The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update


January 29, 2013

THB Defensive Football Player of the Year: Peyton McCardwell

Hard work, study habits pay off for Pendleton Heights' star

PENDLETON, Ind. — Two years ago, John Broughton saw something in a frail junior varsity linebacker that made him look twice.

It took about a half-season for the veteran Pendleton Heights football coach to trust his instincts.

Once he did, Peyton McCardwell never made him regret it.

“He had such a knack for the ball, and he read the offensive line so well from his linebacker spot,” Broughton said of McCardwell’s sophomore incarnation. “He always knew where the ball was gonna be. We moved him up at midseason, and he never was out of the lineup again.”

There’s nothing frail about McCardwell now. He’s worked hard to pack a sturdy 215 pounds onto his 6-foot frame, and he delivered a crushing blow in Week 3 of the regular season against New Palestine to earn Fox 59’s “Big Nasty Hit of the Week” honor.

Video from that takedown is readily available online.

But it takes a little deeper examination to reveal the real secret to McCardwell’s success: His mind.

That knack for the ball Broughton noticed as a sophomore is the manifestation of outstanding practice habits. Nobody studies harder than McCardwell. He knows where the play is going because he’s seen it before, and he’s committed it to memory.

It also doesn’t hurt that he has a love for the game’s more physical side.

“I always liked defense better,” McCardwell said. “I liked the idea of being the one hitting the other guys.”

Broughton has a formula he uses each season to score his defensive players. Points are awarded for positive plays such as tackles, sacks, fumble recoveries, etc.

McCardwell’s score in 2012 was the highest by an Arabian since 1984.

He tallied 151 tackles, 97 of them solo and 14.5 of them for a loss. He also had two sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a pass broken up and an interception.

Despite the fact he tends to shy away from vocal leadership, he also managed to emerge as a leader for a young Pendleton Heights team transitioning from back-to-back sectional championships.

With McCardwell showing the way, the Arabians finished 8-3 and won their final four regular-season games before reaching the sectional semifinals.

“We had a really good year, and I’m just really pleased with the effort of these kids,” Broughton said. “I’m as proud of this team as I was the two sectional championship teams.”

Everything changed during a strange late-night game at Delta. Pendleton Heights entered the evening off back-to-back losses, and then it had to wait nearly three hours for severe thunderstorms to clear the area before kickoff.

The Arabians’ 24-14 victory ended around midnight on the morning of Sept. 22, and the team didn’t lose again until it ran into a red-hot Mount Vernon team in the second round of the postseason.

McCardwell traced the turnaround to a predictable source: Hard work.

“We just had a different attitude we took every day in practice,” he said. “We were just trying to get better every day.”

More often than not, the Arabians succeeded.

Now it’s tough to imagine their physical leader walking away from the game. But it’s very possible McCardwell will do just that.

He’ll soon make a decision whether to stay with the sport at Wheaton College in Illinois or break away from the game and attend Indiana University. Either way, he’ll study business with an eye on the future.

“I’m seeing if I want to go four more years playing football,” he said.

The call won’t be easy.

McCardwell cherished his career at PH, and he said he learned a lot from the two senior classes that came before him. Broughton credits all three groups of seniors with creating an atmosphere of unity in the locker room and building a foundation for future success.

But McCardwell knows, whether he chooses to play in college or not, his days on a football field are numbered. He just hasn’t determined how he feels about that, yet.

“It’s pretty tough,” he said of his impending decision. “I’m kinda thinking about it right now. What would I do with my time? And what would I do without football? I guess we’ll wait and see.”

Text Only
  • bramwell mugshot Rainy day memories abound This past Tuesday, I was up early and had a vigorous work-out at the gym. Yard work was interrupted by a late-afternoon shower. It was a perfect time to take a nap.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0731 - Colts Camp - Werner - 319 Werner's progress evident at Colts Camp

    Bjoern Werner's rookie training camp was rather quiet. The German-born outside linebacker went through individual drills and worked hard in full-team sessions, but he was overwhelmed by all the new information he was processing. And it was holding him back. When the season started, Werner was further set back by a foot injury that cost him three games, and he finished the year with just 2.5 sacks. Then the former Florida State star went to work.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • HB0724 _ Teverbaugh mug Rick Teverbaugh: Some folks can't be replaced There were a lot of possible topics as I decided what would lead the list of things that would move me enough to compose today's column.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0731 - Colts Corner - HB Colts Notes: Thomas, Hilton hurt in Wednesday's practice After a physical practice Wednesday afternoon at Anderson University, the Indianapolis Colts are hoping they have not lost another starter. Left guard Donald Thomas hit the ground following an 11-on-11 running drill and was visibly upset when he finally was helped to his feet. He threw his mouthguard away in anger and attempted to walk off the injury with trainers away from the rest of his teammates.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0731 - Colts Camp - Fleener - 206 Colts focusing on situational improvement One year ago, the focus in Indianapolis Colts training camp was on turnovers. The team had committed far too many in 2012 and was determined not to repeat its mistakes. The theme at Anderson University carried over to the field, and the Colts' 14 turnovers were the fewest in the NFL last year.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0730 - Colts recap art 1 Looking back at Week 1 of Colts Camp

    The first week of Indianapolis Colts training camp has ended at Anderson University, and the players received their first day off Tuesday. Practice resumes today with the daily morning walkthrough followed by a public session scheduled to begin at 1:50 p.m. With the team's preseason debut at the New York Jets just eight days away, here's a look at three things that have stood out since the Colts hit campus on July 23.

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPL - PT072314 - PT Ken de la Bastide column - column sig Ken de la Bastide: Good racing across the board

    This past weekend I got to witness four pretty good races at three different venues in central Indiana, none of them disappointed.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0729 - Andrew Luck - JC 4.JPG Colts Quick Hits: Tuesday, July 29

    Notes,news and fun facts from Colts Training Camp at Anderson University on Monday.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0729 - Colt Anderson - JC 2 Anderson hopes to make name with Colts

    Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky was the first person Colt Anderson saw upon reporting to Anderson University last Wednesday. And he couldn't resist making the obvious connection. "Colt Anderson's a Colt ... in Anderson," Manusky said as a way of greeting the new Indianapolis Colts safety to training camp.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0729 - Chris Rainey - DK Colts release RB Rainey

    Just two days after earning praise for his playmaking ability from head coach Chuck Pagano, running back Chris Rainey was waived by the Indianapolis Colts on Monday morning. The news was broken in a press release around 8:30 a.m. and later confirmed by Pagano during an afternoon session with the media.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

Latest Sports Photos

Click here to browse and buy photos from The Herald Bulletin

Latest Racing News