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Nice to see Shenandoah's Cody Rudy score TD for BSU

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Ball State’s Cody Rudy (8) blocks a Fordham player giving Cardinals quarterback Drew Plitt (9) time to find a receiver during the second half of Saturday’s football game at Scheumann Stadium. Rudy, a graduate of Shenandoah High School, caught a three-yard TD pass from Plitt in the first half of Ball State’s 57-29 win over the visiting Rams.
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Ball State’s Cody Rudy (8) starts to get into position for his assignment as the ball is snapped to Cardinal quarterback Drew Plitt (9) with running back Caleb Huntley (2) also in the picture during Saturday’s football game against visiting Fordham at Scheumann Stadium.

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

One nice perk about being sports editor of this newspaper is I get to obtain media credentials for a lot of sporting events I want to see.

Since I am an alumnus of Ball State University and the school is just north of here in the next county, it is only natural that I want to obtain media credentials and parking passes for Cardinal athletic events.

It’s also nice when some of our local high school players graduate and agree to play their sports at Ball State. Right now, we are blessed to have New Castle’s Luke Bumbalough as a member of the Cardinal men’s basketball team and Shenandoah’s Cody Rudy as a member of the BSU football team.

Bumbalough was the C-T Area Basketball Player of the Year for the 2018-19 season and Rudy was the C-T Area Football Player of the Year for the 2015 season.

I hadn’t lost track of Rudy since he graduated from SHS in 2016. I knew he had walked-on at Ball State, had seen him on the sidelines wearing No. 8 for the Cardinals. but hadn’t seen him much in action — until last Saturday.

I like attending college football games in person, as much for the atmosphere as the game itself. I enjoyed my experience covering the Indiana vs. Ball State football game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Aug. 31, and I enjoyed last Saturday’s Fordham at Ball State game.

Vince Lombardi played football at Fordham University. For you younger readers who know of Vince Lombardi only because his name is on the trophy awarded to the Super Bowl winner each year, Lombardi was head coach of the Green Bay Packers who won several NFL championships and the first two Super Bowls.

Of course, Fordham has not been a football power for some time and that includes this year, as the host Cardinals struggled early against the Rams but won going away 57-29.

The 57 points scored by Ball State were the most points a Cardinals football team had scored in one game since a five-overtime game against Western Michigan in 2005.

I was glad to finally see Cody Rudy get to the play for Ball State. Most folks around here remember Rudy as a dominating defensive player who did a lot of different things to help Shenandoah win.

At Ball State, Rudy is a redshirt junior and is listed on the roster as a 5-11, 259 lb. fullback. That’s a pretty good size for a running back, one reason why the Cardinals are using him in short-yardage situations near the goal line.

On Saturday, Rudy caught a three-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Drew Plitt for his first TD as a BSU player, and his blocking helped the Cardinals score another touchdown a little later.

It’s nice to see Rudy having success as a college football player. I would have liked to have seen him carry the football and bowl over some would-be tacklers, but perhaps that is coming down the road.

Covering high school sports is our first priority here at The Courier-Times, but I like getting out and watching college sporting events when they don’t conflict with the local sports I plan to cover.

This past Friday was a rather strange one for local high school football. On Aug. 30, New Castle was the only local football team to win, and last Friday the Trojans were the only local football team to lose.

For those who ventured over to Pendleton Heights to see New Castle lose to the Arabians 52-7, wasn’t that a strange game?

First, the scoreboard operator often failed to change the “ball on” numbers to indicate exactly where the ball was located on the field. I was in the press box, the Pendleton band was below us, and the band’s music often drowned out what the public address announcer was saying.

And wasn’t that a strange call by the officials on New Castle’s lone touchdown drive? The Trojans had driven to a 1st-and-10 at the Pendleton 19-yard line when freshman quarterback Jon Eberhart’s pass was intercepted by an Arabian player and returned to the Pendleton 30.

Flags flew followed by at least a five-minute delay during which five officials on the field conferred to determine what the call on the play should be. Apparently, word filtered up to the press box that the referees determined there was pass interference against the Arabians and a block in the back against New Castle on the interception return.

Why the Trojans would block in the back when trying to chase down the guy who intercepted the pass is beyond me.

Finally, the only penalty officially called was the pass interference against Pendleton, but the ball was moved BACK four yards to the New Castle 23. Go figure. Strange.

So actually it was 1st-and-14, and Eberhart tossed a 23-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Matney on the very next play (with Arabian players hanging onto Matney before and during the catch) for the Trojans’ only touchdown of the night.

Other than that play, about the only other positive experience I had on the trip to Pendleton was that I found a quarter in the PHHS parking lot. That’s almost three times the amount of money I earn each month on a passbook savings account at one of my banks.

The Pendleton lead grew so large that the IHSAA’s new “Mercy Rule” of a running clock automatically kicked in. Hopefully, that forgettable game can be washed away from memory with a big victory over winless Shelbyville this Friday at Neal Field.

Before I close this column, I’d like to point out that New Castle High School has a rather young cross country team this year. First-year Head Coach Andy Carter is doing a good job with the boys and girls teams, and I expect they will have even more success in the future.

The Trojans have only three girls on the team, but two freshmen are very strong runners. Those two ninth-graders are Lydia Harvey and Ella Garvin. Both have done well in early meets and are strong candidates to reach the regional and perhaps beyond this season.

It’s a shame New Castle can’t come up with the minimum of five girls needed to score as a team at meets. In some other states, athletes at the middle school level are allowed to run on the high school varsity. NCMS appears to have some good girl runners on its cross country team this season.

I wish the IHSAA would allow, in certain cases, middle schoolers to compete in non-contact sports at the varsity level. But I wouldn’t hold my breath on that idea.

David Risley is sports editor at The Courier-Times.