Bill Beck
Bill Beck
In Side Lines, Bill Beck offers observations, quips and queries about Elkhart County sports, often heavy on high school football and Notre Dame. Now and then, he puts a twisted spin on a variety of hot topics.

Other Stories by Bill Beck
Sports editor Bill Beck covers high school and Notre Dame sports for the Elkhart Truth.

Football gear takes a high-tech twist at Northridge, Jimtown

Raiders have a state-of-the-art chute, while Jimmies’ coach carries a whistle in his hand. 

Posted on Aug. 22, 2014 at 6:56 p.m.

Chutes and whistles. Football coaches can’t do without them, but players could most likely. When I toured the Elkhart County area high school camps, you see a lot of standard gear — blocking sleds of various sizes, film towers, nice water dispensers.

And usually stationed off to the side is an oddly-shaped frame of wrought iron or steel pipe where linemen are found huffing and puffing and pounding on one another. The apparatus often appears to be a shop class project. Some today can be constructed of PVC fittings.

When Tom Wogomon came to Northridge last season, the Raiders didn’t have one, but it was on his “wish list.” Booster club members offered to help out and contacted Lippert Components for help. A year later, Lippert rolled out a state-of-the-art chute.

"We shot some ideas around, getting specs, sending them to me. We went back and forth with their engineers and then they delivered it in July,” Wogomon said. “They’ve been really supportive.”

"It was about a year from the time we talked to Coach Wogomon to the time we introduced it to him,” said Adam Clark, a lead engineer for the Goshen-based Lippert plant. “Size-wise, we had some engineering issues with the first couple of drafts, but the operations team and engineering quality team did a fantastic job. We wanted to represent the school well.”

The chute was a one-time project. For now. “Once people start seeing it around, you never know.”

I guarantee other coaches will see this, want this and get this.

Now, that whistle of Jimtown coach Mike Campbell? That’s another story. During my second tour through a Jimmie workout last week, I heard a distinct, piercing whistling sound throughout the session, but never saw a whistle hanging from any coach’s lips.

Upon closer inspection, and a few inquiries, I discovered that Campbell was utilizing a hand-held sound device, made by Spalding. He loves it.

"Kids hate it because I use it all the time," Campbell said. Can’t wait for coaches to line up for this, too.


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