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County football's best season ever?

September 30, 2010

   Six weeks into the Indiana High School football season someone has to ask it.
   Is this the best season ever for Whitley County football?
   Think about it. Between the three local high school squads, Columbia City, Churubusco, Whitko, only two losses stand against 16 wins.
   Not to mention one of those losses is to the other when Columbia City renewed its rivalry against Whitko with a 30-0 win earlier this season.
   There is class A Churubusco who has proven to have half a decade of dominance in the North East Corner Conference.
   On the verge of its fourth consecutive season with a 7-0 start, ’Busco has been fortunate enough to represent the county beyond the sectional round in recent years.
   Atop the NECC again, No. 2 state ranked Churubusco has whispers of a state finals run in the horizon.
   But Churubusco has been a sure thing for the past few seasons.
   What makes 2010 different from any other is another team of Eagles, from Columbia City, and southern rival Whitko.
   Between the two teams, only one loss has come outside of the county. Some are even debating that there should be two undefeated teams after Columbia City’s heartbreaking loss to Homestead.
   After getting beat on a second -chance kick by the Spartans, a phantom “running into the kicker” penalty erased City’s unbeaten record.
   As Columbia City currently received 18 votes in the AP polls for class 4A, it’s the Eagles best start to a season since 1997.
   Whitko can argue its unbeaten outside of Whitley County for now. With three weeks left in the regular season, the Wildcats are flirting with the best start to a season since the glory days of Whitko football in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
   But still we ask, why not this year?
   It could be the season that goes down as the most successful in Whitley County football history as a whole.
   At 16-2 combined, records indicate that Whitley County is in the presence of its best finish ever.
   Currently, that mark belongs to the 1990 season of which each team finished at least three games above .500 and came together for a 23-7 record.
   In that ’90 season, two conference titles went along with that record.
   Columbia City claimed its one and only Northeast Hoosier Conference crown after claiming three NEIAC titles in 1966, 1977 and 1979.
   Whitko also came away with a Three Rivers Conference title winning the championship for the third time in five seasons under head coach Bryan Sprunger.
   The 2010 version is on track to do much of the same. All three teams stand in either first- or second-place in their respective conferences.
   Whitko is one of four 4-0 teams this season in the TRC.
   Columbia City aims to take down first place East Noble Friday to claim a share of the NHC title.
   Churubusco has two more games to lock up its second consecutive NECC championship.
   In all, the 2010 gridiron teams would need to finish the regular season no worse than 7-2 to tie or beat the mark set in 1990, not forgetting about postseason losses and wins to be added later.
   It can be a tall task for football teams to go up against powerhouse teams of the 1990s and ’80s.
   Historical teams of the past have their room to argue with either of Columbia City’s two undefeated teams of the past or the 1983 state finalist from Churubusco.
   Let us not forget Whitko’s undefeated run to a 1986 state championship.
   All have a say in what was their school’s best season.
   But what is the best combined season for football within the county lines?
   Let us know in a letter to the editor, your reasons for or against possibly the best football season in Whitley County.

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