As we head over to (Maurey) Zlotnik Field today for the Class 4A Northern Semistate Game this evening between the Morton Governors (12-1) and the Fort Wayne Dwenger Saints (12-0), a sense of history and nostalgia will come over the entire Hammond community. The contest will be the first semistate game played in the city of Hammond since 1989, when Coach Jerry Vlasic and the Hammond Bishop Noll Warriors downed the Crawfordsville Athenians on their way to a state title.
For the Fort Wayne Dwenger, an appearance in the Northern Semistate has become an annual event, as the Saints will be trying to punch their ticket to a state title game for the eighth time. The Saints have two Division I players in their lineup, with offensive and defensive tackle Tony Springmann is headed to play football for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, while star running and defensive back Remound Wright is taking his talents to the Cardinal of Stanford next season. Both student athletes are also successful in the classroom as well, with Wright taking accelerated classes and posting a GPA of 4.30.
Meanwhile, the Governors bagged their first-ever Regional championship last week with a huge win over the Concord Minutemen on the road, the first time Morton traveled outside Lake County in many a season. This is the first-time that the team from Hessville has been this deep in the playoffs since the early 70's and back to the glory days of the mid-sixties.
Back in the early 70's, Morton had some great teams, led by running backs Bob Grenda and Harry Muta, one which was undefeated at 9-0 before heading to Rice Field in Elkhart to take on the Blue Blazers before the time when the school was split up between Central and Memorial. The Govs lost that one 35-7, but I will never forget the spirit of the crowd that night cheering on their Governors in a playoff game. Much like what happened last week at Concord at the game, and then after the game at the gymnasium in Hammond when the team returned to the school after the win.
Maybe Darrel Chaney and some of his teammates from the 1965 undefeated and mythical state champion Governors will get a chance to listen to rrsn.com tonight to see if his alma mater can spring the upset and head down to Lucas Oil Stadium next Saturday. One thing is for sure, many former Governors will be there in spirit hoping for a Morton upset.
Our pregame coverage begins at 4:30 PM this afternoon, with kickoff at 5:00 PM Central Time, live on WTMK 88.5 FM and rrsn.com. The winner advances to take on the winner of the other Class 4A semistate, also to be played today, as Evansville Reitz is at Indianapolis Cathedral.
An overflow crowd of 7,000 is expected in Hessville tonight, so get there early, get your hot chocolate and settle in for what should be a great atmosphere of Semistate Championship football in Northwest Indiana!