Since Monday, David Wintin travels New Palestine, Ind., A city that requires you to zoom in on your phone's screen before its name appears on the map, with magnets from Maryland on his truck.
Wintin has subscriptions for Indiana, a state license plate bearing the school logo and an "Indiana coin" in his house, but this week he will turn to the Terrapins visiting because of Matt Canada, the man at the helm of the program.
As a college student, Canada went to Wintin's classroom as an office assistant to talk to him about the high school football team.
"So, how are we going to stop this good half-off, are we playing Friday?", Asked Canada to Wintin, an assistant high school coach. "How are you attacking these things?"
A few years later, Canada became a quarter of New Palestine. He says that he was a good player, not great. But from an early age, Canada understood and appreciated the game. He became a student coach and then a graduate assistant in Indiana. He worked in a few smaller programs before returning to his alma mater from 2004 to 2010, where he earned his first position as the Power Five offensive coordinator in 2007.
Canada will return to Bloomington Saturday as Maryland's acting coach. His team won a victory by becoming eligible for the World Cup. It would be a decisive achievement in a chaotic season and could help defend his future in Maryland.
With the match 50 miles southwest of Canada's hometown, Wintin is expecting that a "strong contingent of central Indiana people wearing clothes in Maryland this Saturday". Unlike some of his high school teammates, Canada's work has led him to move across the country, often spending a year at various locations, but Wintin said that New Palestine remains a base .
Canada's parents and one of his brothers still live in the city, 12 kilometers from the Indianapolis ring road. But with a single red light, New Palestine (2,055 inhabitants) is more rural than suburban. Consider this: Al Cooper, who is 12 years older than Canada and once lived on the same street, broke the Canada family basketball basket, then became assistant to the Canada football team and is now director sports in high school. Until recently, Bob, Canada's father, still cooked pork burgers before every home game, a tradition most people believe began when Canada was in school and where his father was the spearhead.
"He's proud of his home country," Cooper said of Canada. "He has never played poker with anyone here."
That's why a group of New Palestine residents will be visiting Bloomington this weekend.
John Blackketter, former linebacker in New Palestine, lives in Bloomington and still considers Canada as his closest friend. He usually travels the country watching Canadian teams play at least once a year, but this weekend the match will come to him.
More than 30 Canadian friends and family members will gather outside the Memorial Stadium for a hatchback before the lunch break, according to Blackketter, who helped Canada's father organize the event. effort by buying a dozen parking cards to distribute in advance. The game has become an opportunity for everyone to come together, even in the freezing temperatures scheduled for Saturday morning.
Canada has remained close to a core group of high school teammates, including Blackketter, Scott Miller and Mike Wood, who will bring all their families to the game. Blackketter's daughter plays volleyball with the daughter of Indiana coach Tom Allen, but there is no question of which Blackketter team will support this weekend.
"It's been a long time since he came and he really deserves it," Blackketter said of Canada. "I do not think anything that makes one of us happier than seeing him be able to continue playing that role with Maryland or have the opportunity to be a coach. chief elsewhere. "
In his two years as a starting quarterback, Canada led New Palestine to a 20-3 record with 1,736 yards passing. Miller was the main receiver of the team in the first year of Canada. Miller did not know if Canada would become a coach, but he knew his high school friend would probably end up in a leadership position.
After the Friday night games, Canadian friends were hanging out in the basement, a football father was bringing donuts in the morning and watching a movie. Canada's home was a natural choice because she was close to school and her parents were accommodating.
Canada's teammates and coaches said he was not a very athletic player – "would probably not call him the most mobile quarterback," said Blackketter – but he had a strong arm and a spirit even better for the match.
Cooper, who coached the freshmen team, remembers the young Canada who had launched the idea of tucking the wing in to block the linebacker and the to run a counter-game off the field to make up for the worst offensive line. The team tried it, the game worked and the university team started using it too.
Canada had what Wintin called "the biggest escape in the history of New Palestinian football," because Canada realized it would be attacked before losing a fourth, so he passed the ball beyond the chains. In the rules at the time, it was only important to know who had the ball last and where it was out of bounds. The New Palestine offensive tied the game on that stroke and won in overtime.
Indiana recruited Canada lightly, but said, "I know now, as a recruiter of players, I'm not good enough." Canada suffered a knee injury in its last year of training. High school studies, which he understands because he does not do it. "Wanting to act as an injury is the only reason he did not play at the next level.
"We had a lot of fun," said Canada about his high school career. "Things worked as they should have."
In the spring of his second year in Indiana, Canada joined the team as a student coach because of his relationship with Steve Stripling, who recruited him. Canada met with coach Bill Mallory and told him that "his life has changed." He knew he wanted to coach, but he did not know how it would work. At the time when he was a student and later at school, Canada stated that he had been fashioned by the coaches with whom he worked. This week, however, he said, "It's not about me going back there."
Blackketter and his son traveled to Clemson, S.C., when Canada's Pittsburgh attack in 2016 thwarted the Tigers with last-minute training that ended in a winning goal. Blackketter remembers the word from Canada: "How's that ?!" After being hailed from the tunnel, and he is convinced that the match has pushed his friend to become finalist of the Broyles prize, awarded to the best assistant of the country.
This weekend, the circumstances are different, but the game still has significant weight. Canada will be welcomed by many more friends and family members than usual after the match and, by the time it does, Maryland could be on the way. right way.
"Hopefully they'll win," said Miller, "because he's in a better mood if they do it."
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