HUNTINGBURG, Ind. (WEHT) – The revolving door of high school sports impact every football team. Seniors come and go, and a new group fills in the cracks.
Perhaps no team in the area will feel that harsh reality more than the Southridge Raiders. Southridge graduated more than 5000 yards of total offense last year. The class of 2020 led the Raiders to a regional championship in football and basketball, and a state championship in baseball.
Needless to say, those are some big gaps to fill after a 13-1 season. Junior Levi Neukam will be taking the reins at quarterback from Chase Taylor.
And the Raiders’ leading returning tackler, Aidan Jochem, will be asked to make an impact at safety, as well as fullback, to replace the ground production lost with Matt Springer and Camden Gasser.
Southridge head coach Scott Buening said he’s expecting four starters to return on each side of the ball this season. Although the team will feature some players with limited varsity experience, Buening acknowledged that inexperience doesn’t equate to a shortage in talent.
“There’s a lot of names that people don’t know,” Buening said. “It’s not that they’re bad players, they played behind some really good players. They’re excited for their opportunity. They’re excited to come out and do the things that they’ve worked so hard to do.”
Despite that talent, senior Kaden Neukam still expects his team to be overlooked.
“It seems like every year we’re thrown under the bus after we lose a big senior class, and they think that’s the reason that we win,” Neukam said. “But every single year there’s a new senior group. We let our seniors carry the team, and they determine the season.”
Neukam and the Raiders will have the chance to prove themselves on Aug. 20 when they host Linton Stockton.
(This story was originally published on August 11, 2021)