Photo By Codey Emerson: Nicholas Burnell (Sheridan) stands next to Dalton Davis (Noblesville) as they watch their offense move the ball down the field.
Photo By Codey Emerson: Nicholas Burnell (Sheridan) stands next to Dalton Davis (Noblesville) as they watch their offense move the ball down the field.

By Codey Emerson

INDIANAPOLIS – The third and final player to represent Hamilton County in the 2019 Indiana Football Coaches Association All-Star game is Nicholas Burnell. Burnell spent his four years playing for one of the most storied football programs in the state, The Sheridan Blackhawks. The Blackhawks are led by hall of fame Coach Larry “Bud” Wright who is the winningest coach in Indiana High School Football History with over 400 career wins.

Burnell was a four year starter for the Blackhawks where he played outside-linebacker. He said that he really didn’t see himself playing in this game, yet there he was.

“I really had no idea that I would even be able to play in this game,” he said. “It’s just a great honor, and a huge accomplishment in my career. I’m just proud to be able to represent Sheridan.”

Burnell joked that it would have felt better if the South had come out victorious. The North was able to win a nail-biting game by the final score of 25-24.

Wright talked about the experience of getting to coach Burnell during his four years with the Blackhawks.

“Nick is just a hard worker,” Wright said. “In two of his four years he led us in total tackles, and in the other two seasons he finished second. He just always finds a way to whoever has the ball and makes the tackle no matter what.”

Burnell was the 23rd player from Sheridan to play in the All-Star game. This season he finished with 104 total tackles. His junior season was even better where he finished with 158 tackles and averaged 13.2 per game.  The Blackhawks posted a 8-3 record this past season and lost in the second round of the sectional.

Wright also talked about what playing in this game not only meant to Burnell but for the football program as a whole.

“I really think he wanted to prove that he belongs out there with the best players this state has to offer,” Wright said. “He saw it as a challenge and he stood his ground fairly well. Our program has had a great tradition dating back to the 1960’s, and we’ve built a great reputation for ourselves, and this game is just another example of that.”

For Burnell this game would be the last time that he would be playing in a football game. Come the fall, he will be attending Purdue University to major in AG Business.

“It’s a weird feeling knowing that I have played my final game,” Burnell said. “I don’t know if quite like it yet. We’re just going to have to get past it.”

The All-Star game for the three Hamilton County players (Dalton Davis, Noblesville, Franklin Bohannon Westfield, and Nicholas Burnell, Sheridan) provided these athletes to enjoy one last game in their high school career. Only time will tell where each of them is able to go from here.