ANDERSON — For some, it will be their last chance at playing competitive football for the rest of their lives. For others, it will be just one last step before taking their games to the college level.
But for all the graduating senior high school football players from 49 east-central high schools, Friday’s annual Indiana Football Hall of Fame East-West Football Classic will give each of them an opportunity to shine once more at the local level.
The teams combine for 12 players from high schools in the local area, including Shenandoah and Pendleton Heights on the East team and Madison-Grant and Anderson on the West team.
Pendleton Heights head coach John Broughton has clinched two sectional titles and a total of 28 wins during the past three seasons with his graduating class, including running back and kicker Jon Furrow, linebacker Peyton McCardwell and wide receiver Austin Coffel.
Furrow is the only player from Broughton’s squad playing college football, going on to the Wheaton College Thunder next season, but the coach said it’s great that his players who worked so hard during high school get one last chance under the lights to play, especially so close to home.
“There’s a lot of Pendleton Heights pride, and it’s kinda a reward for their work,” Broughton said. “Most importantly, they’re good people. They’re good citizens. They’re good students. They’re just good to be around.
“I’m most proud of the young men they’ve become, and I know they’re going to be successful in whatever road they take.”
For Anderson Indians fans, players and administrators, though, the game takes on an even bigger meaning.
With the arrival of this year’s game, the third-straight IFHOF East-West Football Classic that Anderson High School has hosted, AHS athletic director Steve Schindler will be awarded an IFHOF Founders Award for Anderson Schools. Schindler will also sever as the game’s honorary captain for the coin toss.