts the Terre Haute programs, which between them accounted for only 43 MIC victories since the league’s formation in 1997. By contrast, Center Grove by itself produced 71 MIC wins over those 16 seasons.
“Week in and week out, it’s a tremendous challenge as a coach and as a player. It certainly keeps you on your toes,” Moyers said. “Everyone makes the (postseason) tournament. I don’t feel it should be that way, but everyone makes the tournament.
“This schedule allows us to prepare by playing top-notch competition every week.”
Eric Moore, by virtue of this being his 15th season at Center Grove, is dean of MIC football coaches. He has seen nearly everything that can be seen, including how 11 of the past 12 class 5A state champions hailed from his conference.
The MIC was difficult before. Now it’s downright brutal.
“From a competition standpoint, it’s awesome. Pike and LC both have great programs,” Moore said. “From a fan’s outlook, you get to look at some of the best athletes in the state. For us, it’s more respect than excitement.
“Pike’s offense makes you make play in space, which is tough. And their defense is just so fast.”
Fast. Strong. Tough. Fundamental. Well-coached. Pike and Lawrence Central fit right in.
Conference newcomers Pike and Lawrence Central have been all about accomplishment in football since the outset of the 2007 season:
W-L 55-20 58-21
Sectional titles 2 2
Regionals 1 2
Semistates 1 2
Class 5A runner-up 1 1
Class 5A titles 0 1