It’s been a brief minute since my last column. I wanted to take this opportunity to first thank everyone for their continued support. As of last month I officially celebrated one year as the sports editor of the Journal Review. It’s been a blast getting to cover all of the different teams, athletes and coaches this county has to offer.
As one door closes on Wabash College athletics, another one has begun to open. Like every Little Giant fan in attendance at Blackstock Stadium on Saturday in Greencastle for the 128th Monon Bell Classic, I was cheering on the men from the sideline. While it was a beat down, or as coach Don Morel blatantly told me afterwards “they kicked our ass,” the Tigers were simply the much better team winning 49-14. While I haven’t seen every snap Liam Thompson has taken this season, I can confidently say that’s the first time I’ve ever seen the stud junior just simply not have an answer for what the opposition was throwing at him.
You do have to tip your cap to DePauw. That defense is as good as advertised, and maybe even better than that. They came in holding their opponents to just 12.6 points per game. The scary thing about that defense is that they don’t graduate a single starter as they were all sophomores and juniors.
Thompson who is known for also making plays with his legs couldn’t break away from that front seven and was sacked six times. And as he does on plenty of occasions, he was able to extend plays and attempt to give his receivers a chance. That Tigers secondary is legit as well as picked off Thompson twice and both times took it to the house.
While the Monon Bell won’t reside in Crawfordsville, and I’ll certainly miss hearing it ring when I make my visits to campus, this loss just dumps gallons of gasoline on the fire that the Little Giants will have coming into next season.
Thompson along with basically every skill position player (excluding Heisman Skeens) will return next season. Derek Allen, a freak of nature at wide-receiver, Cooper Sullivan, Donovan Snyder and Penn Stoller will all be seniors next season.
These two rivals will square off again, this time at Little Giant Stadium where if I had to guess we might be seeing another winner take all game in Crawfordsville.
I’d also like to note how much respect DePauw coach Brett Dietz has for Wabash. It is something you don’t see a ton of in a big rivalry game. I had the chance to talk with him after the Tigers secured the win and he had nothing but praise for the Little Giants but also the rich tradition. As they say “game recognizes game.”
Little giants hoops making early noise
I’ll continue to take this saying to my grave. Kyle Brumett, and for that matter assistant coach Pat Sullivan, are simply two of the best in the business at what they do. The duo of the Little Giants had a monumental task in front of them as coming into this 2022-23 season Wabash basketball had to replace not one, not one, but three program changing legends in Jack Davidson, Tyler Watson and Kellen Schreiber along with also hype man himself Jack Hegwood.
Not one player was going to replace that talent of Davidson’s elite shooting or Watson’s passing, or the inside presence of Schreiber, Brumett and Sullivan knew that it would have to be a complete team effort. What has happened in the first two game of the season for the Little Giants has proven that these current players are buying in to the culture that was built over the previous four to five years.
Wabash sits at 2-0 on the season and they’ve had to earn those wins in hard fought fashion. In their season opener with Mt. Saint Joseph they saw a 19-point lead trimmed to just three in the games final seconds. Adversity hit but Wabash pulled out an 81-78 win.
Then the task got much tougher on Friday when they welcomed No. 16 Washington University of St. Louis to Chadwick Court. The two teams battled all game in a back and forth affair and once again Wabash found themselves in close game as they would trail by a single point with just 40 seconds left.
Edreece Redmond and Danville graduate Sam Comer closed out the game for Wabash as the Little Giants held on again for a 70-67 win to pick up an early season ranked victory.
I could name about five to six different players on this current Little Giants team who could lead them in scoring on any given night. They play unselfish-team basketball and it’s fun to watch. You’re beginning to see players like Redmond, Comer and Vinny Buccilla really come into their own.
Throw in the brother duo of Styles and Champ McCorkle, Avery Beaver, Kayden Beatty and the play of 6’7 freshman Gavin Schippert and the Little Giants have plenty of talent on this years squad. Oh yeah, Ahmoni Jones, who is working his way back from a knee injury, when fully healthy will be a force to be reckoned with.
Yes the season is still young and many things could still happen, but Wabash has aced some early season tests in their first two games. They’ll have another test today when they hit the road for the first time to take on Hanover, a team that beat them a season ago.
While I’m talking about Wabash Basketball, be sure to go to Chadwick Court this weekend as you’ll see eight great basketball teams play all day Friday and Saturday as the Little Giants host one of the premier Division III tournaments in the Great Lakes Invitational. Wabash will play at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, but go out to Chadwick Court and see some amazing D3 basketball.
Codey Emerson is the sports editor of the Journal Review. Reach him at email@example.com with any comments, questions or concerns you may have about the Journal Review Sports section.