Memorial football relying on experience as team gears up for 4A sectionals

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 11:12 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - With only days left before the beginning of sectional play across the Hoosier State, the Memorial football team hopes to build on the program’s successful postseason track record from previous seasons.

In the last five seasons, Memorial head coach John Hurley has led his team to Class 3A and Class 4A state title wins. This year, the Tigers (7-2) enter sectionals more experienced and ready for battle.

“Offensively, we’re a bit of a different animal than we’ve been in the past,” Hurley said. “We’re probably a little more run-heavy, and we have two pretty dynamic backs in Ray Brodie and Xavier Tyler. And our offensive line has some experience, where last year we were really young. This year all those guys are coming back.”

[PREVIOUS HIGHLIGHTS: Memorial vs. Castle]

During their senior campaigns, Brodie and Tyler have each rushed for over 600 yards and eight touchdowns. So far this season, the two running backs lead the team in total touchdowns. Brodie has found the endzone 12 times, while Tyler has scored on nine different occasions.

“It’s kind of surreal going forward knowing as a senior, feeling like each game could be your last,” Brodie said. “We’re definitely not taking it for granted. It’s been very serious this week, especially after last week, we’re just ready to get after it.”

“We gotta take it day-by-day,” Tyler said. “Running game has been increasing versus top-tier opponents. Hopefully, we can try to continue that.”

When it comes to team confidence, Coach Hurley says he’s relying on his experienced leaders to show the way for the Tigers. One leader mentioned in particular was junior quarterback Caleb Ellspermann, who’s thrown for over 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.

“It starts with Caleb,” Tyler said. “When you see a junior quarterback who has confidence, everybody rallies off of him.”

The goal now is to stay locked in over the upcoming weeks, so to kick off the journey, Memorial players solidified their brotherhood with sectional haircuts.

“The cutting your hair is basically a commitment to our postseason journey,” Brodie said. “The idea is you cut it, and you don’t cut it again until the season’s over. It’s basically you committing yourself to the journey.”

The Tigers are slated to face Harrison (2-7) for their sectional opener at Romain Stadium on Friday at 7 p.m.

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