CRAWFORDSVILLE, INDIANA (WLFI) - It was a heartbreaking loss that ended the season for the Fountain Central High School football team. It marked the end of Coach Rick Malone's 28th season as a head football coach. And while there's always next year to chase another title at Fountain Central, there's a friendship Coach Malone cherishes outside the lines as much, if not more, than a state title.
Fountain Central Football Coach Rick Malone has been around the game at a high school level longer than most. He's coached and won at the state level, and shaped hundreds of lives on and off the field since 1983.
But perhaps one of the most important relationships in Coach's life started in 1989, when Cory Hallas was in the 8th grade and Coach Malone was teaching at Southmont High School.
"I had him as a student. His father was assistant principal here and Cory just loves athletics. He loves football, he loves baseball, he loves wrestling. You know anything with athletics and he just wanted to be a part of things," said Rick Malone.
Hallas has Cerebral Palsy. His love for the game of football started as a young child. When Hallas was a freshman, he started managing Coach Malone's Southmont football team. This team of two, has been together since.
"We both have a love for the game, you know. Cory knows football, you know, and he knows what good football is. And I think we've kind of helped each other along, not only in football-wise, but just in our own personal lives, you know. Cory is like family, you know. Cory calls me his second dad. You know, we're very important in each other's lives. We support each other. We're always there for each other," said Malone.
"I love every part of the game," said Cory Hallas.
Hallas sits in the booth at every Southmont home game and runs the 25-second clock just as he did with Coach Malone. Now Coach is leading the charge at Fountain Central. When Southmont is on the road, Hallas makes the trip to help the team at Fountain Central, under Coach Malone.
"You know, we ride to the games together. We'll talk about the upcoming game. We'll talk about after the game on the ride home. We'll talk about what happened during the game. So you know, he's become a very important part of my life, because he started out as a student and a manager. And he's become a very good friend of mine," said Malone.
Coach Malone said football allows players to form relationships that will last well after the last whistle blows. Relationships like the one he has with Cory, a guy whose love for the game is apparent every Friday night.
Southmont lost its sectional opener. Coach Malone said while players change over the years, the most important thing to him, is to instill a sense of family into each one of his high school teams.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) proposed a pre-K voucher program as part of his 2014 agenda. The would give underprivileged children access to pre-K programs.
A former Frankfort middle school principal is arrested for his part in what police call a child sex abuse case.
West Lafayette police have arrested one of the men they say robbed a restaurant while armed with a machete.