INDIANAPOLIS – There is a phrase a lot of coaches use to try to reinvigorate a team heading into the postseason.
“Everyone is 0-0.”
Whether a football team is 9-0 or 0-9 heading into the state tournament, that statement of starting over does have merit. While an 0-9 team likely has less of a chance to make it to a state championship than a team 9-0, a team still has to win upwards of six games to achieve the ultimate glory.
Well, when the IHSAA held its tournament pairings show Sunday night for its Unified Flag Football tournament, the statement “Everyone is 0-0” is the truest statement available.
The newest IHSAA sport to be added to the list, Unified Flag Football is the second unified option to piggyback with the success of Unified Track and Field in the spring. Warsaw and Elkhart Memorial have won state titles in Unified Track and Field, Memorial just this past spring. What the pairings show did was give a glimpse of where the football season is headed. What is still up in the air is what the sport will look like, as none of the teams in the area have played a down.
The four teams in the Warsaw Sectional pod – Warsaw, Tippecanoe Valley, Goshen and Wawasee – have yet to buckle up the flags and get after it. For Warsaw, Goshen and Wawasee, that will come today – Monday – as the three will play a round robin series at Wawasee starting at 5 p.m. Tippecanoe Valley won’t even play until the following Monday when it heads to Goshen.
But, the playoff schedule is here! Let’s dig in.
The tournament, which begins Saturday, Sept. 29, at Warsaw, will have Wawasee meet Goshen and Tippecanoe Valley take on Warsaw as part of Sectional 2. The two winners will come back for the sectional championship later in the day. Game times will be determined by Warsaw as the date approaches.
The Unified Flag Football tournament will have 25 Indiana high school teams run through its maiden voyage. The northern half of the state tournament will have 15 of those teams competing on the left side of the bracket. Sectional 1 has just two teams in LaVille and Griffith. The winner of that one-game tourney will travel to the home site of the Warsaw Sectional winner for the one-game regional, which will be October 6.
The regional champion will advance to the Unified Flag Football state finals, which is a two-game tourney set for October 13 at the Indianapolis Colts practice facility in Indianapolis. The winner from the Warsaw regional will face off against the Fort Wayne area regional champion in the state semi-finals. That winner will meet the southern bracket champion in the finals, playing for the first Unified Flag Football championship.