Rare is the high school football program that can string together 20 consecutive winning seasons at some point in its history.

In Johnson County, such a distinction belongs only to Indian Creek.

But barring an unexpectedly extended postseason run, the 2-7 Braves, who open Class 3A sectional play this evening at Indianapolis Washington, brace for their first losing record since 2000.

Second-year head coach Steve Spinks resigned just days after a Week 7 loss at Brownstown Central, qualifying the past couple of months as among the most unique in the school’s gridiron history, which dates back to 1970.

“Honestly, it’s been kind of a weird situation,” Indian Creek athletic director Derek Perry said. “We’re trying to get through this season and see what happens and what direction we’ll go. It’s never easy, but I think we’ve adjusted well and have adjusted on the fly.

“I think we have a great coaching staff that has stepped up and filled the void.”

A coaching staff led by first-year defensive coordinator Dan Rector, 43, who is pulling double-duty as interim head coach.

The former Franklin College defensive lineman is by no means a novice when it comes to leading a program. He was Rushville’s head coach the past three seasons before Rector and his wife Amanda moved back to Johnson County in early July with their four children.

The family resides in Bargersville, but lived in Trafalgar from 2001-18.

“I love coaching football. I love being around the kids and the game,” said Rector, a Whiteland assistant for 16 seasons prior to taking the Rushville job. “I’m very familiar with this area, and I felt very comfortable working for coach Spinks. Coaching kids and those life lessons, regardless of the situation, that’s very rewarding.

“One of those lessons is that life doesn’t always go as planned.”

Despite the Braves being outscored 89-0 the past two weeks the first time an Indian Creek football squad has hatched consecutive goose-eggs since the 1991 season the collective attitude remains positive.

Rector credits his assistant coaches and especially the 10 seniors who have helped hold things together at a time when they could have splintered badly.

“I think we just have very good senior leadership,” Rector said. “It has been very impressive. I’m proud of them.”

One such senior, three-year starting linebacker James Kelly, said having to shift gears more than two-thirds into the regular season wasn’t easy.

“This year as definitely a surprise to us, but our team is still pushing through,” said Kelly, the county’s leading tackler this season with 122. “With coach Rector, we have the offense that Whiteland runs (the deception-based fly), and I like it. At first it was hard, but after the first practice, it got easier.”

No matter how tonight and possibly the weeks ahead play out on the football field, few things about the 2022 season and beyond are definite. Rector, whose focus is squarely on preparing the Braves for tonight, isn’t saying whether he’s committed to applying for the job full-time or not.

“I will say I’ve enjoyed my time at Indian Creek,” said Rector, who teaches geometry and algebra at the high school. “What we’re going through can seem like it lasts forever, but if you can continue to work hard, you can turn the corner. The kids have a great mindset.”

Perry, an Indian Creek graduate who has lived in the area his entire life, is confident the Braves will again locate such a corner sooner rather than later.

“I would say absolutely,” Perry said. “We’ve had a rich tradition in football, our bantam league numbers are crazy right now and our freshman and sophomore numbers are strong, too. We’re going to figure it out.”


Class 4A

Greenwood at East Central, 7 p.m.

Roncalli at Western, 7 p.m.

Class 3A

Indian Creek at Indianapolis Washington, 7 p.m.

Class A

Edinburgh at Indianapolis Lutheran, 7 p.m.