Preseason Pick Six: The top storylines of 2011

With the high school football season just a week away, Fox 59 Sports' Ken Sothman picks his top six stories heading into what will undoubtedly be an unpredictable season.

Do you hear that faint music in the distance? Listen closer.

It's the sound of autumn leaves changing colors, student sections trying to rally a team together, tin foil hot dogs and hamburgers getting eaten by the dozen, Don Rogers voice over a PA-system, and most importantly, it's the sound of champions.

"When the Hobart High School falls in line, We're gonna win this game another time! For that dear old school we love so much, For that old ball team we'll yell and yell and yell!"

Okay, maybe the Hobart Brickies won't leave Lucas Oil as the Class 4A State champs this year, but a good old rendition of the purple and gold is what I needed to get me jacked up for the 2011 season. Please, grab whatever foam finger and throw on an old varsity jacket to do the same for yourself.

Here at Fox 59 Sports we've stopped by some of the top schools in the area to preview the upcoming IHSAA season, but outside of those schools, here are what Ken Sothman thinks are the top six storylines on the gridiron to look forward too.

1. Is Gunner Kiel worth the hype?

Look, I personally don't have any interest in recruiting or speculating on a seventeen year-olds biggest decision of his life. But once that decision is finally made, and the smoke is cleared on every Rivals message board from the grown men who moan and groan too much on those decisions, then my ears are perked up.

With that said, here is what we know about Columbus East Senior Gunner Kiel, who just happens to be the top (or second best according to your source) quarterback in the nation and is somehow "headed" to Indiana University:

(Reason 4,567 I dislike following recruiting: Seventeen year-olds change their minds pretty easily. Gunner doesn't sign until February. Don't think Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida, and Ball State University don't know this.)


- During Kiel's junior year he led the Olympians to a 9-2 record with 36 touchdowns and 2,645 yards.

- He plays on a squad that hasn't been below .500 since 2002, and has won at least nine games each season since 2004. Which I would possibly sound the alarm for soft schedule alert...

- But he did beat Center Grove last season in the sectional opener on the road. That, no matter what you say, is an incredibly hard task.

- The pressure will be on. Not a day goes by in which it seems some Indiana hopeful is talking about the savior that is Gunner everyday, and the week two game against Columbus North will be aired nationally on ESPNU. Every snap, throw, and wink to a cheerleader on the sidelines will be followed from here on out.

- Trent Dilfer once said "There's a lot of Peyton Manning in Kiel."

Personally, I'm excited to see the kid excel and light up the likes of New Albany, Jeffersonville, and Bedford North Lawrence. I hope he pads leads quick enough so he can get out of a game before a Booby Miles-like accident takes place. And truthfully, I don't think we'll get a proper read on him until he faces top-notch talent until the later rounds of the Class 4A State Tournament (the Olympians dropped down from 5A due to the alignment).

But will he put up points? Of course, and Indiana fans are going to be drooling all season long.

Well, as long as he doesn't Roll Tide along the way.

2. Will Cathedral play at Lucas Oil Stadium three times this year?

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