Penn High School prepares for big sports weekend
Penn High School in Mishawaka is no stranger to success.
Two years removed from a state championship appearance, the football team entered this season as one of the best teams in Michiana once again. However, the only blemish on the Penn's 8-1 record came in the opening game of the 2017 campaign against Valparaiso.
“They've got a great defense and they shut us down and made some plays on special teams," said head football coach Cory Yeoman. "Our defense didn’t get off the field as it should have. All three phases were contributors in that. We all have to get better.”
Nine weeks later, the NIC champion Kingsmen begin postseason play with their first sectional game.
"I really like what our seniors did the rest of the season," he said, "getting to work and trying to get better every day. It was not one of those things where you flip a switch and everything was fixed. It was a work-in-progress and you can’t do that without senior leadership. That’s what we’ve got.”
For those seniors, they now have a chance to avenge their only loss of the season, with Valpo on the slate for Friday.
“It’s really exciting," said senior safety Paul Moala. "We’ve had the opportunity for nine weeks to improve. To have another shot at Valpo is a blessing.”
“We need to make this playoff count," said Colin Wilson, another senior. "I feel like it’s our last shot to make a statement. We’re pretty excited about that. It’s a great opportunity to get revenge on a team that we lost to.”
Speaking of making the playoffs count, that's exactly what the girls soccer team at Penn has been doing in recent years. Since falling in the state title game in 2015 - the same fate as the football team - the Kingsmen have not lost a game.
“I believe it’s one of the most talented teams that I’ve played on," said senior Kristina Lynch, a Florida State commit. "We get along so well with each other. We’re so excited and confident going into Friday.”
Friday gives Penn yet another chance to cement its legacy in girls soccer. The defending state champions will now play Guerin Catholic at Butler University in Indianapolis for a repeat of state glory.
“Now that we’re closer it becomes more real," said junior Brooke VanDyck, who has committed to Notre Dame. "We all hated that feeling. I think we have to win because we know that feeling. We all love victory and want it so badly.”
The girls soccer 3A state championship game will be played at 8 p.m. on Friday, while the football team's 6A sectional opener will begin at 6:30 p.m., central time, at Valpo.