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"Earned Means Earned:" A Profile on the Mechanicsburg Indians

By Danny Fogarty, 09/25/21, 11:58AM EDT


A Saturday Morning Profile on the D-VI powerhouse that is Mechanicsburg. (Photo Credit: Michael Cooper, Springfield News-Sun)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A score of 43-11 is easily seen as a blowout by most football fans, and something that happens once or twice per year for a single team.

For the Division VI powerhouse Mechanicsburg, though, this is the norm.

The Indians of Mechanicsburg (6-0) practice at their home stadium, called Mechanicsburg Stadium, about 30 miles outside Columbus.

This team has quietly formed one of the most effective offenses and defenses in the area, and the combination has led to great success both this season and in 2020.

Mechanicsburg coach Kurt Forrest said that his offensive strategy is simple: while one player has the ball the other 10 players need to make sure he can get as far as possible.

"One guy is in charge of taking care of the football advancing it," Forrest said, "and the other 10 are in charge of blocking their tails off."

Forrest said that his goal is to make the offense as simple as possible so that his players know exactly what to do and can repeatedly do it at will.

This strategy has led to the Indians scoring 259 points in six games this season for an average of 43.2 points per game.

Similarly, Forrest said his defense, which only allows an average of 11 points per game, is focused mainly on the elementary yet all-important skill of tackling.

"Defense is all about tackling," Forrest said. "Everything that goes into that and in getting all the kids on the field to believe in it, and understand which part, they're doing of the tackling."

The Indians are led by their senior quarterback Aaron Conley who provides offensive power with both his arm and his legs every week while ball-hawking as a safety on defense.

Class of 2021 senior running back Chayse Propst rushes past defenders during a 2020 playoff game against Paint Valley. (Photo Credit, Jeff Gilbert, Springfield News-Sun)

To most teams, these numbers would give immense confidence and security going into every week.

But, for Forrest, the goal is not to create a huge margin or even necessarily to score, but just to play as hard as possible week after week.

"We just keep our heads down and go to work," Forrest said. "The only result that we're truly concerned about is are we playing the absolute best of our ability."

It is this head-down, hard-working attitude that seems to be built into the town of Mechanicsburg.

Mechanicsburg prides itself on an old-fashioned lifestyle and an attitude that, as the the town's website says, allows for no short cuts.

"There are no magic bullets and no quick fixes," the website says, "but those who value quality small town life continue to struggle toward workable solutions and hope for a brighter future for Mechanicsburg."

It is this culture that Forrest and his team bring to the field every week.  It has worked for them so far, so all that is left is to see just how much success the Indians can have for the rest of the season.

Mechanicsburg currently shares the top spot of the Ohio Heritage Conference (OHC)- North Division and will look to repeat as winners of the conference this year.

At 6-0, the Indians are tied with in-conference rival West Jefferson.  The teams will play each other in Week 10 at Mechanicsburg in a game that could decide who will win the conference.

To win the conference and have success in the postseason, the Indians will surely need toughness.

Forrest said that toughness is measured in hard work and perseverance which is exactly what he preaches to his players.

"The only true measure of a man is how much fight he has in him," Forrest said. "That doesn't mean you're gonna win every time it doesn't mean you're gonna lose every time. All it means is that you're going to give your absolute best every single day."