By NOAH FINEGAN – This past off-season marked the end of an era in IHS football when longtime head coach Mark Zilinskas announced his resignation. After a search that took many months, a worthy replacement was found in IHS alum John Allen Snyder. Snyder revamped the team this past offseason, bringing a new attitude and a new style to the table.
“Our goal has always been to improve from the beginning to the end of the season, week to week, and most importantly in the mirror. We stress to our players everyday some sort of lesson learned through football that can be applied outside of the game. Our motto is “Adapt and Overcome” and we sure have had to do that in every sense of the word this year,” Coach Snyder states.
Of all the things going on this season, there are also a plethora of surprise standout players.
“I think as a coach you hope to have this kid or that kid stand up and surprise you doing things well. For sure defensively that would be Keaton Libengood. He has become one of our most consistent players all year. He runs much of the defense and does a fine job.”
“Offensively, I would have to say our offensive line as a whole. They were completely untested and had very little experience coming into the year and have done a good job at starting to come together at the right time: Brant Neuman, Cam Richards, Ben Bianco, Liam McDaniel, Alex Donahue, Zach Linder, Reed Harkleroad in reserve, and Brent Johnson in reserve. Special teams wise, I can’t forget about ‘kicker’ as I call him. Tyler Mulac, this kid has been nothing short of amazing for us,” Snyder remarks.
Being an IHS alum certainly makes the job of coaching here even more fun. Snyder notes, “I am very humbled and honored to have the opportunity to further the football program after Coach Z. He is one of my mentors along with Coach Waryck, and Coach Brocious. I played for all of them, so that adds a neat dynamic to it. I relish the opportunity to create the culture of “We are Indiana” in which everyone gets excited about anything that has to do with Red and Black whether academic, athletic, extracurricular, anything.”
With a new coach, the thought of starting fresh and creating a new dynasty is exciting to think about. “We are laying the groundwork for a competitive program for years to come. We want to be known for our physicality in every phase, and fundamental play on offense, defense and special teams. I am so excited about the future of this program for two reasons.
First because there is an excitement right now about Indiana football, not just within the program, but the school, district, and hopefully the town and community.
Second and most importantly, I am excited about the future because of the trials and tribulations this current edition of Indiana football has gone through and refused to quit. Teams after them will not forget that,” Snyder asserts.
Through its ups and its downs, this football season has proven to be exciting as always.
[Photo by Erik Puskar]