Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

October 8, 2013

Undefeated Bulldogs elevate homecoming

Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — The spirit at Batesville High School is at its peak right now during the Oct. 7-11 homecoming week, which is organized by the Student Council. In addition to four officers (President Graham Hunter, Vice President Layne Kirchoff, Secretary Colin Brown and Treasurer Trent Barnett), council members and other students volunteer. “The support is tremendous,” reports Brown.

Students will dress for theme days: America Monday, Twin Tuesday (“two people will dress exactly alike,” the secretary explains), Wacky (mismatched clothing) Wednesday, Throwback Thursday and Bulldog Friday.

Disney Movies is the entire week’s theme with each class portraying a different masterpiece on parade floats. Float building takes place Tuesday-Thursday from 5-8 p.m. behind BHS in the bus barn parking lot. Hungry float builders will be served snacks. Teens should participate because “it’s a great way to be involved with your class and stay active with your school. It’s a nice little competition between classes,” says Hunter. Brown adds, “It’s a great bonding activity as well. You get to know people you wouldn’t normally associate with.”

For Barnett, the week’s highlight is creating the floats. “It’s fun to see everyone work on a float, be really proud of it and show it off at the parade.” From the theme days to the floats, “it’s all pretty light-hearted,” Hunter says with a grin.

A powder puff football game between the junior and senior girls will happen Friday, Oct. 11, at 2:10 p.m. on the BHS field, notes Student Council adviser and BHS science teacher Charlie Raab. “Parents and other community members are welcome to attend and show your support.”

Hunter notes the game “switches things up. The girls get to go out on the field and play … and the guys get to be the cheerleaders.” According to Brown, “It unifies us as a school body and brings us together to have a fun and safe time.”

Perhaps the busiest students that day will be the BHS band’s 45 musicians and five guards, who will perform three times – at the powder puff and evening games and parade. To get ready, members march outside on three days during school and Thursdays for two hours afterwards, says band director Eric Stauffer.

Athletes in fall BHS and Batesville Middle School sports, the homecoming court and a few BHS reunion classes will all be a part of the 5 p.m. parade Friday. To spread Bulldog spirit, BHS and BMS cheerleaders will toss out some pom-pom shakers courtesy of FCN Bank and also customized M&Ms and small water bottles purchased with fundraising dollars, says Jama Cleghorn, who coaches both squads.

Businesses (but not political candidates) are welcome to be a part of the procession free of charge, but must notify Charlie Raab beforehand at 934-4384 or craab@batesville.k12.in.us. Lineup is at 4:30 p.m. in front of Batesville Intermediate School on Columbus Avenue. The parade will turn south on Mulberry Street, east on Catherine Street, north on Main Street, west on West Pearl Street, ending at Columbus and Mulberry.

In addition to the concession stand, there are two special meal options. A freewill donation supper for Batesville K12 race participants and the public takes place from 5-7 p.m. at the BIS cafeteria. Batesville Community Education Foundation administrator Kelly Poltrack suggests, “Go to the homecoming parade, then let BIS principal Dr. Schoettmer cook for you before heading over to the football game!” Pasta, salad, garlic bread and cookies are on the menu. Dinner RSVPs are appreciated: 812-216-8137 or kpoltrack@batesville.k12.in.us.

Starting at 6 p.m., chef Adam Israel of the Big Four Cafe will be serving Billy the Bulldog Burgers with chips on the side just inside the gate near the sign-in table. The one-third-pound burger, made of pastrami, ground beef chuck, grand short ribs and brisket, is served on a pretzel bun with Thousand Island dressing, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. All proceeds go to the BHS Athletic Department and Batesville Football Alumni Association.

Former football players, cheerleaders, coaches and their guests are urged to take part in the sixth annual BHS Football Alumni Night organized by Dave Abel, Bob and Bill Narwold and Eric Feller.

They should check in upon arrival at the blue tent and sit in the alumni section near the south end zone, says Feller, who can answer questions at 812-212-0501. The honorary coin tosser’s name is kept secret until the game. Former coaches and teams from the graduating classes of 1963, 1988 and 2003 will be recognized.

At 7 p.m. BHS will take on Franklin County. The Bulldogs, led by 18-year coach Eric Heppner, have compiled a 7-0 record while the Wildcats’ is 3-4.

Recounting Bulldogs football history instills confidence in the coach. “From 1998 until 2010, we had 13 consecutive seasons without a losing record. In 2011, we finished 3-7. In 2012, our record was 5-6.” He explains, “The reason we struggled is because we had uncharacteristically low numbers” of seasoned players, with six and nine seniors, respectively.

“As a result, this year’s seniors were forced to play at the varsity level as sophomores and juniors. That experience has led to this season’s success.” Out of 55 varsity players, 22 are seniors.

Heppner points out, “Thus far, we have won every EIAC game this season. Our intention is to win the rest of them, as well, and lay claim to being the outright champion of our conference, regardless of division. In order for us to do that, we need to defeat Franklin County.That is what we intend to do, but Franklin County is going to attempt to thwart our efforts.

“In Batesville High School football history, dating to 1949, an undefeated regular season has only been accomplished once, in 2009. Watching a Batesville team in pursuit of that goal would, hopefully, be exciting for our community to witness.”

Brown, a middle linebacker, says his favorite part of homecoming is “obviously the Friday night game when we get to go out on the field and play our opponent with the support of Batesville … the fans are incredible.” Hunter, an offensive lineman and defensive linebacker, says it’s exciting when the team arrives on the field for the first time “and everyone’s just cheering for you and they’re in their blue-and-white shirts.”

Revving fans up will be 22 football cheerleaders and the revival of a school mascot called Billy Bulldog (junior Kolin Macke), reports Cleghorn, who is assisted by Maggie Raab. “He is fabulous! He has been so great, interacting with all the little kids.” To accentuate each touchdown, the cheerleaders will form the numbers, then “follow it up with pushups, which is a great crowd-pleaser.”

At halftime, royalty – a senior king and queen and underclass prince and princess – will be crowned. The halftime show is based on Gustav Holst’s suite “The Planets,” the director says. The band will perform “Mars,” “Venus” (with soloist Megan Denny on mellophone) and “Jupiter.”

The free dance after the game at the Batesville Primary School gym until 11 p.m. is co-sponsored by the Student Council and Choices/SADD. Students may bring friends from other high schools as guests, but they must be signed up in advance and bring IDs with them, says the adviser. DJ Mark Volz, a former BHS student, “has an amazing light display,” reports Choices director Cindy Blessing. “Students will be breathalyzed upon entry to assure a safe alcohol and drug-free environment.”

Fans, even youth under 21, are invited to an after-game reception at Tuba’s Place. Memorabilia from former players will be displayed, Feller reports.

With a new Student Council adviser and officers, the biggest challenge of organizing this week is “we’re all learning at the same time,” says Hunter.

The council leaders are expecting a friendly, upbeat homecoming. Brown believes, “No school has what we have … The camaraderie is just incredible.” Hunter agrees, “Everyone gets along really well.”

According to Barnett, “It’s a fun week and the whole week builds up and leads to Friday with the game … You see your whole school get into it and get excited. It’s the one time of year when it happens.”

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

Game admission • Single game tickets are $5 with children in third grade and younger admitted free. Sports passes are available at $40 for students and $60 for adults. Senior passes cost $10 for those 60-74 and are free for persons 75 and up. If two or more family members purchase passes, there is a $5 discount on each, according to athletic director Mark Ferguson.