FORT WAYNE, IN. (WANE) – North Side High School was once again the center of the Northeast Indiana football universe on Friday. Media day saw nearly 30 teams in town conducting interviews with local media outlets. While previous years the focus has been on teams heavily favored to contend for conference and state championships – change was the theme of the day this year.
The SAC, NHC, ACAC and NECC will all feature first year head coaches in 2014. The SAC leads the way with a trio of newcomers. Jason Doerffler takes over a Northrop program in search of its first winning season in over a decade, but the Bruins return experience in quarterback Mike Snyder. Roosevelt Noorfleet returns to South Side after serving as an assistant coach with the Archers many years ago. But the new man on the block with the most intriguing roster entering the fall is Wayne’s Scot Shaw. The Generals were a surprising 6-4 in 2013 and return a trio of explosive offensive weapons in Keion Powers, Deion Powers and Austin Yarbro.
In the NHC Columbia City and DeKalb will both be lead by new faces. The Barons will look to Pete Kempf to right the ship after the team suffered its third winless season in the last four years. In Columbia City, Brett Fox takes over the spot vacated by former head coach Randy Hudgins, who has made the move to the ACAC to take over Bluffton’s program. Andy Thomas of Angola and Jim Hummer of Fremont will both begin their rookie seasons as head coaches in the NECC in August.
Change is also coming to the conference landscape, with 2014 serving as the appetizer before the picture really changes next year. Garrett has returned to the NECC after a nearly decade long stay in the ACAC. That vacancy has allowed Jay County – a long time independent – to find a new conference home in the ACAC. Those moves pale in comparison to what 2015 holds. That season will be the first for Carroll and Homestead in the SAC, as the NHC absorbs Leo and Huntington North to form a new conference altogether.
The high school football season officially begins with week one play on Friday August 22nd.