Football team looks to defend Copper Kettle tonight at home


Sam Findley

Seniors Micah Coyle and Jalen Thomeson rest on the sideline during the August 19 win against Warren Central.

Ethan McComb and Molly Tapak

With the annual series tied 12-12 and the Trojan’s 30-game win streak on the line, Center Grove looks to take home the Copper Kettle for the fourth year in a row Friday night at home. Star running back Drew Wheat is out for the Trojans, so Head Coach Eric Moore has come up with a new game plan to beat No. 4 Carmel’s defense. 

“The big thing that we have been working on is simplifying the game plan so Jalen Thomeson can play running back and defense,” Moore said.

As a result of the lineup change, senior safety Jalen Thomeson will be playing on both sides of the ball. This is something rarely seen in the Center Grove football program. The last two-way player for the Trojans was Russ Yeast in 2016. Yeast is now a member of the Los Angeles Rams in the NFL.

“I trust Coach Moore’s decision. I know the coaching staff believes in me, so I’m going to play my hardest and just do what I do,” Thomeson said.

Along with Thomeson, senior Micah Coyle looks to make a statement after a standout performance in the season opener against Warren Central. Coyle posted big numbers for the Trojans, rushing for 221 yards and 2 touchdowns.

“The Copper Kettle is a big game for the seniors this year,” Coyle said. “Like Coach Moore said, none of the kids on Carmel’s football team has ever seen the Copper Kettle, so I want to keep it that way.” 

Aside from the veterans on the team, a crucial part of the Trojan’s offensive line is junior center Payton Hutchins. As a first-year starter, Hutchins looks to continue to prove himself after the team’s win last week. 

“To win this game would mean a ton for me since it’s my first year starting,” Hutchins said. “I feel our team still has something to prove, and this would be a huge step in the direction towards a third straight state championship.” 

Senior slot receiver Eli Hohlt looks forward to the opportunity to take down Carmel each year. Coming in with several years of experience, he knows what it is going to take to keep the Copper Kettle. 

“The keys for the offense to succeed against Carmel are to be disciplined and not make mistakes. We need to be on our A game,” Hohlt said. “You’re going to see key blocking. That’s going to play a big role in this week’s game. There will also be different kinds of plays we run against their defense. They play all types of coverages whereas Warren was mostly man-to-man.”

Coach Moore’s motto for the team this season is “become one.” Going up against a tough Carmel team, he said he hopes that his message to the team will drive them to stay locked in and keep their toughness in a game that is close year after year.

“I think all of the kids have a different meaning for become one. Does it mean become number one in the state, does it mean become one team, does it mean become one family? I think it sort of means everything,” Moore said. “You have to have one team, and you as one have to be great. The offense as one offense, the defense as one defense, and your team all have to be great.”