Bobby Babcock and Tyler Turley have some unfinished business to take care of.
Last year, the talented pair of linebackers did their fair share to help the Hobart High football team reach the (Class 4A) northern semistate title game for the first time since 1996, only to come up short at the end to East Noble (29-24).
Fresh off their second straight regional crown, the No. 7 Brickies (10-2) hope to make amends Friday when they host Marion (10-3) for a spot in next week's Class 4A state championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
"Last year, we set the standard of what Hobart football should be for the next decade," Babcock said. "This year, we are trying to show what happens when it really does come all together. I'm so proud of my brothers from last year's team and this year's team, we are a family and it shows on the field with tough love."
A member of the Indiana Football Digest's 2020 Prime Time 25, the 6-foot, 220-pound Babcock has proven to be a force in the middle a defense which has posted five shutouts and limited opponents to just 9.3 points per game.
After earning all-state accolades a season ago with 65 tackles, including 20 for loss, six quarterback sacks, and three fumble recoveries, the four-year veteran has so far compiled 49 tackles with 20 for loss, six sacks, and three fumble recoveries.
"It was a great honor to be named to that (all-state and IFD) team and to be on the front of the (IFD) book," Babcock added. "I have the best coaching staff here at Hobart. They have put me in situations to make plays and I have also put myself in that situation by working my butt off since I was a freshman"
A three-year starter, the 5-foot-7, 175-pound Turley has been just as impressive on both sides of the field despite missing four games at the start of this season.
In addition to recording 33 tackles and three interceptions, the son of former Hobart standout and former head coach Ryan Turley has also rambled 100 times for 534 yards with 12 touchdowns from his spot in the backfield.
"I feel like missing the first couple of games I was letting my team down," said Turley, who tallied 81 tackles with 17 for loss a year ago. "It is something that I have been trying to make up for. I am also honored to be in the position I am in on this team and I am always just trying to do whatever I can to help our team reach our goals.
"I feel like my career as a Brickie has been something that I will remember forever. I have built some of the best friendships and memories that will last forever.
The gridiron is not the only playing field these guys have excelled on.
This past winter, they helped Hobart capture its first wresting sectional championship since 2002.
Along with claiming a sectional title in the 220-pound weight division, Babcock went on to finish second in the regional round and qualify for the East Chicago semistate.
"Wrestling is a different breed of a grind," Babcock explained. "It has brought me to my deepest deep and proved to myself there's always more in the tank."
Competing in the 152-pound weight class, Turley made it all the way to Indianapolis where he posted a sixth-place finish at the state finals.
"The success just translates due to our mindsets," Turley added. "We just do not like losing on the mat or on the field. "
A Brickie himself, former National Football League lineman Craig Osika has watched both players blossom into superstars over his three years at the controls.
"Having kids like Tyler and Bobby makes coaching a little bit easier," explained Osika, a 1998 graduate. "Bobby is a four-year starter and this is Tyler's third year starting. They know the expectations and they show up every day to work and you can see how that translates to Friday nights. They are the kids that I expect to step up and make a big play when needed and more times than not they come through.
"There have definitely been some ups and downs over the past four years with both of them, but we have remained focused on the ultimate goal of teaching them the game of football. More importantly, we are helping them grow into young men of character. I love them both like my own sons and they will be greatly missed once this year is over."
Both players are thankful for the guidance Osika and company have provided during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We have the very best coaching staff in the state with the most state championship experience," said Babcock, who has verbally committed to Illinois State. "The way they make us believe in the process is why we are in this position today. They always work all together for us and we all appreciate it more than they know."
"We have a great group of coaches," Turley added. "They are always looking to put us in the best positions possible to win on and off the field. They are also great people as they care about getting to know everyone on a personal level which brings us all much closer together."
They are also grateful to have a second chance on Friday to compete for a chance get back to the state championship game for the first time since 1996.
"It's a great feeling to be able to win for my city and to have the town behind you is something you can't explain," Babcock added. "With the pandemic going on in the city, we are their hope, so it's even better to do it for them during these times."
"I feel like it is something special when Hobart is winning football games late in the post-season," Turley said. "I love being able to look up in the stands and see the support we have along with the loud noise on big plays. Our crowd really makes a difference."