Back with Russ

Buzz Schoff

They're getting the band back together at New Prairie.

Tyler Radtke joined his dad, Russ's football staff, on a volunteer basis last season, and now Ted White, who has played for and coached with Russ Radtke most of his career, has come on board full-time.

"I've been with him over 30 years, now I can finish up with him," White said. "These are great guys to work with. It's just fun."

Radtke came to New Prairie from Griffith in 2012 but with his sons coming into high school at North Judson, the former Bluejay who was part of Radtke's 1980 state runner-up team applied for the job there. He was passed by for Kirk Kennedy in 2013, but Kennedy was gone in a year and White got the job in 2014.

"Russ did a lot of moving stuff when he first came here, so I met these guys then," White said. "Then the position came open at (North) Judson and I'd never seen my kids play football. It was an opportunity to see them, so I coached there."

With his boys gone, White wasn't beholden to staying at Judson, where he also coached baseball, for football anymore, and jumped at the opportunity to rejoin Radtke. He played quarterback, fullback and offensive line for him with the Jays, then coached with him right out of high school, following Radtke on his career path to Connersville, then Griffith, where they spent 18 years.

"Needless to say, too many," White said with a laugh this week. "I've been talking to these guys for a couple years. Even throughout the years, Russ still had the farm (in North Judson). He comes down to Judson all the time. We'd meet and talk. We'd go over lots of things."

Those conversations surely included the momentum that Radtke was building with the 4A Cougars.

"I knew the potential they had here, we talked about the possibility of how good this team can be the last couple years," White said. "(Associate head coach) Bill (Gumm) kept saying, 'You won't believe it.' (I was like,) 'Ah, come on now.' He wasn't lying."

New Prairie has a veteran backfield that will line up behind a front with three players over 300 pounds.

"I've coached a lot of linemen," White said. "The (Griffith) kids back in '95 were legit. They got offers when they got off the field in '97 when we won the state championship. I see the same potential here. I've been telling people, 'Look at these offensive linemen.' We had two guards (at Griffith) who (weighed) a buck 60, but they were mean. These guys average right at 300, a little over maybe."

Gumm's glad to have White on board.

"Tyler's given us a hand maybe one night a week, but bringing Ted here gives me extra help on offense," Gumm said. "The last three, four years, I was virtually the only offensive coach. Now we actually have an offensive staff with Ted, myself and Tyler as he's able to be here."

S.C. numbers up

Back in October 2018, South Central football coach Buzz Schoff looked at his list of underclassmen and had to realistically consider a worst-case scenario for 2019.

"After last season, looking at our roster, we were going to start off with 16 guys," Schoff said. "This is the year we were kind of worried about as far as how many players we were going to have on the team. My first year, I had 14 kids for team camp. Last year, we had like 17. We made things work."

As team camp was held a few weeks ago, the third-year coach actually has more players than each of his prior seasons with 31, a number that's held firm as practice officially began this week.

"We go from thinking we were going to have to hang up the helmets to our biggest team," Schoff said. "We picked up some kids who were in the school who wanted to give it a shot, (I said), 'Come on out.' Since the seniors were freshmen, there were four of them. We picked up Evan (Walters) to make five. Our freshmen, as seventh graders, there were none. Eighth grade, we picked up two of them. With open enrollment, we picked up four. That helps us out a little bit."

The start of classes usually provides a little bump as well, so Schoff could end up with even more.

"The first day of school, I can find some football players in the hallway," he said. "If you show you care, they'll try it out for you. As long as you make practice fun, they'll stick with it. We might pick up a few more. I hope not too many. We only have 40 jerseys. Let's not give the new A.D. (John Haggard) a big bill for more helmets. It's a good problem to have."

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