Class A Championship Preview: Fountain Central Head Coach Comes Full Circle
When Rick Malone received the starting head coach job at Fountain Central 26 years ago, he practically felt a state championship would come every Thanksgiving.

"My first year as a head coach was 1983, and I was 25 years old," said Malone. "I probably didn't have the appreciation for the experience that I do now."

That game Fountain Central defeated Churubusco by the final score of 12-3, the last time the Mustangs have been in the state championship game. But that's just the beginning of Malone's story, which will come full circle this Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Shortly after winning the state championship, Malone left Fountain Central to become an assistant coach at Martinsville. Three years later Malone would leave the program to take the head coaching job at Southmont for a decade and a half, and then took four years off to watch his daughter play varsity volleyball.

"I was then very fortunate that the position at Fountain Central became open," said Malone." I was approached about taking the position, and it's just been a great experience being back there."

Malone's Mustangs will kick off the beginning of five IHSAA State Football Championships on Friday afternoon, when Fountain Central (14-0) will take on Lafayette Central Catholic (14-0) in a battle of two undefeated squads.

Fountain Central is entering Friday's match-up with confidence after a big 42-14 victory over Clinton Central in the Semi-State Championship game. The Mustangs jumped out on the opposition early off of two Trent Spear touchdowns that put Fountain Central up 14-0, and the team never looked back in route to victory. Along with Spear's two rushing touchdowns, Quarterback Scott Moore finished with three touchdowns (two passing, one rush), and wide receiver Zach Robertson finished the night with two touchdowns, and 94 yards on five catches.

"Everybody has really contributed," said Malone. "It's really been a team thing. That's what brought us here."

The Mustangs are going to have to put points on the board if they wish to have a chance against Lafayette Central on Friday. The Knights, who are ranked number one in the Associated Press poll, lead the state in points per game with an average of 52.4. But even more impressive, the defense has allowed just 3.2 points, giving an AVERAGE margin of victory of 49.2 points per game. In essence, IHSAA football was a video game, they have been playing the 2009 season on easy mode.

"What a machine," said Malone. "Offensively and defensively they are very sound. On offense they have so many weapons, as they'll spread you out, throw the ball, and run the ball. So many weapons they have, and big play capabilities, it's really going to test our defense."

Leading the offensive attack for the Knights is Senior Quarterback Chris Mills. The potential All-State candidate has thrown for 2,948 yards, 47 touchdowns, and just seven interceptions to go along with those numbers.

But Coach Malone knows he's going to have an even bigger test putting the ball in the end zone against the Knights defense.

"Defensively, they shut people down," said Malone. "They are very strong up front against the run. We know we are going to have our work cut out for us."

Fountain Central will face off against Lafayette Central Catholic on Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium. Full highlights of the game can be seen on "Football Friday Night" at 10:35 p.m. on Fox 59, and extended coverage of the game can be found on Indysportsnation.com.