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Odds and ends from a weekend of sports

New Castle’s Luke Bumbalough (28) who is behind quarterback Drew Barber (5) runs for yardage against host Shelbyville on a sloppy field last Friday night, aided by his blockers which include Blake Webb (78) and Bailey Melton (58). All the rain made the field a quagmire, but Bumbalough still rushed for 190 yards and four touchdowns in the Trojans’ 41-18 victory over the Golden Bears.

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

Like most college students, the weekend for me begins on Thursday night because what occurs that evening and Friday make up the coverage you’ll receive in Sunday’s sports section.

The rain last weekend, particularly on Friday and Saturday, put a damper on several high school fall sports events. Football, of course, was played as were volleyball and soccer, but cross country and girls golf meets ground to a halt.

Cross country, especially, has been hurt by nasty weather on Saturdays this season. The big Rushville Invitational wasn’t held on Aug. 25 and last Saturday’s meets, including a big one at Randolph Southern, were cancelled. Hopefully, this won’t be repeated the rest of the season.

I covered the Shenandoah at Blue River volleyball match last Thursday night and was treated to an exciting one. I felt it might be close, and it was, Another nice thing about it was that both head coaches, the Raiders’ Josh MacIntyre and the Vikings’ Angi Rodriguez, were happy with their teams’ performances in the match.

As the match was between two of our local schools, I couldn’t be partial to either one. As I told Coach MacIntyre afterward, I was hoping it would go to five sets and one team would win 15-13 in the fifth and deciding set (Shenandoah won in three).

I think we have a legitimate chance of having four of our local volleyball teams win sectionals this year, which would be great. I don’t think that’s happened before. New Castle, Hagerstown, and Shenandoah won volleyball sectionals last year.

Friday’s forecast was for rain and it was 100-percent accurate. There wasn’t a drop of rain as I drove from New Castle to Shelbyville, but as soon as I reached the parking lot at Shelbyville High school, the skies opened up. I got soaked walking the short distance from the parking lot to the press box.

The rain continued well into the third quarter and the SHS football field became a muddy mess. It’s amazing that the players did as well as they did, especially the Trojans in their 41-18 victory over the host Golden Bears. I’m glad I had a seat in the press box.

Afterward, I made my way onto the field to interview New Castle Coach Kyle York and a couple of his players. When I got down there, I wished I had those black boots with buckles that I wore as a kid, as the field was water-soaked and I sank with every step. But I got the interviews completed.

I haven’t seen those black boots with buckles around for a long time. I guess today’s kids wouldn’t be caught dead wearing those.

Saturday after I got Sunday’s sports section done, I ventured to Neal Field for double duty, as I took photos of some of the first half of the Oldenburg Academy at New Castle girls soccer game.

What a privilege it is to have Neal Field here. It drains really well and the girls seemed to have no trouble with footing or moving the ball up and down the field.

I got really wet taking photos, but had no time to go home and change clothes, as the championship match of the New Castle Volleyball Invitational was about ready to start between host New Castle and Bellmont.

The Squaws are a good team and finished runner-up to the Trojans in last year’s Class 3A Regional 6 at Norwell, but New Castle won in two sets to no one’s real surprise.

After getting Bailey Cox and Nicole Wilkinson back, the Trojans really have looked good. If they eliminated their own mistakes, I don’t think anyone in Class 3A can beat them. Why they aren’t getting any respect in the polls remains a mystery.

By the way, the additions of Caitlin Shunneson from Yorktown to New Castle and Audrey Duncan from Wapahani to Shenandoah has made the Trojans and Raiders that much better. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out.

I didn’t see the game, but Tri won at Wes-Del Saturday night to improve to 2-2 for the season. At this point, four of our local high school football teams sit at 3-1 and the other is 2-2 after Week 4 of Friday Night Lights. I think that’s the best combined record we’ve had around here for a long time.

Also on Saturday, I watched some of Purdue’s loss to Eastern Michigan and most of Ball State’s narrow loss at Notre Dame plus IU’s win against Virginia in the rain at Bloomington. On Sunday, I saw on TV the two NFL teams I root for, the Colts and Bears, lose games they should have won.

As busy as last weekend was, it will get busier as the fall sports season progresses. The first IHSAA tournament of the season is this Saturday with girls golf sectionals, and will be followed with a slew of tournaments in late September and October.

This is a great time to be a sports editor. It’s fortunate that I really like my job and never plan to retire from it.

David Risley is sports editor at The Courier-Times.