With rising numbers, Indiana sees bright future

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Wednesday, September 2, 2020 | 10:53 PM


As Brandon Overdorff begins his third season as coach at Indiana High School, he’s starting to see an improving future.

“When I took over, our numbers were in the 30s,” Overdorff said. “Now we’re close to 60, and I’m excited about the future. The offseason was really good until the coronavirus. But we were able to install our offense and defense on Hudl and we’re ahead of the game.”

Overdorff coached five years at Purchase Line, his alma mater. He was an all-state running back as a junior in 1990 under Ed Dalton, who has also coached at Altoona, Mt. Pleasant and McGuffey. He went on to play at Lehigh.

“I see a bright future,” Overdorff said. “Our freshman and sophomore (classes) have a lot of skilled players. We just have to develop some toughness and we must get bigger.”

Indiana was 2-8 in 2019. One of the victories came by forfeit when West Mifflin was found to have used an ineligible player in a 44-0 victory. Indiana’s win on the field was against Ringgold, 28-13.

The Little Indians were 3-7 in 2018.

Overdorff will rely on four returning senior starters on the offensive line — guard Matt Nelson, center Tanner Smith, tackle Gavin Millen and guard Gavin Prebish.

“We played a lot of young kids that weren’t ready to play varsity football,” Overdorff said. “Now they’re developing and getting stronger. They have to take that next step.”

Indiana’s offense struggled in 2019, but Overdorff hopes the year of experience will be beneficial.

Also back are junior quarterback Fox Van Leer and junior running backs Devin Flint and Zach Herrington.

Herrington had a team-high 66 tackles from his strong safety position. Nelson returns at nose tackle, Smith at tackle, Prebish at defensive end and Millen at defensive end.

Others back on defense include Van Leer at free safety, Elijah Mauk at linebacker and Gavin Bernard at middle linebacker.

The Little Indians will scrimmage Burrell and then open WPIAL Class 4A Allegheny Conference play at Armstrong on Sept. 11

The other teams in the conference are Greensburg Salem, Mars, Hampton, Highlands, Knoch and Plum.

“One thing we developed since last year is togetherness,” Overdorff said. “I worked hard getting kids interested in football. We want to build on that.”

And if he keeps players interested, he hopes things will continue to improve.

Schedule

Coach: Brandon Overdorff

2019 record: 2-8, 2-5 in Class 4A Big Eight Conference

All-time record: 443-419-36

Date, Opponent, Time

9.11, at Armstrong*, 7

9.18, at Plum*, 7

9.25, Greensburg Salem*, 7

10.2, Knoch*, 7

10.9, at Highlands*, 7

10.16, Hampton*, 7

10.23, Mars*, 7

* Class 4A Greater Allegheny Conference game

Statistical leaders

Passing: Fox Van Leer

15-61, 160 yards, 2 TDs

Rushing: Devin Flint

48-272 yards

Receiving: Malik Turner*

4-62 yards

Fast facts

• Indiana rejoined the WPIAL in 1988. It was a WPIAL member in 1927-28.

• Indiana has won a conference championship. It shared the 1989 Greater Allegheny crown with Highlands and Kiski Area.

• The Little Indians are 4-8 in the WPIAL playoffs. The last time they reached the playoffs was in 2014.

• This is Indiana’s 101st season of playing football. The second game of the season will be the school’s 900th.

• The late Jim Nance played football and wrestled at Indiana. He was the PIAA heavyweight state champion in 1960 and 1961. He played football at Syracuse and went on to play for the Boston Patriots and the New York Jets in the AFL. He was also a two-time NCAA heavyweight champion (1963 and 1965).

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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