BLOOMINGTON — Seven former Hendricks County football standouts were involved in Indiana’s 73-35 season-opening win over Indiana State, including two starting their final collegiate seasons.
ISU seniors and three-year lettermen Tyler Boyd and Taje High, who were also teammates at Avon, weren’t pleased with how the Sycamores were blown out after losing to the Hoosiers by just a touchdown a year ago.
Boyd, a 6-foot-2, 270-pound defensive lineman, finished with two tackles.
“IU’s a great team and we didn’t show up like we should’ve,” Boyd said. “It’s simple. They played a great game and we didn’t.”
High had one kickoff return for 9 yards, and two carries for 6 yards at running back after all-American Shakir Bell went down with a separated shoulder.
“We’d prepared for this since the offseason, but we just didn’t perform,” said High, a 5-foot-8, 165-pound speed back.
Also in the game were Isaac Beverstock, a freshman linebacker from Brownsburg, and Jerry Stephen, a redshirt freshman fullback from Avon, who were part of numerous special teams units. Both were on the field for a kickoff late in the second quarter when the Sycamores forced a fumble and recovered it for a touchdown. Beverstock had one tackle in the second half when he was inserted on defense.
Not seeing action but in uniform were Avon’s Eric Heidorn, ISU’s redshirt freshman backup placekicker; Brownsburg’s Chase Dutra, a freshman safety at IU; and Avon’s Chase Alexander, a freshman offensive lineman for the Hoosiers.
Boyd and High have been part of ISU’s massive rebuilding project that began with coach Trent Miles, who left after last season for Georgia State. Miles’ Sycamores went 0-11 during his first year in 2008, part of a rut that included 33 straight losses for the program.
ISU had its first winning season in 14 years in 2010 and finished with an identical 6-5 record in 2011. Last season, the Sycamores went 7-4, reached as high as 14th in the national Football Championship Subdivision polls and just missed out on a playoff bid.
Both players take pride in being there for the program’s rebirth.
“That’s why I came here, to be part of something special,” Boyd said. “It’s been quite a journey so far and we’re not done. We’re still looking forward to the playoffs as a goal this year.”
Added High, “What got me to come here was the amount of potential I thought there was. We had good players and just needed the right mindset. I believed in the program, and it’s unbelievable how much it’s changed. I feel blessed to have witnessed it and to have been a part of it.”
Indiana State’s schedule stays in the Big Ten Conference this coming weekend when it travels to Purdue.
“This was an opportunity game for us, and we all believed we could get this win,” High said. “It’s disappointing, but we have to move on, because Purdue is an opportunity game, too.”