When Marian University football coach Ted Karras Jr. came to Bellmont in the spring of 2009 to sign a host of players from the 2008 BHS state championship team, he had a promise.
Former BHS standout Billy Baker, now a defensive end for the unbeaten and No. 1 NAIA Knights, remembers it well. "He told us if he could get the guys from Bellmont and several of the other area players he wanted, he promised that this team would deliver an NAIA championship some day. Now, we can win that championship and we never have to leave home," said Baker, a starting defensive end for the Knights.
The only other Bellmonter on the squad is Grant Melcher, a special teams player and second team linebacker who has been out a few weeks with a high ankle sprain.
Baker is a red-shirt sophomore, so he has two years of eligibility left, and he intends to use them.
The continued success of Marian football "will only help in our recruiting. We expect to get several strong players from the Indy area and from around the state, plus we have a Florida connection," stated Billy, the son of Greg and Anne Baker of Decatur.
The NAIA championship football tourney will begin Nov. 19, with a 1 p.m. game at Marian.