There are football players who just seem to have a quarterback’s name.
Arjun Lothe falls into this category, though Indian Creek’s left-handed signal-caller appears to have the ability to go with it.
And the desire to showcase it is, well, next-level — for good reason.
Lothe, a senior who transferred from Center Grove prior to the 2021-22 school year, was buried on the depth chart last season and took part in only two games.
He will be behind center Friday night when the Braves host Batesville.
“His football IQ is off the charts. Arjun has a 4.4 GPA, so that’s No. 1 with me,” first-year Indian Creek coach Casey Gillin said. “The second thing is, the kid is a leader. He’s very positive and not afraid to speak up.
“The last thing is his ability. Arjun is accurate, throws with velocity and his touch is very good.”
Lothe, who stands a rangy 6-foot-4 and weighs 175 pounds, completed 3 of 4 passes for 56 yards and a score at the end of last season’s 29-7 loss to Triton Central.
Statistically speaking, that was it, though he also appeared against Brown County.
Watching games unfold while standing on the sideline rather than being on the field wasn’t easy for Lothe, but he approaches the experience positively.
“It made me better, and taught me to just keep fighting,” Lothe said. “Around November or December, coach Gillin took the job and it was just so comfortable. A lot of coaches would say something and that’s that. Coach Gillin will explain why it’s going to make you better.
“You ask him a question, and he’ll answer and just keep going and going. One of my strengths is accuracy, but I’m still working on the tightness of the spiral, arm extension and using your hips to drive the ball.”
Like any good leader, Lothe appreciates those teammates who’ll break huddles with him. That group includes the starting offensive line of left tackle Logan Porter, left guard Tyrus Wolf (or Chance White), center Ethan Thacker, right guard Daniel Foster and right tackle Wyatt Reason.
“Our O-line is phenomenal,” Lothe said. “All these guys definitely know what they’re doing and are the heart of the offense.”
Among the players expected to emerge as top targets for Lothe are seniors Gerson Coroa and Jackson Heaston, junior Lance Butler, sophomore Levi Pappas and freshman Jaxon Ramey.
Gillin, the 12th football coach in Indian Creek history, played as a QB for his father, Mike, who coached the Braves from 2001-16 and is the school’s all-time leader in victories (140).
Lessons learned from his old man include the importance of being a people person.
“This is going to sound soft, but this team needed some love,” Casey Gillin said. “Somebody who was going to be there, and a coaching staff that was going to be there. They needed to see structure and have someone there to care for them.
“The rest of it sort of falls in place after that. The strength of this team, simply put, is attitude. They’re ready.”
Aug. 19;Batesville;7 p.m.
Aug. 26; at Greenwood;7 p.m.
Sept. 2;at Owen Valley;7 p.m.
Sept. 9;Brown County;7 p.m.
Sept. 16;at Triton Central;7 p.m.
Sept. 23;at Edgewood;7 p.m.
Sept. 30;Brownstown Central;7 p.m.
Oct. 7;Sullivan;7:30 p.m.
Oct. 14;at Northview;7 p.m.
SCOUTING THE BRAVES
Coach: Casey Gillin
Last season: 3-8, lost to Danville in second round of Class 3A sectional
Key returnees: OL/DL Daniel Foster and OL/DL Wyatt Reason, seniors; WR/DB Lance Butler, LB Hunter Eader, OL/DL Logan Porter, RB/DB Jalen Sauer and LB Kohlton Scoggan, juniors; RB/DB Malachi Mink, sophomore
Top newcomers: WR/DB Gerson Caroa, QB Arjun Lothe, OL/DL Ethan Thacker and LB Matt Ward, seniors; OL/DL Larry Hicks and LB Garrett Johnson, juniors
Outlook: Indian Creek alum Gillin returns to his alma mater seeking wins in an entirely different role than when he was the Braves’ record-setting quarterback two decades ago. The 2021 campaign featured three victories and two different head coaches as Indian Creek, previously over .500 in 20 straight seasons, sputtered to a 3-8 record. Eight of the 11 members of the current coaching staff either played or coached at Indian Creek, including Gillin, a 2003 graduate whose 8,806 career passing yards rank 16th all-time in Indiana.
“It’s not just me,” Gillin said. “We’ve got guys coming out of the woodwork that played at Indian Creek. I think it’s real important because the players see how much we want to win, and how much passion we have for the school.”