Lions look to continue move in positive direction
Rushville coach Isaac Sliger has been quietly rebuilding a football program from the ground up. When Sliger took over the Lions’ program, it had fallen on hard times, and going into last season they held the longest losing streak in the state, going on a 24-game slide that dated back to September of 2019.
The 2022 Lions felt the culture change and were winners of their first two games. Unfortunately, Rushville lost three EIAC games after that, including one-score losses to both Batesville (13-7) and Connersville (28-27) before three blowouts by top-tier teams (N. Decatur, Lawrenceburg, S. Dearborn.) The Lions finished the season with two losses to Greensburg, finishing 2-8, but able to get the monkey off their back and break the losing streak.
The 2023 Rushville Lions will be led by returning leading rusher Harper Miller. The senior returns with 1,665 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns after his first three seasons for RCHS. Miller filled in at quarterback for an injured Austin Vance his sophomore season and threw for 181 yards while rushing for 551 more. Miller topped the 1,000-yard mark a season ago on 241 carries and was second on the team in rushing touchdowns with six. Junior Ralph Eakins picked up 202 yards in 2022 and was a top return man for the special team’s unit. Junior Nick Jarman saw time under center last year and threw for 210 yards in his three starts; he should be the quarterback for Sliger to start the season.
The receiving corps will be led by senior Chase Woolf, who led the Lions with 32 receptions a season ago. Braydon Wilson and Keegan Bowles also return as receivers. Drew McKee returns at the tight end spot, and the offensive line returns several key cogs that come with starting experience. With center Austin Miller, guard Trey Newman and tackles Danny Corn and Will Kuhn all returning for the Lions, Rushville has a formidable front on both sides of the ball.
On defense Rushville returns several high-energy players. Eakins – and his 93 tackles from the safety spot – is the leading returner for the Lions in that department. Linebackers Adrian Apodaca (83 tackles), Landon Browning (58 tackles) and Kemper Seitz (91 tackles) all return for Rushville. Carter Barnes, Jacob Crowder, Pacey Dye and Bowles also return to give the Lions eight returning from last season. Wilson handled the kicking and punting duties for the Lions last season and will likely be back for his junior season in the same role.
Rushville will start the season with two road contests against the two teams they defeated last season. On Aug. 18 the Lions will travel to Milan. On Aug. 25 they travel to take on Shelbyville and will stay on the road until their first home game of 2023 on Sept. 15 in the War on 44 tilt with Connersville.