INDIANAPOLIS - HTSN returns for a third season of live Indiana high school football games on Friday night.
Our broadcast team, led by the legendary Jerry Baker, is set to provide another exciting season of games.
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"They have a team on this side of the field and this side of the field, and we have our team that covers the entire field," Baker said.
Jan Boser is back to analyze the action on the field, a football man from Noblesville who has spent some 20 years in the broadcast booth and has seen the changes in Indiana high school football.
"Everybody talks about Ohio, Florida, now people talk about Indiana," Boser said. "It's the speed of the game. I'm just amazed, because I played back when they had leather helmets. We barely moved, but today the game is so fast, so quick. Scoring, overall, has increased by nine points in 10 years. That's because of speed."
Back on the sidelines for another season, Greg Rakestraw has seen the many broadcast changes over the years.
"There's not that one rivalry, maybe Carmel and Warren Central at times, or Fishers and HSE are kind of like that, where you're going to get 9,000 or 10,000 during the game," Rakestraw said. "What is unique is the fact that you will have 10 to 15 games, if not more, that are going to have 3,000, 4,000 or 5,000 at every game. If you add that up, we have become quite the high school football market in Indianapolis."
Broadcasts are arranged months in advance, setting up the schedule, reserving the crews and broadcast time and conducting game research.
Baker, from Sullivan, graduated from Indiana State University and launched his broadcast career in the 1970s.
"I kind of set a goal, and then I got lucky," Baker said. "Luck is about 95 percent of what happens to us in this business anyway. I got a job working at one of the local Terre Haute radio stations … This was back when you could actually come in and audition for a job."
From there, Baker went on to cover the Indiana Pacers in the ABA, high school championships and the Indianapolis 500, where he continues to work.
"I got in this for the money," Baker joked. "I'm just wondering when that's going to happen."
Baker was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000. HTSN is proud to give him another outlet.
"I used to listen to Jerry Baker call the Pacers game when I was growing up," Boser said. "He was my idol."
"People just hear the voice on the broadcast, and it just gives it this big-time feel," Rakestraw said.
"In my mind, this is the last legitimate bastion of amateurism," Baker said. "We've got some great games lined up this year."