Going For It All: CHS football aims to use last season’s championship defeat as fuel to attain new heights


Veronica Teeter

TEAM WIN: Head coach John Hebert addresses the team after a win against Noblesville. The Hounds’ remaining schedule includes historical rivals Ben Davis and Warren Central, and Hebert said any let-up would be exploited by those teams.

Ashwin Prasad

Veronica Teeter
Senior quarterback Gabe Quigley celebrates after a score. He struggled in last year’s championship game, and said he’s motivated to right that wrong.

Linebacker and senior Ty Wise has not forgotten the way last season ended for the CHS football team.

Nor has quarterback and senior Gabe Quigley, head coach John Hebert or anyone else on the team.

The 2018 CHS football season was exceptional by any measure. The Greyhounds racked up an 11-3 record and advanced to the State Championship game in Lucas Oil Stadium. Their season, however, was marred by two blowout losses to undefeated Warren Central, including a 7-27 defeat in the Championship game.

“We were shooting for that state championship game all summer but to come up short was very very disappointing, this season we’re working to make sure that won’t happen again,” Wise said.

“I woke up the next morning thinking ‘oh, I never want to feel this way again,’ and I know the rest of the team felt the same way,” he added.

Hebert detailed the road to the season, and said preparations started immediately after the game ended with an eye toward avenging last year’s defeat.

“The last two years we have started a winter conditioning program, starting in February. We had a new spring ball, we had five practices this April which helped us get a head start. We also had 12 practices in the summer and took 60 team members (first- and second-stringers) to Champaign, Ill. to scrimmage. We wanted to keep our team fresh, while keeping our standards the same,” Hebert said.

Hebert also detailed the mental challenges of the long off-season, and said the upperclassmen realized the importance of the most basic drills and exercises because of that loss.

“We had to start over but also use that negative experience for our advantage, which means not getting complacent and not procrastinating and not missing opportunities or intangible things which you (need to) learn the hard way. We have 14 returning starters and every one of them remembers how it ended, and they want something different. It’s easier for these players to understand what we’re doing and how important it is,” Hebert said.

The bitter taste of that loss ended up powering the team’s off-season, spurring them to work harder than ever during conditioning classes, training camp and scrimmages during the long summer months. Wise and Quigley singled out the younger players for their effort, noting they had not seen such spirit in previous years.

Veronica Teeter
Senior linebacker Ty Wise makes a stop against Noblesville. Wise played on last year’s team that allowed 68 points in two games against Warren Central.

“All of our younger players have been really strong and holding their ground this summer. They’ve been making big plays that you don’t see out of young players, (they are) carrying the team right now. it will be very cool to see what they will do during the season,” Quigley said.

“(With) the young kids it’s just different than I’ve ever seen before, they are so, so hungry, and that will reflect positively on our team,” Wise said.

Both seniors reflected on their leadership roles within the team, with Quigley leading the offense and Wise manning the defense.

“It’s something I never really understood as a sophomore and junior, but it’s cool that the team is behind me now,” Quigley said.

Wise said he tries to emulate previous leaders such as Joey Schmidt, Beau Robbins, and Nate Frey (all 2019 graduates).

“Being a senior and one of the top players on the defense, everyone’s looking at me so they respect what I say, what I do, that’s a lot on my shoulders but I think I can handle it and help all the young players and the team.”

Hebert echoed his players’ optimism over the upcoming season, while also cautioning them over the trials and tribulations that are inevitably in store.

“Everybody in here believes this team has the capability to win a championship. I’m very optimistic about that, they’ve indicated that they have that intangible, but you have to go through it anyway, and it has to be proven and ‘reproven.’

“That’s what makes winning and winning championships so hard: you really have to have everything come together at the right time.”

Hebert warned that complacency will be punished against other strong programs such as Warren, Trinity, Center Grove and Ben Davis. “At times, we may conclude that we’re pretty good, but that’s not enough. It never is.”

Wise said, “This team has the potential to be great, can’t really say that about a lot of teams. If you ask any team we’re going to play, they know. They know we’re going to be legit this year.

“We’re legit every year, but this year’s just different.”