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Buzzing+around+++Coach+Buzea+talking+to+one+of+his+players+during+their+win+last+week+against+Sandburg.+This+was+his+82nd+win+during+his+time+at+H-F.
Buzzing around   Coach Buzea talking to one of his players during their win last week against Sandburg. This was his 82nd win during his time at H-F.

Buzzing around Coach Buzea talking to one of his players during their win last week against Sandburg. This was his 82nd win during his time at H-F.

Buzzing around Coach Buzea talking to one of his players during their win last week against Sandburg. This was his 82nd win during his time at H-F.

Donald Crocker, Sports Editor

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Varsity football head coach Craig Buzea reached a huge milestone on Oct. 12 by accumulating 200 wins as a head coach. Over the last 25 years, he coached at Portage, Michigan City and of course, H-F.

Before becoming the head coach at Portage for 13 years, he was an assistant coach there for 10 years.

When he became the head coach in 1994, coaches used 16mm film in order to watch the game after playing to learn from the game.

“You got it back maybe four or five days later and then you were able to watch it. Now, we’re to the point where we can watch every play as the game is going. So, we have iPads on the sideline that gives us instant feedback,” Buzea said.

Over the years, Buzea has coached some great players including Kendrick Pryor of the Wisconsin Badgers, and Bryce Gray of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

“It’s like a horse race, you’ve never seen a jockey carry a horse over the finish line. It’s really all about the players. And as it is in a race, it’s all about the horse,” Buzea said.

When Buzea first started coaching here at H-F, he had the luxury of handpicking his supporting coaching staff.

Assistant coaches Alexander Pratt and Zachary Wells both served as head coaches for the West Side Cougars and the Merrillville Pirates respectively before coming to H-F.

Assistant coach Tom Cicero followed Buzea from Michigan City and has been coaching with him for 13 years now.

“We’ve been through thick and thin. It’s been great. I know what the expectation is from him and he knows he’s going to get as much work as possible out of me,” Cicero said.

When Buzea took over the football program in 2009, he was frowned upon because of the situation H-F was in beforehand. H-F was just 1-8 in the previous season.

Regardless of the criticism, Buzea turned things around by obtaining a record of 10-3 and qualifying for the IHSA playoffs to fall only one game short from competing in the state championship.

During his tenure at H-F, he has not had a losing season and has a record of 50-9 over the last five years.

“We saw that there was a lot of talent here, it was just the matter of putting it all together. From year one on, we’ve made the playoffs every year and I think that expectation is there every year,” Cicero said.

One of the many accomplishments Buzea has had was recently when H-F was the Class 8A championship runner-up.

The Vikings lost 31-25 to Stevenson when running back Deante Harley-Hampton fumbled just a few yards short of the goal line.

Because they were 7-2, they were underdogs and were not expected to make it far in the playoffs.

Athletic director Dan Vosnos was in his first year at H-F when they made this championship run.

“The whole community was behind the program…We lost a couple games that year but they experienced adversity and they overcame it,” Vosnos said.

Buzea now has a record of 201-83 as a head coach after last Friday’s blowout win against Sandburg 56-0. With that win, they secured the fourth seed in the IHSA playoffs.

The Vikings will face off against Fremd in their first round of the playoffs tonight at 7 p.m. as they look to make another journey towards a state title.

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