Salem’s Reese McCoskey named to all-state football

Dennis Dunn

This past season, the Salem Lions’ football team went 7-3 and lost in the Class 3A Sectional to a good Southridge team 35-7. To lose in the finals was hard for Salem senior Reese McCoskey to accept, but he knows it happens in the game of football.

“Making it to the sectional final felt like a statement to the Mid-Southern Conference (MSC) and to Salem that we are not the mediocre team we have been in the years past,” McCoskey said.

His role on the football team was on the offensive side of the ball, “I played wide receiver and safety. I enjoyed offense more because that is where I can be the most effective,” he said.

The Lions also had a new head coach this season, Blair Thompson. However, he was not new to McCoskey, as he coached him in middle school.

“It was great having our new coach this year,” McCoskey said. “Thompson was the middle school coach when we were in seventh and eighth grade so he was a guy who we knew very well on a personal level. His coaching style was a lot different than the previous one. He let us be looser in practice and games and it helped a lot as the season went on.”

The Lions improved in so many ways this season on offense and defense and McCoskey credits the improvements on the coaching staff and their styles. “Our coaching staff helped us learn an entirely new offense in a matter of weeks before our first game,” McCoskey said. “Also, just the plays each of us made. When we needed a big run or a quick touchdown, we had multiple people who could do that for us.”

As for his role on the team, he knew what he had to do to get it done each and every week. “I was one of the people who knew what I had to do and when I had to do it,” he said. “I would tell our coaches if I saw something that was open or would work and they would trust me. I would also help keep people calm on the field.”

Also, each year the same thing motivates him and the rest of the team. It is the fact that everyone picks Silver Creek, Brownstown Central or North Harrison to win the MSC, but Salem never figures into the conversation. However, the Lions changed that culture this year as they beat the Braves despite losing to the Dragons and Cougars.

“This does motivate us, because we knew we were a good team with the players we had,” McCoskey said. “We wanted to prove to MSC that we are contenders in the conference and I believe we proved that this season.”

Not only was the MSC a concern for the Lions this year, but also the COVID-19 pandemic added addtional concerns. Each team didn’t know from one week to the next if they were going to play their scheduled game that week and the Lions missed playing two games this year against county rivals, Eastern (Pekin) and West Washington because of it.

“I tried not to think about not being able to play, because then that would be on my mind more than what we were doing,” McCoskey said. “I needed to be fully focused since we put in a new offense this season.”

As for him, individually, he was selected to the all-state team and he is proud of that honor, but knows football is a team sport.

“It means a lot because I have put in a lot of work to get where I am at, and being named all-state just shows that my hard work has paid off,” he said.

The game of football was introduced to him when he was very young and he just kept playing. “My dad introduced me to football when I was at a young age,” McCoskey said. “We started throwing in the yard, watching the games on TV, and playing Madden together. This sparked my interest in playing at a young age that never went away.”

As for his future after high school, he is still thinking about what to do and how to control his own destiny.

“Well, I didn’t necessarily get any offers from colleges because before I wasn’t necessarily interested in sports in college, I was more focused on academics,” he said. “But if I do end up going to Butler, I will definitely consider trying to walk on.

“If I go to Butler it will definitely be a big change because I have never lived anywhere other than Salem and I will definitely meet a bunch of new people. Especially if I decide I want to try and walk on.”

While a student at Salem, McCoskey didn’t just play football. He has also played basketball and competed on the track and field team in the spring. He is in the booster club and Lions Unified.


Name: Reese McCoskey

Hometown: Salem

Parents: Mark McCoskey and Britney Backus-Collins

GPA: 3.7

Plans after graduation: Attend college, but I have not officially decided where yet.

Clubs/Activities in high school: football, basketball, track and field, booster club, Lions Unified, FCA, Spanish club

Favorite Food: Tacos

Favorite Pro Sports Team: Indianapolis Colts

Favorite Book: “Legend,” by Marie Lu

Quote: “You can do anything you set your mind to.” - Benjamin Franklin

What was it like attending Salem? It was a great experience because there wasn’t a time I can remember that I wanted to be attending any other school.


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