One Indiana high school football tradition returns after a one-year hiatus in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic: the Horseshoe Classic presented by the Indianapolis Colts.  On Friday night, four teams will kick off their season where they hope to conclude it at the state championships: Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis.

And while the first game between Mooresville and Lebanon at 6 p.m. will generate plenty of buzz, the nightcap scheduled at 8:30 p.m. between two 6A Indianapolis powers Ben Davis v. Brownsburg is arguably Indiana’s must-see game for Week 1.

“The game against Ben Davis is going to be a great test for us on both sides of the ball,” Brownsburg defensive end Isaiah Street said.  “We have a lot of play makers, but so do they. We need to execute our assignments, make tackles, and capitalize on their mistakes. We have been watching film and thinking through  how to be aggressive at the line of scrimmage to control the tempo of the game and force turnovers. From a defensive standpoint we are focusing on how we can get pressure on the quarterback and limiting any big plays.”

Street, a 6’5 225-pound Western Michigan commit, said he and the Bulldogs had a great offseason and feels the team has gotten better. 

“I focused hard on getting bigger, faster and stronger. In addition, I was working on my takeoff and hand fighting to help me become as dominant as possible.  I have definitely gotten stronger and more explosive off the ball. I have also grown as a leader. One of my goals was to be the best teammate I could be. I want to be a player the younger guys could look up to and respect.  I guess you could say I am just trying to be a good role model.”

Although the Bulldogs graduated several key players from last year’s 8-2 team, they will return some high-quality players on both sides of the ball.  Running back Caleb Marcus is one of the top juniors in the state and put together a 1,001-yard season in 2020.  Brownsburg ’23 DE/ATH Leighton Jones holds an offer from Eastern Kentucky.  Offensive guard Preston Jarvis will returns, as does offensive tackle Denys Miroshnyk, who holds offers from Northwood, Kentucky Wesleyan, and Hillsdale.  Two key sophomores with high potential are OL Santana Alo-Tupuola and DL Jayden Jackson.

They are preparing most for Ben Davis ATH Dillon Moore, a Western Michigan commit. 

“He is a playmaker on both offense and defense,” Street said.  “He is their leading tackler and made some great catches last year.”

“I think their best player is Dillon Moore for his size to be able to move the way he can,” Brownsburg safety Rashon Myles said. “For him to do that on both sides is rare.  He also is a big-time playmaker whether that’s on defense or offense.”

“He’s a versatile receiver and a good player on defense as well,” Jones said.  “He will be a guy we plan on and make sure our match ups are well to give us the edge.”

Moore went under-recruited until getting an offer from Western Michigan.  He dominated at several camps including winning MVP honors at the VTO Sports Elite 100 Camp in Elizabethtown, Kentucky before landing his first major offers.

“I just want to go out there and play and execute whatever game plan (our coaching staff has) for us,” Moore said.

The Giants, who reached semi-state last year before losing to Center Grove, return several key starters.  Along with Moore, senior quarterback J’uan Swanson is a playmaker.  The 6’1 175 senior completed 139-of-241 for 1,913 yards and 20 touchdowns through and air and is the team’s leading rusher.  Up front, the Giants return offensive lineman David Lara-Gonzalez and All-State offensive tackle Keylen Davis.  At 6’4 270, Davis holds several Power 5 offers including Boston College, Cincinnati, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia.  Other key players include Donell Mason, WR Brady Simmons, defensive back Devon Wiley, defensive lineman Myron Green, and linebacker Keoke Toomer.  Another player to keep an eye on throughout the season is defensive back Serrell Curtis.

“As a senior here I had to take that leadership role and step up,” Mason said. “That really helped me improve myself as a player and my team as a whole.