Bryan Ault

It might also be a dream situation. Kirschner takes over a team returning several starters who won a sectional championship in 2020 in a decisive win over Lawrence North, a team loaded with several top Indiana recruits.

“I feel at the end of the season we came to an understanding that we can do anything as a team,” Quintin Delgado said. “I feel like Coach (Kirschner) will make me better by pushing me as hard as he can and making me the best receiver I can be. With his success it makes me feel confident as a player because it is my senior year, so with all his success I feel like we can make a huge state run.”

And Warren Central is primed for just that with a bevy of tall and athletic players. Returning for the Warriors on defense is Dejuan Echoles, a 6-foot-2 rangy defensive end/outside linebacker, and Brion Stephens, a 6-foot-2 cornerback heading into his senior season.

Offensively, three key players to watch will be quarterback Prince Powell and two wide receivers, Joe Hall and Delgado. Hall is a 2023 graduate and already looks the part at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds. Delgado is a 6-foot-1 rising senior who looks poised for a breakout year.

“What I think we did right as a team last year, was we trusted each other to do our job and we encouraged each other to do and be better as players,” Hall said. “And I feel like Coach Kirschner can make us better by just being by our side through the whole journey and being the best coach he can be.”

And the players say they are excited for Kirschner’s arrival, feeling he will give them the bump they need to compete with the upper-echleon teams in 6A.

“It makes me feel very comfortable because he knows what he’s doing and he knows the game well,” Echoles said.

The players cite his experiences at Ben Davis and Mount Vernon. He won two state championships with the Giants. In his first year at Mount Vernon, he flipped the team’s record, going 7-4 in 2018. In 2019 the Marauders were regional champions, and in 2020 the team lost just one game: the regional finals against Indianapolis Roncalli.

“Knowing the things he’s done with teams in the past makes me really comfortable and excited for what’s to come,” Daniel Tippitt said. “If there is anybody that can fill in for Coach West, I know that it could be him.”

Powell in particular is looking forward to the season. He heard many rumors on who the next head coach would be and described Kirschner as a great fit that made sense.

“He brings a lot to the table,” Powell said. “The way he speaks and the leadership he displays makes me believe I can do anything I put my mind to. I believe we have the talent and with someone like Coach K that can empower us I think we’re going to be trouble for anyone. Him being a Warrior and him understanding Warrior Nation and being excited coming back home made me extremely proud to have him as a coach.”