BY STEVE HANLON
CROWN POINT – Seamus Malaski said one thing to his father on Friday afternoon.
It wasn’t cocky, or big-headed.
No, not at all.
It was just a statement of belief that became fact later that evening.
“We’re going to win tonight,” said the 6-foot-5, 245-pound tight end/defensive end on the Crown Point football team.
Seamus said this to his father, Mike, who is the public address announcer for the Bulldogs’ home games.
There’s more to this story, but that will come in a few words.
No Class 6A team from the Region had ever made it to Indianapolis for the state championship game. So predicting such a thing seemed ludicrous.
But this seems to be the Malaski Way.
And when Seamus grabbed the eventual game-winning touchdown pass in the second overtime of C.P.’s 38-31 win over Westfield, a crowd of over 5,000 screaming folks in red erupted.
“I just knew we were prepared to do this,” Seamus said surrounded by a throng of well-wishers. “We work so hard as a team. Our fans were great. Our coaches were great. We did this together, like a family.
“We made history tonight.”
Seamus made history last spring in a similar way. He and Mike drove down to Bloomington a day early to practice for the IHSAA state finals in the discus. The duo went through their typical routine and after a couple of throws, Seamus stopped the workout and uttered one thing.
“I’m done,” he said. “I’m going to win this tomorrow.”
And that’s exactly what he did, throwing a toss of 187 feet, 8 inches to take home the gold. He also finished eighth in the shot put. These great efforts opened up a door for him to earn a scholarship to Purdue next year in track and field.
But in the fall, it’s all about football.
In last week’s 34-33 regional win at Penn, Malaski blocked the extra point that provided the Dogs with the W.
“He’s a football player,” Crown Point football coach Craig Buzea said. “He’s made some big plays for us all year. And that catch (tonight) was huge. It helped us get to where we all wanted to go.”
When Buzea returned from Indiana after a great run at Homewood-Flossmoor in Illinois, when he interviewed for the job at Crown Point, he asked for a few things here and there. One was to bring Mike Malaski back into the booth to be the voice of Crown Point football.
“When we played here before, I thought Mike brought a great atmosphere to the games,” said Buzea of his time at Portage and Michigan City. “It was fun playing here. The fans got going, got loud. He does a great job with that and I wanted to bring that back.”
Both Mike and Buzea started out in Portage. But Mike started working in Crown Point in 1996-97. He coached the Bulldogs girls soccer team to the final four in 1998. Yes, athletics is important to the Malaski clan.
“We lost to Warsaw 2-1 in the semistate,” Mike said. “Man, I love the kids on that team. They were great.”
Malaski was an assistant athletic director at Crown Point for 12 years under Bill Dorulla. He started calling football games in 1998 and went through 2015, when he became the Director of Buildings and Grounds for Crown Point Schools.
That’s what unplugged his microphone. Well, until Buzea drove into the Hub.
“When I was Director of Buildings and Grounds, Seamus and his brother Cooper were my tag-along guys,” Mike said. “They went to all the games with me. We had a lot of fun together. It got them both involved in athletics.”
Seamus broke his femur as a kid and was in a body cast for several months. Mike said there was one thing that got him through it – competition.
“We started playing these video games and since he couldn’t do much else he just worked on getting better and better, one game after another,” Mike remembered. “Our focus was always about getting better. It was never about winning, just getting better every day."
Now, next Saturday, the Bulldogs (13-0) will travel to Lucas Oil Stadium to take on Indianapolis Ben Davis (12-1). Kickoff is at 6 p.m.
Mike will not have a mic in his hand and he won’t be able to get the entire crowd on their feet at the end of the third quarter and sing “Sweet Caroline” while all shine their flashlights on their phones, like he did on Friday night.
Or maybe he will.
“I bleed Bulldog Red and White,” Mike said. “I will do anything I can to help them win.”
His voice has been the backdrop for C.P. football for so long, that opposing teams/fans/coaches have gotten a little miffed at his words.
Things like, “That’s another Bulldogs first down!” or “You know what that means!”
Against a local rival once, Malaski kept saying the halftime score of 14-0. An opposing fan said to him, “I don’t like the way you’re sayingl ‘Zero.’”
So after a moment to think, Mike said, “Well, then score some points.”
And that’s what they will attempt to do in Indy.
Mike Malaski, left, Crown Point's football public announcer, and his son, Seamus, one of the stars of the Bulldogs, celebrate Friday's Class 6A semistate victory over Westfield. Seamus caught the go-ahead touchdown pass that stood for the game winner in double overtime.
Photo by Steve Hanlon