As the first official Friday night of Indiana High School football is upon us, players across the state are strapping on their pads to embark on a season sure to be filled with action.
One Indianapolis Colt was in that same position just a few years ago at Indianapolis Cathedral.
Many people know Jack Doyle as the tough-nosed tight-end for the Indianapolis Colts who has a knack for making the big play when his team needs it.
Some may even know him as a stand-out at Western Kentucky before he got his chance to play for his hometown team after going undrafted in 2013.
However, not many can say they know Doyle like his high school football coach, Jim O'Hara.
"Heck I have probably known Jack since he was born," O'Hara said, having grown up down the street from Doyle's mom, he had been a friend of the family for many years. Watching Doyle grow up gave the coach a sense of what type of player he might have once he got to high school.
"He always had a smile on his face, was always having a good time and he would play anything, any sport, anytime, anywhere and always had fun," Doyle's former coach said.
There was also something O'Hara noticed about an adolescent Doyle that he may never live down.
"Oh boy he also had a big ole head," said O'Hara, referring to the size of the Colt's top-tight-end's noggin, not his ego. "And the funniest part is now his son has a big ole head."
All jokes aside, O'Hara knew that Doyle was special, and then he got to learn just how much when he entered Cathedral, known by most as a football factory.
"So many times I heard Jack say that he wants to get better every day," O'Hara reminisced. "That was just the type of guy he was, and mending that with his willingness to be coached was incredible. So many people can't take the teaching and Jack was humble enough to admit his faults and embrace that someone was trying to make him better."
But just because a player possesses that mentality, does not mean that they will get their chance on the field.
Being on a team filled with talent made it difficult for Doyle to see playing time at the Varsity level as an underclassman.
O'Hara noted that while he was platooned in two tight-end formations, he wasn't playing the amount of time he strived for or was warranted.
Doyle kept working though, and while he was just a role player on the team that would earn a state championship trophy, outside of football he was using another sport to develop the temperament that made him who he is today.
"It is important to note that Jack also won two state championships in Rugby, that is where he honed in on his grit," O'Hara said. "You can't teach the type of mentality that he had on the field, that toughness to do whatever it takes to beat your opponent, Jack had that."
The nastiness that O'Hara saw in Doyle's game came in the form of a skill that the coach believed would take him as far in football as he wanted: Blocking.
Cathedral's offense under O'Hara ran predominantly out of an I Backfield, involving not only the offensive lineman to get a hefty load of run blocking, but tight-ends to get their fair share of responsibilities.
For players who may prefer the glamor of catching passes and scoring touchdowns this type of offense would not have been ideal. However, for a rugby-loving tight-end who proved his worth in the trenches, it was perfect.
"He is old school and his number one skill is blocking, he was tremendous," O'Hara said of his former player. "He would line up across from a guy and be prepared to do anything and everything in his power to beat him on each play."
O'Hara believes that the ability to block may be the reason that so many Colts fans get to cheer on #84 on Sunday afternoons, and even before that how he earned a scholarship.
Having only caught 21 passes as a senior and captain at Cathedral, Doyle only received one scholarship offer to play division one football.
"Coaches would come in and I would tell them Jack was going to be unbelievable because of his blocking technique," O'Hara said as he described Doyle's recruitment.
Doyle would take his chance and accept the one standing scholarship offer he had to Western Kentucky.
His coach who watched him grown up and was fighting for him to get a shot shared a message with the crowd that was there as Doyle signed his letter of intent.
"When he had his signing day in high school, I told the people in the audience they would be seeing him on Sundays," O'Hara shared. "And once again was all because of the way he could block, you just couldn't teach it."
Doyle seems to have proved his former coach right, with now a thriving career that has him as a top player and fan favorite with the Colts.
But with all the accomplishments and skills that O'Hara sees in Doyle, above all else it is how he carries himself that is the most impressive.
"He is a man of his word. If he says he is going to do something he will do it," O'Hara exclaimed. "He is that way with his job as a football player, he is that way with his work in the community and he is that way in his role as a father, brother and son."